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Brig. Gen. Arnold Gordon-Bray

U.S. Army Brigadier General Arnold N. Gordon-Bray was born in Columbia, South Carolina. His parents were Felix Gordon and Martha McNeil, and his stepfather was Isiah Bray. He graduated from Waynesville High School in Waynesville, Missouri in 1973. Gordon-Bray became interested in pursuing a military career when his brother, Michael, began to collect information about the United States Army. Gordon-Bray enrolled at Central Missouri State University (now the University of Central Missouri) in the fall of 1973 as an art major where he joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps program. He graduated from Central Missouri State University with his B.S. degree in art in 1978. Gordon-Bray’s military education includes the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, the Combined Arms Services and Staff College the, the Naval War College, and numerous other military schools.

Gordon-Bray became chief of the training division at Joint Special Operations command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina in 1990. In 1996, he was named commander of the 1st Battalion of the 508th Airborne Combat Team in Vicenza, Italy. In 1999, he graduated from the Air War College in Montgomery, Alabama with his M.A. degree in military strategic studies; and, in 2001, Gordon-Bray graduated with his M.A. degree in operations management and supervision from the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. He then assumed command of the 2nd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division, known as the “Falcon Brigade.” He led the Falcon Brigade during the early months of the Iraq War in 2003, and then served a second tour of duty in Iraq from 2006 to 2007 as the principal advisor to the Iraqi Ground Force Commander. During 2007, Gordon-Bray became deputy commanding general of the United States Army Cadet Command in Fort Monroe, Virginia. In 2011, Gordon-Bray became deputy director of operations for the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM). He then retired in November of 2012 and then started his own consulting firm, ANGB Consulting, in Fayetteville, North Carolina in January of 2013.

Gordon-Bray military honors include the Legion of Merit (with Oak Leaf Cluster), the Bronze Star, and the Meritorious Service Medal.

Brigadier General Arnold N. Gordon-Bray was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 11, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.224

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/11/2013

Last Name

Gordon-Bray

Maker Category
Middle Name

N.

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

U.S. Naval War College

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Air War College

University of Central Missouri

Central Michigan University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Arnold

Birth City, State, Country

Columbia

HM ID

GOR05

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere

Favorite Quote

Bring your 'A' game.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

North Carolina

Birth Date

6/14/1955

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Winston-Salem

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Hot Dogs, Pork, Beans

Short Description

Brigadier general Brig. Gen. Arnold Gordon-Bray (1955 - ) , one of the top-ranking African American generals in the United States Army, held several commands during a thirty-four-year career, including leadership of the 82nd Airborne Division’s Falcon Brigade during the Iraq War.

Favorite Color

Black

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Arnold Gordon-Bray's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Arnold Gordon-Bray lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his name

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Arnold Gordon-Bray describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Arnold Gordon-Bray describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his mother's education and her growing up in Columbia, South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about chasing chickens on his grandmother's farm in Ridgewood, South Carolina, and how this helped him in ranger school

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his maternal family's education and service in the armed forces

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his relationship with his father, Felix Gordon, and his death in 2010

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Arnold Gordon-Bray describes his father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his parental family's presence in Edgefield, South Carolina, and their migration to the north

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his father's service in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and African Americans not being recognized for their service

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about spending time with his father's family

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about how his parents met and married, his father's education, and the Gordon family's reputation for their good looks

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his parents living in and around Columbia, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Arnold Gordon-Bray describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Arnold Gordon-Bray discusses his height, height requirements in the U.S. armed forces, and why he was disqualified as an aviator by the U.S. Army

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his siblings and his childhood household

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Arnold Gordon-Bray describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about why he never went to kindergarten, winning an art contest in the first grade, and his mother's emphasis on education

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Arnold Gordon-Bray describes Christmas at his home while growing up

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Arnold Gordon-Bray recalls one particular Christmas from his childhood, and his parents' efforts to make Christmas special for the family

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Arnold Gordon-Bray describes how his childhood Christmas experiences have influenced his Christmas traditions as an adult

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his familiarity with the city of Columbia, South Carolina, and how his parents were able to buy a home there

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Arnold Gordon-Bray describes his childhood neighborhood in Columbia, South Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his first grade drawing that won first place in an art contest

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his interest in art, and reflects upon what it means to be an artist

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his art supplies, and having to think outside the box

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his experience in elementary school, and transitioning into an integrated school system in 1966

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about growing up under segregation in Columbia, South Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Arnold Gordon-Bray describes his experience in the integrated school system in Columbia, South Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about being stereotyped in college

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his parents getting a divorce in 1966, and describes his family's tensions at the time

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his mother remarrying, and his social experience in middle school

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about the positive influence of his friend, Kenny Davis, in middle school

