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Rudolph Brewington

Broadcast journalist Rudolph W. Brewington was born on November 2, 1946 in New York City. He graduated from Cardinal Hayes high school in 1964 and then enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. Brewington served two years in the Presidential Honor Guard at Marine Barracks in Washington, D.C. before deploying to the Republic of South Vietnam from 1967 to 1968. Honorably discharged in 1968, Brewington worked in a number of jobs. After studying communications at the University of Maryland at College Park, Brewington transferred to Federal City College (University of the District of Columbia) and graduated with his M.A. degree in adult education. Brewington later studied business administration at Bowie State University and the College of Southern Nevada.

During the 1970s, Brewington held a number of broadcast positions in Washington, D.C. including news anchor at WUST Radio; news director at WOOK Radio; reporter and sportscaster at WWDC Radio; and, news anchor and correspondent at WRC/NBC Radio and WRC-TV. Brewington later co-founded “Black Agenda Reports,” a nationally-syndicated radio production company. He then accepted a position as talk show host at WOL Radio followed by a position as announcer with the nationally-syndicated television news program “America’s Black Forum.” Brewington joined the Sheridan Broadcasting Network in 1981 as a news anchor and correspondent where he covered politics and ten NASA space shuttle missions. Brewington was recalled to active duty in 1990 during the Persian Gulf War, where he served at the Pentagon as a spokesman for the U.S. Navy. He also served as assistant to the Navy’s Chief of Information (CHINFO).

In 1994, Brewington accepted a position as a public affairs expert with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service; and, in 1995, he co-founded B&B Productions, which produced the award-winning “Marvin Gaye: Pride and Joy” and “King: Celebration of the Man and his Dream.” In 1998, Brewington was appointed communications administrator with the United States chapter of Amnesty International in Washington, D.C. He also served in the U.S. Army Reserve and retired with the rank of Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve.

Brewington has been actively involved with community groups and organizations including the American Federation of TV & Radio Artists, the National Naval Officers Association, the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. and the Vietnam Veterans of America. He has garnered numerous awards and honors including an EMMY Award, the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, the Chesapeake and Virginia AP Spot News Awards and other industry accolades. In 1990, Brewington was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for an investigative series entitled “Domestic Surveillance: America’s Dirty Little Secret.” His military awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, the Navy Achievement Medal, the Combat Action Ribbon, Vietnam Campaign and Service Medals, and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

Rudolph W. Brewington was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 22, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.318

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/22/2013

Last Name

Brewington

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

William

Schools

Cardinal Hayes High School

University of Maryland

Federal City College

Bowie State University

College of Southern Nevada

P.S. 5

St. Charles Borromeo School

St. Thomas the Apostle School

St. Joseph's Elementary School

First Name

Rudolph

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

BRE03

Favorite Season

Spring

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France

Favorite Quote

You Never Lived Until You Almost Died.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Nevada

Birth Date

11/2/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Las Vegas

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Okra, Tomatoes, Rice, Chicken Feet

Short Description

Broadcast journalist Rudolph Brewington (1946 - ) was the co-founder of 'Black Agenda Reports.' He received a Pulitzer Prize nomination in 1990 for his investigative series, 'Domestic Surveillance: America's Dirty Little Secret.'

Employment

Navy LIFELines Services Network

Amnesty International USA

National Naval Medical Center

Armed Forces Inaugural Committee

United States Immigration and Naturalization Service

United Press International

United States Marine Corps

WUST Radio

WOOK Radio

WWDC Radio (NBC affiliate)

WRC Radio

WOL Radio

WHUT-TV at Howard University

Radio-TV Monitoring Service

Association Personnel, Inc.

