Brigadier General (Ret.) Leo A. Brooks, Jr. was born on August 15, 1957 in Anchorage, Alaska. His father, Leo A. Brooks, Sr., was an Army Brigadier General; his mother, Naomi, was a schoolteacher. Brooks’ younger brother, Vincent K. Brooks, served as a Four Star General in the U.S. Army; his sister, Marquita, a lawyer. After graduating from Jesuit high school in Sacramento, California in 1975, Brooks enrolled in the United States Military Academy at West Point and received his B.S. degree in engineering in 1979.
Brooks began his military career with the 101st Airborne Division, and served in developmental positions from platoon leader to infantry company commander. From 1984 to 1988, Brooks was assigned to the 1st Battalion 75th Infantry Ranger Regiment as a logistics officer and then as Commander of A Company. He was then deployed to Korea where he served on the Joint Staff of the Combined Forces Command. While there he earned his M.A. degree in public administration from the University of Oklahoma in 1990. In 1992, Brooks completed the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.
Brooks then reported to Fort Bragg, North Carolina for duty with the 82nd Airborne Division where he was assigned as executive officer in the 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment and then became deputy operations officer of the Division. He was subsequently selected to serve as aide-de-camp to the Chief of Staff of the United States Army from 1993-1995. Brooks returned to the 82nd Airborne Division and was named Commander of the 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, followed by a key staff assignment as Chief of Operations for the XVIII Airborne Corps. He completed the U.S. Army War College in 1999 and returned a third time to the 82nd Airborne Division and assumed command of the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment. Following command, he was selected for Brigadier General and deployed to Europe as Deputy Commanding General of the 1st Armored Division in 2001. In 2002, Brooks was appointed the 68th Commandant of Cadets at West Point. Brooks then reported to the Office of the Chief of Staff at the Pentagon where he served as Vice Director of Army Staff until retiring in 2006. He went on to become Vice President of National Security & Space Group for the Boeing Company in Washington, D.C.
Brooks was a senior fellow from the Maxwell School of Government at Syracuse University; and has an honorary law degree from the New England School of Law, Boston. His military awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with Two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Meritorious Service medal with Four Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal with Two Oak Leaf Clusters, the National Defense Medal and Bronze Star, the War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Multinational Force and Observers Medal and the Korea Defense Service Medal.
U.S. Army Brigadier General (Ret.) Leo A. Brooks, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 23, 2013