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Arnold Gordon-Bray describes his experience at C.A. Johnson High School in Columbia, South Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about attending Columbia High School in his junior year

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks his step-father and brother joining the Vietnam War, and his initial interest in joining the military

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about reading Malcolm X's autobiography while he was in high school

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Arnold Gordon-Bray recalls the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Arnold Gordon-Bray discusses the influence and impact of the civil rights era while he was growing up in Columbia, South Carolina

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about how Malcolm X's autobiography impacted his political thoughts

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his brother serving in a segregated Army in the Vietnam War, and his radical political leanings when he returned

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his family moving to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, and resuming his interest in playing basketball

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about the encouragement that he received from his step-father, Isiah Bray

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his step-father's influence on him deciding to go to college

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about majoring in art, joining the ROTC, and playing on the basketball team at the University of Central Missouri

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about playing league basketball after graduating from the University of Central Missouri, and maturing as a player

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his fan club while he was on the basketball team at the University of Central Missouri

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about the influence of his basketball coach, Tom Smith, from the University of Central Missouri

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Arnold Gordon-Bray describes his experience at ROTC camp in Fort Riley, Kansas and his goals after graduating from college

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his decision to focus on his military career and sacrifice his interest in pursuing basketball in the U.S. Army

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Arnold Gordon-Bray describes his experience at Fort Jackson, South Carolina

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Arnold Gordon-Bray describes his assignment to a tour in Korea, and his experience there

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Arnold Gordon-Bray describes his experience on tour in Korea

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his experience running into a mine field on tour in Korea

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Arnold Gordon-Bray describes his experience in advanced training at Fort Benning, Georgia

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about how he met his wife

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Arnold Gordon-Bray explains why he was disqualified from becoming a U.S. Army aviator, and describes his challenges at ranger school

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Arnold Gordon-Bray describes his medical challenges while at ranger school, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Arnold Gordon-Bray describes his medical challenges while at ranger school, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about Roscoe Robinson, Jr. and Julius Becton

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his assignment to the 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his experience as a company commander in the 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his assignment as company commander of the headquarters company

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his assignment as the operations officer of the 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Arnold Gordon-Bray describes his experience in Somalia with the 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his service following the plane crash over Gander, Newfoundland in 1985, which killed 248 American soldiers, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his service following the plane crash over Gander, Newfoundland in 1985, which killed 248 American soldiers, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Arnold Gordon-Bray describes his involvement in a joint operation training with the U.S. Marines in the Caribbean

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his selection as aide to the corps commander in 1986

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Arnold Gordon-Bray describes his experience as the aide-de-camp to General James J. Lindsay, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Arnold Gordon-Bray describes his experience as the aide-de-camp to General James J. Lindsay, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Arnold Gordon-Bray describes his experience as the aide-de-camp to General James J. Lindsay, pt. 3

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about serving as the aide-de-camp to General John Foss, and his assignment to the 82nd Airborne Division

Brig. Gen. Leo Brooks, Jr.

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

Accession Number

A2013.168

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/23/2013

Last Name

Brooks

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

A.

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Syracuse University

U.S. Army War College

University of Oklahoma

United States Military Academy

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Leo

Birth City, State, Country

Anchorage

HM ID

BRO54

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Alaska

Favorite Vacation Destination

Shenandoah Valley, Virginia

Favorite Quote

I'll help you if you let me.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

8/15/1957

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken Tenders

Short Description

Brigadier general Brig. Gen. Leo Brooks, Jr. (1957 - ) graduated from the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point and served in several command assignments; including as the Commander of airborne brigades in the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions; the Deputy Commanding General of the 1st Armored Division in Germany; and, the Commandant of Cadets at the USMA.

Employment

Boeing Company

United States Army

United States Military Academy

1st Armored Division, United States Army Europe

82nd Airborne Division, United States Army

XVIII Airborne Corps

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Leo Brooks, Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Leo Brooks, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his mother's growing up in Alexandria, Virginia, her education and career

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes his family's interest in music

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his paternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his father's growing up in Virginia, and his family's education

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his parents dating while at Virginia State College and getting married after his mother graduated from college

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his uncle, Jimmy Lewis' career in basketball, and his family's induction into the Alexandria African American Hall of Fame

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Leo Brooks, Jr. discusses his father's retirement from the U.S. military

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his father's assignment in Anchorage, Alaska

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his early childhood in Xenia, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Leo Brooks, Jr. recalls his preschool in Xenia, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his father leaving for Vietnam, and his memories of living in Arlington, Virginia in the 1960s

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes his childhood at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his life in Bryn Mawr Park, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Leo Brooks, Jr. recalls the aftermath of Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his close-knit family and spending time with them in Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his teacher, Ms. Adeline Waters, in elementary school, and being mischievous

