He attended the United States Military Academy where he played college football. He graduated in 1914 with the rank of ensign.
He was selected as a consensus first-team guard on the 1913 College Football All-America Team. He accounted for all of Navy"s points (two field goals) in a 6 to 0 victory in the 1913 Army–Navy Game. Brown later served as president of the National Football Foundation and was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951.
He was also selected in 1951 by a board of Navy football authorities as the greatest player in Navy football history.
During World War I, Brown commanded the submarines United States Ship C-2 and United States Ship G-4. Subsequently Brown commanded some other submarines in the interwar period.
In October 1930, Brown commanded the United States Ship V-5 submarine when it set a United States Navy record by diving to a depth of 332 feet. He also attended the Naval War College in 1940.
During World World War II, Brown rose to the rank of vice admiral and served as deputy commander of America"s submarine force in the Pacific theatre.
In the early 1950s, he was the commandant of the Fourth Naval District based in Philadelphia. He served a total of 43 years in the Navy before retiring in 1954. He died in 1963 at age 71 at his home in Middletown, Delaware.