Sheridan Broadcasting Corporation

U.S. Navy Public Affairs Office

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:8120,288:8840,301:24701,493:25049,498:26006,511:26615,524:30095,644:32792,690:34619,741:34967,746:35750,754:36359,762:43708,826:45686,849:50440,911:51454,927:51766,932:53872,969:55588,1025:57928,1076:59488,1102:60268,1142:61750,1153:72720,1260:74400,1323:75360,1339:76640,1364:77760,1385:86209,1525:92256,1641:95296,1752:95828,1760:97196,1809:106962,2057:113946,2217:115962,2256:119990,2280:125051,2345:125423,2350:126074,2362:136022,2503:139718,2579:140390,2589:142070,2617:143162,2637:149042,2775:152402,2824:159486,2905:161022,2944:161502,2949:164060,2973:166085,3033:166652,3042:170540,3134:171512,3151:172241,3164:174995,3211:184420,3291:186630,3335:189350,3383:189945,3392:190795,3404:194620,3475:196065,3501:197340,3533:212505,3772:212805,3777:219180,3898:223270,3914:223610,3920:224154,3933:224902,3951:225310,3957:226126,4007:228982,4127:229866,4147:230206,4153:230682,4161:231294,4171:231974,4183:234762,4295:235510,4308:240750,4351:241940,4373:242360,4379:242710,4385:244950,4436:247890,4569:248380,4578:248870,4586:249220,4616:256190,4703$0,0:3010,82:11266,283:15824,360:18232,395:44940,861:50529,983:56990,1044:57548,1054:60250,1072:61804,1099:62766,1132:66762,1219:67280,1227:69722,1284:75230,1320:75818,1368:83006,1441:84715,1455:85095,1460:92505,1608:106534,1772:107410,1786:115830,1891:116295,1897:117132,1910:122860,1990:123172,1995:124498,2044:129660,2107:134690,2187:134970,2192:135250,2197:138610,2278:139380,2295:139660,2308:146601,2399:148059,2426:148626,2434:148950,2439:151137,2510:161780,2655
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Rudolph Brewington's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Rudolph Brewington lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Rudolph Brewington describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Rudolph Brewington describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Rudolph Brewington talks about his relationship with his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Rudolph Brewington describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Rudolph Brewington remembers the St. Nicholas Houses in New York City

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Rudolph Brewington describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Rudolph Brewington describes early experiences of religion

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Rudolph Brewington remembers his Catholic schooling

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Rudolph Brewington describes his experiences in foster care

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Rudolph Brewington talks about his relationship with his twin brother

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Rudolph Brewington remembers his home life

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Rudolph Brewington remembers the community in New York City's Harlem neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Rudolph Brewington remembers his early political consciousness

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Rudolph Brewington talks about his similarity to his twin brother

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Rudolph Brewington recalls his decision to join the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Rudolph Brewington remembers serving in the U.S. Marine Corps Honor Guard

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Rudolph Brewington remembers the conflicts between black and white troops in Vietnam

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Rudolph Brewington talks about his deployment to Vietnam

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Rudolph Brewington remembers soliciting prostitution in Vietnam

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Rudolph Brewington recalls the start of his journalistic career

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Rudolph Brewington remembers his transition to civilian life

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Rudolph Brewington talks about working as a reporter for NBC

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Rudolph Brewington describes the journalistic community in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Rudolph Brewington talks about the development of black radio

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Rudolph Brewington remembers the black news community in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Rudolph Brewington recalls working for the Radio-TV Monitoring Service

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Rudolph Brewington recalls serving as the public affairs director for Association Personnel, Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Rudolph Brewington describes his time at the Sheridan Broadcasting Network

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Rudolph Brewington describes the structure of the Sheridan Broadcasting Network

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Rudolph Brewington remembers being recalled to active duty with the U.S. Navy

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Rudolph Brewington describes his role as a public affairs officer

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Rudolph Brewington reflects upon his career in the U.S. Navy

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Rudolph Brewington remembers his public affairs work in the U.S. Navy

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Rudolph Brewington talks about 'Domestic Surveillance: America's Dirty Little Secret'

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Rudolph Brewington talks about the impact of his investigative report on surveillance devices

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Rudolph Brewington talks about his transition to Amnesty International

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Rudolph Brewington remembers his most challenging public relations cases