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his interest in sports, playing football in high school, and his football idol, Larry Brown

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his experience as an athlete in high school and the support he received from his family

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes his family's move to Sacramento, California where he continued to play football

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes his high school in Sacramento, California

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Leo Brooks, Jr. discusses the influence of sports on his military career

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about the influence of his football coaches

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about the influence of his track coaches in training him

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his academics in high school

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes his decision to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes his decision to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about graduating from high school in Sacramento, his trip to West Point Military Academy, and his uncle's advice

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes the challenges he faced at the United States Military Academy at West Point

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about the bond between the athletes at West Point

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about being criticized at West Point, and proving his leadership skills at Camp Buckner

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about West Point's honor code and the Academy's admission of women

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about with West Point's honor code violations and the Borman Commission

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his sophomore year at the United States Military Academy at West Point and his mentors there

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about attending Ranger School and Airborne School, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about attending Ranger School and Airborne School, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about staying involved in athletics at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his brother, Vincent Brooks, joining him at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his playing rugby in his sophomore year at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and his love for the game

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his academic, athletic and leadership successes at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about graduating from West Point in 1979, his friend, Lloyd Darlington, and his surrogate mother, Bobby Pollock

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about the challenges faced within the U.S. Army in the 1970s

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about the turnaround of the U.S. Army in the 1980s

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about becoming the platoon leader of B Company in the 1st Battalion, 503 Infantry, 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his disciplinary philosophy as the platoon leader of B Company in the 1st Battalion, 503 Infantry

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about attending Air Assault School and his assignment as aide-de-camp to the Assistant Division Commander for Operations

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his appointment as a company commander and other black infantry company commanders

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about attending Infantry Officer Advance Course with his brother

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about attending the U.S. Army Jumpmaster School and his assignment to the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes his experience as a Ranger company commander, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes his experience as a Ranger company commander, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his assignment in Korea, and the birth of his four daughters

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about attending Command and General Staff College in the early 1990s

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes his experience in the 82nd Airborne Division

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his assignment as the aide-de-camp of the chief of staff of the U.S. Army

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes his experience as the aide-de-camp of the chief of staff of the U.S. Army, Gordon R. Sullivan, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes his experience as the aide-de-camp of the chief of staff of the U.S. Army, Gordon R. Sullivan, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his experience as the commander of the 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment and other significant commands

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Leo Brooks, Jr. reflects upon the high percentage of African Americans in the United States armed services

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about becoming a lieutenant colonel, serving as chief of operations for the 18th Airborne Corps and attending the Army War College

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about being selected to become a brigade commander in the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his assignment as the special assistant to the commanding general, 1st Armor Division in Germany

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes his experience as the special assistant to the commanding general, 1st Armor Division in Germany

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes his experience soon after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, while he was serving with the 1st Armor Division in Germany

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes the U.S. Army's plans for missions in Iraq and Afghanistan in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about being assigned as the chief of staff of the Fifth Corps in Europe, and reassigned as the commandant of cadets at West Point

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes his experience as the commandant of cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes he roles of the superintendent, the dean and the commandant of cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point

Tape: 8 Story: 11 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes his experience as the commandant of cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about the challenges at West Point while he was the commandant of cadets

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about international students at West Point

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his faith in the role of the Army chaplains

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Leo Brooks, Jr. reflects upon his disciplinary philosophy of commanding positions in the U.S. Army

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Leo Brooks, Jr. reflects upon the high ethical standards and moral codes of the U.S. military and the obligation of all citizens to serve their country

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Leo Brooks, Jr. reflects upon some of the challenging rules and regulations of the U.S. military

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Leo Brooks, Jr. reflects upon issues of sexual harassment in the U.S. military

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Leo Brooks, Jr. discusses his role as the commandant of cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Leo Brooks, Jr. discusses the history of African American cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes his service as the vice director of the Army staff, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes his service as the vice director of the Army staff, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his retirement from the U.S. Army in 2006 and working as the vice president of Army Systems at the Boeing Company

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about Apache Block III helicopters and his work as vice president of Army Systems at the Boeing Company

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his position as the vice president of the National Security and Space Group at the Boeing Company

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Leo Brooks, Jr. shares his message to the youth

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Leo Brooks, Jr. reflects upon his life and career

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his daughters

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about his youngest daughter, Amanda

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Leo Brooks, Jr. reflects upon his professional legacy

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Leo Brooks, Jr. acknowledges the support of his family and his faith in God

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Leo Brooks, Jr. describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$7

