Wilber Brucker
Bruckner by CJ Fox (Irving Resnikoff)
5th United States Secretary of the Army
In office
July 21, 1955 – January 19, 1961
PresidentDwight D. Eisenhower
Preceded byRobert T. Stevens
Succeeded byElvis Jacob Stahr Jr.
32nd Governor of Michigan
In office
January 1, 1931 – January 1, 1933
LieutenantLuren Dickinson
Preceded byFred W. Green
Succeeded byWilliam Comstock
35th Attorney General of Michigan
In office
February 16, 1928 – January 1, 1931
GovernorFred W. Green
Preceded byWilliam Potter
Succeeded byPaul W. Voorhies
Personal details
Born(1894-06-23)June 23, 1894
Saginaw, Michigan, U.S.
DiedOctober 28, 1968(1968-10-28) (aged 74)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
SpouseClara Hantel
RelativesFerdinand Brucker (father)
EducationUniversity of Michigan, Ann Arbor (LLB)
Hillsdale College (MA, PhD)
Military service
Branch/serviceArmy National Guard
United States Army Reserves
Years of service1916–1919
1919–1937 (Reserves)
RankSecond Lieutenant
UnitMichigan National Guard

Wilber Marion Brucker (June 23, 1894 – October 28, 1968) [1] 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 July 21, 1955, and January 19, 1961.[1]

Early life

Brucker was born in Saginaw, Michigan, the son of Democratic U.S. Representative Ferdinand Brucker. He graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 1916 and enlisted in the Michigan National Guard, serving with its 33rd Infantry Regiment on the Mexican border during the Pancho Villa Expedition from 1916 to 1917.[2] He attended Officer Training Camp at Fort Sheridan, Illinois, and was commissioned a second lieutenant. Brucker 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. He received the Silver Star and Purple Heart, and remained a member of the Officer Reserve Corps until 1937.[3]


A Republican, after the war, Brucker was assistant prosecuting attorney of Saginaw County from 1919 to 1923, and then prosecuting attorney from 1923 to 1927. He married Clara Helen Hantel in 1923. He served as assistant attorney general of Michigan, 1927–1928, and as Michigan Attorney General, 1928–1930.[4]

In 1930 he was elected as Michigan's 32nd Governor, serving one term until being defeated in 1932 by Democrat William Comstock.[5][6] During his two years in office, the police force in Michigan increased and a new state police headquarters in Lansing was authorized. Also Michigan enacted legislation that allowed grand juries to investigate allegations of municipal government fraud and mismanagement. 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.[7][8]

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 from 1954 to 1955, during the Army–McCarthy hearings.[9]

In 1955, Brucker was appointed by U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower as Secretary of the Army, serving from July 21, 1955, to January 19, 1961.[10] 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, launched the United States' first satellite, Explorer I, and adopted the Army Flag.


Brucker 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 Detroit on October 28, 1968, and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.[11]


Brucker Hall at Joint Base Myer–Henderson Hall is named for him.[12]


  1. ^ a b Bell, William Gardner (1992). "Wilber Marion Brucker". Secretaries of War and Secretaries of the Army: Portraits and Biographical Sketches. United States Army Center of Military History. Retrieved September 22, 2007.
  2. ^ Michael S. Mayer, The Eisenhower Years, 2009, pages 77-78
  3. ^ Associated Press, St. Petersburg Times, He Hasn't the Foggiest Notion Why Ike Made Him Army Secretary, Brucker Says, September 18, 1955
  4. ^ Associated Press, Ludington Daily News, W. M. Brucker Will be Second Youngest Governor of State if Elected in November, September 11, 1930
  5. ^ Gilbert T. Shilson, Associated Press, Ludington Daily News, Legislative Drive for Economy Seen in Lansing Plans, December 14, 1930
  6. ^ New York Times, Republican Era Ends: Democrats Take Over Michigan Reins Today After 16 Years, January 2, 1933
  7. ^ Associated Press, Lawrence Journal-World, Wilber Brucker Defeats Couzens, September 16, 1936
  8. ^ Associated Press, Lawrence Journal-World, Appoints Successor to Late Sen. James Couzens, November 16, 1936
  9. ^ Associated Press, Youngstown Vindicator, Stevens Resigns Post; Ike Nominates Brucker, June 22, 1955
  10. ^ United Press International, Bonham Daily Favorite, Virginian Named Army Secretary, January 15, 1961
  11. ^ New York Times, Wilber M. Brucker, 74, Dies; Former Secretary of the Army, October 29, 1968
  12. ^ James J. Smisek, The United States Army Band: "Pershing's Own", 2006, page 51

Additional resources

Legal offices Preceded byWilliam Potter Attorney General of Michigan 1928–1931 Succeeded byPaul W. Voorhies Party political offices Preceded byFred W. Green Republican nominee for Governor of Michigan 1930, 1932 Succeeded byFrank Fitzgerald Preceded byJames J. Couzens Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Michigan(Class 2) 1936 Succeeded byHomer S. Ferguson Political offices Preceded byFred W. Green Governor of Michigan 1931–1933 Succeeded byWilliam Comstock Preceded byRobert T. Stevens United States Secretary of the Army 1955–1961 Succeeded byElvis Jacob Stahr Jr.