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Wilber Marion Brucker

Brucker as Secretary of the Army

In office
January 1, 1931 – January 1, 1933
Lieutenant Luren D. Dickinson
Preceded by Fred Green
Succeeded by William Comstock

Born June 23, 1894(1894-06-23)
Saginaw, Michigan
Died October 28, 1968 (aged 74)
Detroit, Michigan
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Clara Helen Hantel; one child
Religion Presbyterian

Wilber Marion Brucker (June 23, 1894–October 28, 1968) was an American Republican politician. Born in Saginaw, Michigan, he served as the 32nd Governor of Michigan from 1931 to 1933 and as the United States Secretary of the Army between 1955 and 1961.


Early life

Brucker was born in Saginaw, Michigan, the son of U.S. Representative Ferdinand Brucker. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1916 and enlisted in the Michigan National Guard, serving with its 33rd Infantry Regiment on the Mexican border, 1916-1917. He attended First Officers’ Training Camp in Fort Sheridan, Illinois, and was commissioned a second lieutenant of Infantry. He then served in France during World War I with the 166th Infantry, 42d Division, in the Château Thierry, St. Mihiel, and Meuse-Argonne operations, 1917–1918.


After the war, Brucker was assistant prosecuting attorney of Saginaw County, 1919–1923, and then prosecuting attorney, 1923–1927. He married Clara Hantel in 1923. He served as assistant attorney general of Michigan, 1927–1928, and as Michigan Attorney General, 1928–1930.

In 1930 he was elected as Michigan's 32nd Governor, serving only one term after being defeated in 1932 by Democrat William Comstock. During his two years in office, the police force in Michigan increased and a new state police headquarters in Lansing was authorized. Also, legislation was sanctioned that allowed a grand jury to scrutinize municipal fraud. In 1936, Brucker defeated incumbent U.S. Senator James Couzens in the Republican primary elections, but lost to Democrat Prentiss M. Brown in the general election. From 1922–1937 was also a captain in the U.S. Army Officer Reserve Corps.

He was a member of the law firm of Clark, Klein, Brucker, and Waples, 1937–1954, and served as general counsel of the Department of Defense, 1954–1955, during the Army-McCarthy Hearings. In 1955, Brucker was appointed by U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower as Secretary of the Army, serving from 21 July 1955 to 19 January 1961. Brucker administered the Army during a period of major technological advance, especially in the missile-satellite field, and at a time when the Army’s place in the national defense structure was overshadowed by a philosophy of "massive retaliation". Under his direction the Army instituted a five-element (pentagonal) organization concept for the division, established a Strategic Army Corps for emergency reaction, and launched the United States’ first satellite, Explorer I.


He returned to legal practice in Detroit with the firm of Brucker and Brucker, 1961–1968, and was a member of the Board of Directors of Freedoms Foundation. He died in 1968 having suffered an apparent heart attack in the emergency room at the Harper Hospital in Detroit, Michigan and is buried at the Arlington National Cemetery.


Legal offices
Preceded by
William W. Potter
Michigan Attorney General
1928 – 1930
Succeeded by
Paul W. Voorhies
Political offices
Preceded by
Fred Green
Governor of Michigan
Succeeded by
William Comstock
Military offices
Preceded by
Robert TenBroek Stevens
United States Secretary of the Army
July 1955–January 1961
Succeeded by
Elvis Jacob Stahr, Jr.

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