DAStory

8$1

DATitle
Leo Brooks, Jr. talks about the influence of his football coaches
Leo Brooks, Jr. describes his experience as a Ranger company commander, pt. 1
Transcript
What about coaches and such? I mean were they mentors or--$$So, so when I was in--I'll go back, if you don't mind, I'll go back a couple of coaches when I think of coaches. I had a coach when I was youth league. His name was Buddy. I don't even know what his last name was. But anyway, Buddy, when I was probably sixth grade, used to tell me that I wouldn't, I wouldn't amount to much. He was very negative. And I can always recall feeling down and like I couldn't, like you know, every--the world was on my shoulders and that I, you know, I'd never be successful because Buddy said I wouldn't be. And then something happened that was very interesting. So when I got into high school, I had this guy. He says, ah, you're not gonna make it, you know. When I got into high school, again, I was very fast, small, I was ninety-nine pounds [weight] when I started high school. By the time I was, in my second year, I can remember vividly, I was 126 [pounds]. As a junior, I was 152. As a senior, I was 165. So my senior year, I was 165 pounds (unclear). So I grew sixty-six pounds from my freshmen year football to my senior year football, in those four years. So anyway, I had this real negative experience with that guy. It wasn't reinforcing. And when I was at Thomas Jefferson [High School, Northern Virginia], I had a coach by the name of Rayburn, Coach Rayburn. Coach Rayburn was a good influence on me as a man. We weren't, wasn't, I won't say we had the best, wasn't the best coach, but he was a, he had a good influence on me in terms of being a good, decent human. Now, you're talking that time period, remember this is 1971-ish, '72 [1972] time period, a lot of racial strife. Some of that manifested itself in my high school a little bit. We had a small group of African American students, very, you know, maybe fifty, you know, out of a population of 1,000 or so. That group tended to sit together in the mess hall, I mean in the cafeteria or wherever, right. Well, I'm an athlete. So I'm sitting with my friends, you know, my teammates. I can recall vividly one time where my coach had heard a rumor that somebody had called me an ethnic slur, called me in and asked me. He says, hey, did someone call you a chocolate drop or something like that. That's exactly what he said. I can still hear him saying it. I go, Coach, what are you talking about? And what somebody had said was is, said, you're a reverse, says we got a reverse Oreo here. One white guy was on one side of me and one white guy was on the other side of me. And I'm black in the middle, and says, we got a reverse Oreo here. He heard that. That rumor got back to him and he was, you know, he wasn't having anything to do with that. So he was like really on, making sure we didn't have, you know, we were focused on team, individuals being collective as a group, not racial stuff. But so he was a decent influence as a human, not a great coach. Bob Seveari (ph.) was my coach in, when I was in Sacramento [California].$$At Jesuit.$$At Jesuit, Jesuit High School. That's where I learned about being a winner.$So I started out as a Ranger company commander in 2000--in 1986 and, at Alpha Company, and had something really tragic happen very early in my command. We were actually doing a rehearsal, a real-world rehearsal for a real operation--rescue operation. And part of that rehearsal involved using explosive charges. And in an explosion that I actually had the, was talking on a radio and gave the command for the explosive device to be set off. A piece of shrapnel from the explosion actually blew back, a bunch of it, right back where I was laying with my assault unit. And I had, the radio that I gave the command to detonate this thing, was on the back of a young PFC [private first class] named Michael Ruddis (ph.). And a piece of shrapnel hit Ruddis right here on his left side, right next to me. And my shoulder was touching his shoulder literally, as we were laying next to each other and killed him, cut his aorta and killed him. And on my immediate left side was another young man who had another piece of shrapnel hit him and tra--you know, traumatically amputated his hand, his right hand. And so, and then there was a lieutenant that got hit in the head by a piece of shrapnel from that same explosion. And the thing I'll never forget about that was, another one of my heroes is a guy by the name of Joe Stringum (ph.). And Joe Stringum was the ranger regimental commander, fearless wartime hero from Vietnam. He's not a commander of the range regiment. So as this accident occurs, and again, this is a rehearsal for a real op, it was in Dugway, Utah and we're doing it. I called in the Medivac [medical evacuation] to extract my wounded, and PFC Ruddis after we were treating him and the other soldier. And the range regimental commander didn't see it, but he was in the general area. So he came over to the location where I was. I'll never forget this. You know, we're still dealing with the tragic, tragedy of this, you know. And I'd been, I hadn't experienced this kind of thing, per se, before. And he looked right at me. He goes, okay, Ranger, tell me, tell me what happened. I told him where we were, what happened, what I thought happened 'cause this was three o'clock in the morning in the dark. And he goes, okay, you got your wounded evacuated? I said, yes, sir. He goes do you have your sensitive items accounted for? I says, yeah, we got all their stuff together. And then he said to me, looked me in the face--he didn't do what some people would have done, which would, might have been, okay, well, let's stop. Let's take a statement from everybody. Let's, and I'm not saying we shouldn't pay attention to safety. I'm just the opposite. But this is an important thing. He said to me, he goes, "Okay, Ranger. You still got one hour and fifteen minutes to get to extraction." He was telling me, you know, you don't get to quit just because that happened. Move out. Keep moving, continue the mission, Charlie-Mike. I've never, ever forgotten that. And that profoundly impacted me in the, several major decisions later in my life when I was sitting in his role in life. But so, we did move, get our--move to a desert-lake bed. We did get picked up on aircraft, and we did get out of there and did mourn our dead. And I did get to, later to provide a, you know, go hand--it was a tragic thing. I witnessed this guy die, and then I'm now handing a widow, his widow is nineteen [years old], you know, a flag.