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Rudolph Brewington talks about his retirement

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Rudolph Brewington describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Rudolph Brewington talks about his generation's legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Rudolph Brewington reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Rudolph Brewington reflects upon the legacy of the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Rudolph Brewington narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$2

DAStory

3$5

DATitle
Rudolph Brewington recalls his decision to join the U.S. Marine Corps
Rudolph Brewington remembers the conflicts between black and white troops in Vietnam
Transcript
So how did you choose the [U.S.] Marine Corps?$$Well, to be honest I was walking, I was down in Times Square [New York, New York], 'cause Ron [Brewington's brother, HistoryMaker Ronald H. Brewington] and I used to have, I used to work for a UPS [United Parcel Service] subsidiary called, when I was a teenager, called Red Arrow Messenger Service. It's beautiful. I mean we used to wear riding spats and, and with, I'm sorry, the puffed out pants, are we okay? The puffed out pants and we'd ride bicycles and this was the thing that made it--it was, was good. This is all part of my upbringing. Because I didn't have a father, we'll get to that in a minute, but I had a chance to leave Harlem [New York, New York] and go into areas like Park Avenue, Madison Avenue, Sutton Place [New York, New York]. I saw wealthy white people that--and I was like, "Wow look at all this," you know, and, and some of them accepted me and some didn't. I met Irving Berlin. I met this one. I met that one, you know, and, and they were nice to me. Sarah Vaughan, I met, I met all these people on Park Avenue and Madison Avenue and that was a world of, that, that opened up to me. I, I, it broaden my horizons in terms of, there's Harlem but there's a bigger world like that; like mama [Mosetta Smalls] had told us. And so, but she said the key to getting into that bigger world, you know, was education. Ron, for example, worked for a woman who is--no let begin with me. I worked for a woman named Dea Carroll. She used to put on fashion shows in--which is why to this day when I hear people say, "I'm a model," I say "Well, do you, where do you model at?" Unless you're modelling in New York [New York] or Paris [France] you're playing at it. She put on fashion shows in The Pierre [New York, New York], in the Plaza [Plaza Hotel, New York, New York], in, in the St. Moritz [Hotel St. Moritz, New York, New York]. I mean I saw the best of the best, clothes wise, because girls admired me 'cause I was a teenager. They didn't look upon me as a man. So they didn't have a problem dressing in front of me and putting their, putting their clothes on. But it was an eye-opening experience for me. It was all part of my education and it broadened my horizons about the world and the reality of the world.$$So, but things are sort of brewing at the time that you're going (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yes.$$--into--$$Yes.$$--into the Marines and they're brewing enough that they sort of crescendo a few years later with the, you know, the anti-war movement.$$Yes ma'am.$$So, but there are those who actually did, you know, and, and, you know, you--were you drafted?$$No. I, I volunteered.$$You volunteered.$$In fact, and now you talk about the reality of the world, a month before I went into the Marine Corps, in fact, in June, this is a part of the history, June of 1964 a young man [James Powell] was shot by a cop [Thomas Gilligan] in New York City six times. Little young man pulled out a knife like that, that big and he was shot and killed and the cop reloaded his guns after shooting him six times and shot him more times. Folks went off. This was the first urban riot in American history. You may recall it, in 1964, June of 1964, there was a major riot in Harlem. Harlem was closed off from the rest of New York City. Food wasn't brought in. Trains, subways didn't stop and that, I was also kind of like, "hm," to me. But no, but I joined the Marine Corps because I wanted to go to college. And so I went down to Times Square one day and I saw this guy and he had this fabulous uniform on, dressed blue tops and he was looking sharp, he was looking kind of sharp. And I said, "I want to be that." And so I joined the Marine Corps. I didn't have any idea that, what all was entailed in joining the Marines, the Marines being the nine one one, the first force to go in. I was fortunate. The first year I spent down in Beaufort, South Carolina [Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort], and then I was at Camp Lejuene [Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Jacksonville, North Carolina] for a minute. And then I was selected one of the first African Americans selected to serve on the Marine Honor Guard [U.S. Marine Corps Honor Guard] at Marine Barracks, 8th [Street] and I [Street] Southeast in Washington, D.C. where I, I was one of the first blacks to be at White House ceremonies. And I was burying people at Arlington National Cemetery [Arlington, Virginia] and other places, Iwo Jima [United State Marine Corps War Memorial, Arlington, Virginia] and that was another great experience, eye opening experience for me as well. And then af-$$Okay--$$And then after that I went to Vietnam.