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Grouping of Brigadier General George A. Brownell: Distinguished Lawyer, WWII USAAF Legal Expert, and Truman Diplomatic Envoy to India, Mexico, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia.


LYONSJ9
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George Abbott Brownell was born in 1898 to an affluent New York family. After graduating early from the elite Promfret Academy, Brownell earned a spot at Harvard where he would work towards his ambitions of becoming a lawyer. In 1918, while still studying at University, he decided to join many of his Harvard brethren by serving his country in the Great War. After a brief stint as an enlisted man he was promptly commissioned as a Lieutenant of Field Artillery, and would serve the remaining months of the war at Camp Zachary Taylor in Louisville Kentucky, waiting for a posting to the fields of France that never came. 

 

Perhaps being disappointed with his lack of combat service in what was widely perceived to be the final war of human history, Brownell continued his studies at Harvard, graduating with his BA in 1919, and his JD from Harvard Law School in 1922. After resigning his reserve commission in 1923, he would land an incredible position at the prestigious law firm of Davis, Polk, Wardwell, Sunderland & Kendel, where he would represent some of New York City’s most distinguished citizens until the outbreak of the Second World War. 

 

After America’s sudden entry into the Second World War, Brownell, perhaps feeling the same rush of patriotism he felt in 1918, immediately set about contacting his friends in the government to see what he could do to advance his country’s cause. Less than two months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Brownell would be granted his wish as he was directly commissioned into the USAAF as a Lieutenant Colonel, with the objective of serving as one of its leading lawyers. 

 

From providing crucial assistance in the drafting of base and resource  procurements in Brazil, to advising USAAF high command on the legality of its bombing raids in Europe, Colonel and later Brigadier General George Brownell would play pivotal roles in some of the most crucial aspects of the Air War in Europe. 

 

By war’s end, so impressed were his superiors of his excellent performance and great contributions to the Allied Victory in Europe, that in addition to being decorated with the Distinguished Service Medal, Selective Service Medal, and the Grand Officer of the Brazilian Order of the Southern Cross, he would be offered a new job by the new President of the United States. 

 

President Harry S. Truman, eager to forge new aviation and travel agreements with foreign nations in the new Post War Era, made Brownell a Diplomatic Envoy to India, Mexico, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia, where through his legal expertise, would help build America’s position as the most influential superpower of the Cold War. 

 

After the end of the Truman Administration, Brownell would continue to work as a State Department Consult and a USAF reserve officer until retiring from both positions by 1959. He would continue to serve as a partner and later Counsel of Davis, Polk & Wardwell until retiring in 1979. 

 

Throughout his professional career, Brownell was a leading social figure in New York City, serving on the directorate boards of many high profile charities, organizations, and events, including: member of the Executive Committee of the 1939 Worlds Fair in NYC, Vice President and Chairman of the NYC Bar Association, Board Member of the NYC Community Service Society, Board Member of the Lennox Hill Hospital, and Board Member of New York University Medical Center. 

 

Brownell would pass a way one month after his wife in January of 1984. Sadly, they had no surviving children. After a large service at St. James Episcopal Church in Manhattan, he would be laid to rest in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Westchester County, New York.

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FriarChuck

Awesome group to a neat recipient. Love the Order of the Southern Cross. It’s hard to see if there is a two colored bar behind the rosette on the mini medal but based on the Neck Order and Breast Star i’m guessing he was awarded the order in the grade of Grand Officer. Very impressive. 

 

If possible can we get some close ups of the Order and the mini medals please? Thanks for sharing!

 

Friar

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On 1/24/2022 at 10:40 PM, FriarChuck said:

Awesome group to a neat recipient. Love the Order of the Southern Cross. It’s hard to see if there is a two colored bar behind the rosette on the mini medal but based on the Neck Order and Breast Star i’m guessing he was awarded the order in the grade of Grand Officer. Very impressive. 

 

If possible can we get some close ups of the Order and the mini medals please? Thanks for sharing!

 

Friar

Thank you Friar! Here is a close up of his minis, neck order, and breast star. The minis are 1970’s era. I suspect the Order of the Southern Cross mini is much older, possibly the original that came in the case with the breast star and neck medal. I also have a loose Selective Service Medal mini that came with the grouping.

 

-Jimmy

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On 1/24/2022 at 10:40 PM, FriarChuck said:

Awesome group to a neat recipient. Love the Order of the Southern Cross. It’s hard to see if there is a two colored bar behind the rosette on the mini medal but based on the Neck Order and Breast Star i’m guessing he was awarded the order in the grade of Grand Officer. Very impressive. 

 

If possible can we get some close ups of the Order and the mini medals please? Thanks for sharing!

 

Friar

 

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  • 3 months later...
manayunkman

There are some really nice medal groups posted that need more comments.

 

This is one of them.

 

Excellent thanks for taking the time to post it.

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LYONSJ9
On 5/11/2022 at 10:47 AM, manayunkman said:

There are some really nice medal groups posted that need more comments.

 

This is one of them.

 

Excellent thanks for taking the time to post it.

Thank you!

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