Gen. James Boddie, Jr.

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. James T. Boddie was born on October 18, 1931 in Baltimore, Maryland. Boddie graduated from Fredrick Douglass High School in Baltimore in February 1949. Boddie received his B.S. degree in chemistry from Howard University in 1954, and his M.A. degree in public administration from Auburn University in 1975. In addition, Boddie completed military studies at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in 1971, and the Air War College in 1975.

Boddie received his U.S. Air Force officer’s commission through the Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Program at Howard University, and then earned his wings in 1956. His first operational assignment was with the 560th Strategic Fighter Squadron at Bergstrom Air Force Base that was equipped with the F-84 Thunderstreak fighter plane. Boddie reported to Nellis Air Force Base in 1957 for gunnery and weapons delivery training in the F-100 Super Sabre. Upon completion, Boddie was assigned to the U.S. Air Force Europe Weapons Center in Tripoli, Libya where he served from until 1961. After his return to the United States in February 1961, Boddie assumed responsibilities as commandant of cadets at the Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Program at Tuskegee Institute. In 1966, Boddie volunteered for combat duty in Southeast Asia, and was assigned to the 559th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Cam Ranh Bay Air Base in the Republic of Vietnam. In addition to his duties as operations and scheduling officer, Boddie completed a total of two-hundred and one F-4 combat missions, fifty-seven of which were flown over North Vietnam. In 1980, Boddie was promoted to Brigadier General. He then served as aviation director in the Aircraft Management office, at NASA Headquarters, from 1991 to 1996; and, between 2006 and 2008, Boddie served as president of Texas Southern University.

Boddie’s experience as a command and combat pilot includes over five-thousand hours in jet fighter aircraft. His military decorations and awards include the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Meritorious Service Medal, thirteen Air Medals, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award ribbon, the Combat Readiness Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, the Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with palm, and the Vietnam Campaign Medal. Boddie also wears the Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff badge.

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. James T. Boddie, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 28, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.026

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/28/2013

Last Name

Boddie

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widower

Middle Name

Timothy

Occupation
Schools

Auburn University

Harvard University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

James

Birth City, State, Country

Baltimore

HM ID

BOD02

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Maryland

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

It is five o'clock somewhere.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

10/18/1931

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Dallas

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Steak

Short Description

Brigadier general Gen. James Boddie, Jr. (1931 - ) has logged more than five-thousand hours and flown over two-hundred mission as a U.S. Air Force command pilot.

Employment

United States Air Force

Link flight Simulation Co.

Operational Technologies Services, Inc.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Texas Southern University

Favorite Color

Blue

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of James Boddie's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - James Boddie lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - James Boddie describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - James Boddie talks about his maternal grandfather, Reverend James Arthur Moore

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - James Boddie talks about his mother's friendship with Alberta Williams King

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - James Boddie talks about his mother's growing up in Atlanta, and her family's move to Chicago, Kansas City and Baltimore

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - James Boddie describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - James Boddie talks about his father's education and family

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - James Boddie describes how his parents met and their service in the Baptist church

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - James Boddie describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - James Boddie describes how he met his wife, Mattie Dwiggins, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - James Boddie describes how he met his wife, Mattie Dwiggins, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - James Boddie talks about his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - James Boddie describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - James Boddie describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Baltimore and Germantown, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - James Boddie describes his interest in airplanes, reading and photography

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - James Boddie describes his experience in school, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - James Boddie describes his experience in school, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - James Boddie talks about Jackie Robinson, Joe Louis and the Hindenburg disaster

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - James Boddie discusses his and his family's political affiliations

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - James Boddie describes why he chose to attend Howard University in 1949

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - James Boddie talks about his siblings' education, high school, and his mentor, Lloyd N. Ferguson

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - James Boddie talks about the people he met at Howard University in the 1940s and 1950s

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - James Boddie explains why he stopped playing football at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - James Boddie talks about his classmates at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - James Boddie talks about being commissioned in the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - James Boddie talks about his assignment to primary pilot training in Bartow, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - James Boddie talks about experiencing racism at primary pilot training in Bartow, Florida, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - James Boddie talks about experiencing racism at primary pilot training in Bartow, Florida, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - James Boddie talks about his assignments to Bergstrom Air Force Base and Nellis Air Force Base for F100 training

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - James Boddie describes his experience at Nouasseur Air Base in Morocco and at Wheelus Air Base in Libya, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - James Boddie describes his experience at Nouasseur Air Base in Morocco and at Wheelus Air Base in Libya, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - James Boddie talks about getting married in 1962

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - James Boddie describes his combat missions in the Vietnam War

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - James Boddie talks about his experience in Vietnam, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - James Boddie talks about his experience in Vietnam, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - James Boddie discusses the absence of racial problems in Vietnam, and his limited exposure to Vietnamese civilian life

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - James Boddie talks about returning to the United States from his service in Vietnam in 1967

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - James Boddie talks about becoming a major in the U.S. Air Force, and his appointment to the 4457th Technical Training Wing

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - James Boddie describes his relationship to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - James Boddie talks about the March from Selma to Montgomery in 1965

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - James Boddie talks about visiting Martin Luther King in Montgomery a day after his house had been bombed

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - James Boddie talks about working at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and Randolph Air Force Base in the late 1960s and early 1970s

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - James Boddie describes his experience at the Air War College

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - James Boddie talks about his assignments at Langley Air Force Base and Moody Air Force Base

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - James Boddie talks about his experience at Osan Air Base in South Korea from 1978 to 1980, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - James Boddie talks about his experience at Osan Air Base in South Korea from 1978 to 1980, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - James Boddie talks about his promotion to the rank of brigadier general, and his retirement from the U.S. Air Force in 1983

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - James Boddie talks about the use of flight simulators in the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - James Boddie talks about his role as Director of Air Force Requirements for the Link Flight Simulation Division of the Singer Company

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - James Boddie talks about his service as Vice President of Operations and Business Development for Operational Technologies Services, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - James Boddie talks about his service as Director of Aviation for NASA's Aircraft Management Office, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - James Boddie talks about his service as Director of Aviation for NASA's Aircraft Management Office, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - James Boddie talks about his company, Genesys Industries, and serving on the Board of Directors of the Military Officers Association

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - James Boddie describes his decision to move to Plano, Texas

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - James Boddie talks about his tenure as the interim president of Texas Southern University from 2006 to 2008

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - James Boddie talks about the Republican Party's control in Texas

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - James Boddie talks about travelling with his wife, attending ighter pilot reunions, and being diagnosed with cancer

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - James Boddie talks about being a member of the Tuskegee Airmen Organization

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - James Boddie discusses his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - James Boddie reflects upon the status of African Americans in the U.S. military

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - James Boddie reflects upon this life and career

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - James Boddie reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - James Boddie talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - James Boddie talks about how he would like to be remembered

Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks

Brigadier General Elmer T. Brooks completed thirty years of service in the United States Air Force in 1985, having held a variety of positions including: Executive to the Director, National Reconnaissance Office, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force (1973-1975); a principal aide to three successive Secretaries of Defense (1975-1978); Commander of a (Titan II) Strategic Missile Wing (1979-1981); head of International Negotiations (arms control), Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1981-1983); and Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, Research & Engineering (1983-1985). He had a second career as a government senior executive, serving in NASA Headquarters as Deputy Associate Administrator, Management & Facilities and Space Communications, (1988-1995).

Brooks was born in Washington, D.C. in 1932, where he attended its public schools, graduating from Dunbar High School in 1949. He received his B.A. degree in zoology from Miami University (Ohio) in 1954, and was commissioned through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program. In 1973, Brooks received his M.S. degree in administration from The George Washington University, Washington, D.C., and graduated from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. He completed The Executive Program of the Colgate Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, University of Virginia, under the Air Force’s Advanced Management Program in 1978.

Brooks entered the Air Force in 1955, and was assigned to an Air Reserve Flying Center in Pittsburgh as Unit Administrative Officer and then as Base Director of Personnel. He then went to the Philippines as a radar station Commander and later served as a personnel division chief, Headquarters 13th Air Force, Clark Air Base. During the period of the Cuban Missile Crisis, he was a Missile Combat Crew Commander and Instructor Crew Commander with the Atlas F strategic missile system, Lincoln, Nebraska. From November 1965- May 1968, the General served in Houston as a Flight Control Technologist for the Gemini and Apollo space missions at NASA’s Manned Spacecraft Center. His proudest achievement in his military career was his participation in the development of U.S. arms control policy as the representative of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He played a direct role in formulating the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaties.

Brooks’ awards and decorations include: the Defense Distinguished Service Medal; the Defense Superior Service Medal, with two Oak Leaf Clusters; the Legion of Merit; the Blanchard Trophy, as Commander of the unit which won the best missile wing competition; the NAACP Armed Services and Veterans Affairs Meritorious Award; the NASA Medal for Outstanding Leadership; and The George Washington University Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award.

Brooks was the seventh child of Warren R. Brooks (b. 1874) a mail carrier and government clerk, and Lelia (Williams) Brooks (b. 1888), a school teacher. He can trace his paternal ancestry back to slavery days. His paternal great-grandfather Albert Royal Brooks, was born a slave in 1818 on a James River (VA) plantation. Albert was first a field hand and later was hired out to work in a Richmond tobacco factory. He also became a successful businessman while yet a slave. Eventually he was able to purchase his freedom and that of his wife Lucy Brooks (the general’s great-grandmother) and three of their children. As a free man, Albert also became a politician and a civil rights activist.

Brooks is married to the former Kathryn Casselberry of Dayton, Ohio. They are the parents of a daughter and three sons. General and Mrs. Brooks reside in Rockville, Maryland.

Brooks was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 10, 2006.

Accession Number

A2006.139

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/10/2006

Last Name

Brooks

Maker Category
Middle Name

T.

Occupation
Schools

Paul Laurence Dunbar High School

Miami University

Industrial College of the Armed Forces

Thomas P. Morgan Elementary School

Benjamin Banneker Academic High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Elmer

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

BRO38

Favorite Season

Fall

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Beaches

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

12/30/1932

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pork Chops, Greens, Macaroni, Cheese

Short Description

Brigadier general Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks (1932 - ) held positions in the U.S. Military as strategic Missile Wing Commander, Military Assistant to two Secretaries of Defense, and head of International Negotiations in Arms Control for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He also served in NASA Headquarters as Deputy Associate Administrator for Management and Facilities.

Employment

U.S. Air Force

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

United States Chiefs of Staff

Favorite Color

Red

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks talks about his paternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks describes his paternal great-grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks talks about his paternal great-great-grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks recalls his childhood neighborhood in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks recalls the changes to his neighborhood in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks remembers his neighborhood in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks talks about Nineteenth Street Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks recalls celebrations during his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks remembers his father's employment at the WPA

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks recalls the Thomas P. Morgan Demonstration School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks remembers Benjamin Banneker Junior High School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks remembers his art teacher, Lois Mailou Jones

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks describes Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks recalls his classes at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks recalls his athletic activities at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks recalls the guest speakers at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks recalls the deaths of his parents and aunt

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks recalls his friends at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks recalls his early employment in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks remembers Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks recalls transferring to Miami University in Oxford, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks recalls his employment search in Ohio's Miami Valley

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks talks about his wife and children

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks recalls his first U.S. Air Force assignment

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks recalls his U.S. Air Force assignment in the Philippines

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks recalls his intercontinental missile training

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks recalls his work at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks remembers the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks describes his work as a military assistant to the secretary of defense

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks remembers Secretary of Defense Harold Brown

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks describes his activities with his family

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks remembers McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks recalls his work with the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks describes the Cold War disarmament negotiations

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks recalls his investment banking work in London, England

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks recalls his return to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks describes his career at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks recalls his challenges in the U.S. Air Force, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks recalls his challenges in the U.S. Air Force, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks describes his family's legacy in the schools of Washington, D.C.

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks describes Paul Laurence Dunbar High School's facility in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks describes his organizational involvement

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks reflects upon his career

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks describes his values

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks shares his advice for young people

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks describes his hopes for the African American community of Washington, D.C.

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks narrates his photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

10$8

DATitle
Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks recalls his intercontinental missile training
Brig. Gen. Elmer T. Brooks describes the Cold War disarmament negotiations
Transcript
After that, I applied for missile duty (laughter), coming out of the Philippines. People don't normally apply for missile duty; it's not glamorous duty, sitting down a silo in the Great Plains of the United States. But I thought that if I was gonna stay in the [U.S.] Air Force, I needed an operational specialty; I couldn't fly--my, my eyes were not good enough. I tried at least three times to pass the eye exam for pilot training, but I couldn't pass. Tried every ruse I could think of to get through there, and just couldn't, couldn't make it. So I sa- missiles were the next big operational opportunity for officers who wanted to succeed in the Air Force, so I applied for Atlas training, the Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile [ICBM], and strangely enough, I was turned down for that; I didn't understand why. I had a great record up to that point, but I did have friends in high places. The general who was commander of 13th Air Force and the colonel I worked for both interceded with the higher headquarters and said, "Take this guy or he's gonna get out of the Air Force on us, and send him to missile training," which they did. And I went to missile training at Lincoln Air Force Base, Nebraska, and I spent five years there.$$Now, tell me about that training. What were, what were you involved in learning how to do? And what was the progression?$$It was a very intense five weeks there. For me, it was learning a new--what computers were all about; I didn't know anything about computers, so I had to learn what a computer was, the innards of it, how it worked, the Ps and the Os, and transistors and all the rest of that, so I learned communications. Had to learn rocketry--how you make a, a rocket that boost these warheads--all about the nozzles and the aerodynamics of it and what have you--about the guidance system, about gyros and about spatial alignment for gyros, and those kinds of things, so it was a very intense course of five weeks, and I had to leave my, my family in, in Lincoln, Nebraska. I got home once or twice during that period. We lived in a--my wife [Kathryn Casselberry Brooks] called it a haunted house there; it was the only house we could get (laughter) in Lincoln, Nebraska. Unfortunately, it was an old--creaky, old frame house. But I left them there and--unhappily. They didn't like it. Then, came back to Lincoln and, after some on-the-job training, went on alert as a strategic air command--a deputy missile combat crew commander, so I was a number two guy on a five-man crew. I had a crew commander which normally was a major, a lieutenant colonel, or, in a few cases, a captain. And the deputy crew commander was either a captain or a lieutenant. So I was a deputy commander initially, working for a major, and then after a couple of years, I was upgraded; I became the first crew member to be upgraded to crew commander as a captain. I had my own crew. We did very well; we became an instructor crew to--teaching, teaching the other crews the ins and outs of the system, and won a few awards as being the top crew in the squadron there.$The work of a director in the arm control negotiations was one of the highlights of your career (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, it certainly was.$$Why?$$Yeah. Well, I--when I think of my career, I think of three pieces. I think of the time when I was a warrior, a cold warrior, and the Cold War was essentially 1945, the end of the Second World War [World War II, WWII], through 1990, when the Soviet Union folded--it was caput. During that period, it was Strategic Air Command, and those bombers and missiles that were the--was the counterforce to the Soviet Strategic Forces [Strategic Missile Troops]. And it was by virtue of our strength in the United States that the Soviets didn't, didn't put missiles--intercontinental missiles into Cuba; that was the Cuban Missile Crisis, and I was sitting in a silo during the Cuban Missile Crisis for forty-eight hours there (laughter) with my hand on the, on the trigger, ready to go if President Kennedy [President John Fitzgerald Kennedy] said so, if the, if the Soviets hadn't turned around and taken those missiles out of Cuba. Well, fortunately, that happened. But in any event, I look at that part of my career as a, as the warrior part. Then, the second part was as an arms controller, an arms reducer. Because strangely enough, the [U.S.] military, during the period I was there in the Joint Chiefs of Staff, I took a lead role in urging the reduction of nuclear weapons, and we had tens of thousands of nuclear weapons, so did the Soviets. And we felt that certainly no more than 5,000 nuclear weapons was more than adequate for deterrence against any adversary we could envision in the future, so we were working toward that goal, bringing it down to 5,000; now, they're trying to get down to 1200, in the latest round of, of talks. But I was involved in every arms control negotiation and agreement that we were involved in--the Law of the Sea [United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea], the CSCE, the Conference on Security in Europe [Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe], MBFR [Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions], which is the Mutual and Balanced Forces something (laughter) in Europe. But this was--all of these were essentially with the Soviet Union was a major player on the other side, and we had, of course, negotiators. Principal negotiators would go to the different pla- mainly, Geneva, Switzerland, but also some other places--the UN [United Nations] and Mons, Belgium, places like that, to negotiate these agreements. I'm very pleased to say that the, the Intermediate Nuclear Forces agreement [Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty] that we engaged in with the Soviets and both sides agreed to, that the principal elements of that agreement, I believe, were, were advocated by my office and the Joint Chiefs of Staff and, of course, we had to go through an interagency process--CIA [Central Intelligence Agency], the National Security Council staff, the civilian side of [U.S.] Department of Defense, which didn't always agree with the [U.S.] military side, but we had some pretty strong conservatives on that side--Richard Perle , Freddie Clay, and some others--the state department [U.S. Department of State], the Arms Control Disarmament Agency [U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency]--all of these would get together in interagency groups at the same level, and I was sort of at the, the number two level down in the, in the government negotiating all of these things. Very challenging, very interesting. Then, just to wrap it up, the latter part of my career was with NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Administration], and this was the peaceful uses of space--$$Okay.$$--so I made the full transition there.$$Um-hm. And so this brings you almost about thirty years now. We're talking about mid-'80s [1980s] at this point, uh-huh (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Yes it does, yes it does.