$(Simultaneous) Now what did--how did Vietnam come about though?$$Oh boy.$$Because this is, you go off to Vietnam.$$Yes ma'am.$$So you go off in--$$Nineteen sixty-seven [1967].$$--sixty-seven [1967].$$Yes ma'am. My platoon commander said to me, I was hoping after my--two year tour, that was a two year tour. Vietnam [Vietnam War] was raging at that time and that was a two year tour, you were guaranteed to stay on the President's honor guard [Marine Presidential Guard] once you did you, once you got there, which kept me out of combat early. So I thought I would go to Quantico, Virginia [Marine Corps Base Quantico], and kind of skate Vietnam and kind of move on the rest of my life. But no, my platoon commander said to me one day, "Ah, Corporal Brewington [HistoryMaker Rudolph Brewington], you haven't had any combat," and he sent me to Vietnam. And that was an eye opener, I mean you know, to see people be around you and they die, they get killed and you're shooting at people and they're shooting back at you. It was a, it was a religious experience for me because it strengthened my faith in God. I mean, you know, everybody is scared. Everybody is afraid of dying and you see death around you and it doesn't touch you. But something did happen in Vietnam that was interesting. The day Martin Luther King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] was killed, April 4, 1968, I was in Vietnam. I was serving this country, on patrol and we came back and we heard that Martin Luther King had been, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., had been killed. And so, us black Marines [U.S. Marine Corps] got together to hold a memorial service and all of a sudden we heard this clank, clank, clank, clank, clank and it was Marines on an armored personnel carrier pointing weapons at us telling us to break up this unlawful and treasonous, that was the word, treasonous assembly, like what? We're here to give respect to Martin Luther King, Jr. And they pointed rifles at us and for a few days black and white Marines was like, you know, they were like aiming rifles at each other, the shots were fired at each other; they don't say that much about it but it happened. You know, and I came back from Vietnam angry, politicized. I didn't want to deal with the [U.S.] military ever again in my life, ever. That changed later on.$$Well then it was a hard time in many ways--$$Yes.$$--and so you're there, 'cause emotions are popping over here but, I want to--so what other, can you describe--because you were there a year?$$Yes ma'am, thirteen months.$$Okay. So where were you? There are thirteen?$$Thirteen months (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Okay.

Radm. Stephen Rochon

U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Stephen W. Rochon was born in New Orleans, Louisiana and enlisted in the U. S. Coast Guard in 1970. He received a commission as an ensign in 1975 from the Officer Candidate School at Yorktown, Virginia. He then was assigned to Marine Safety Office (MSO) in California as assistant port operations and intelligence officer. In 1979, he served in the Coast Guard Reserve while attending Xavier University of Louisiana and graduated from there with his B.S. degree in business administration. Rochon then graduated from the National Defense University’s Industrial College of the Armed Forces (ICAF) in 1999 with his M.S. degree in national resource strategy. In 2002, he also completed the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government Senior Executive Program for National and International Security, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology School of Management.

In 1984, Rochon returned to active duty and served as Chief of the Reserve Training Branch of the Ninth Coast Guard District in Cleveland, Ohio. In this capacity, Rochon organized the Coast Guard’s first combat skills course with the Marine Corps in Quantico, Virginia and served on temporary duty in the Middle East to train the Royal Jordanian Coast Guard. Rochon served as the Coast Guard's director of personnel management in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita in 2005 where he provided support for Coast Guard personnel and their families. In 2006, Rochon became the Commander of Maintenance and Logistics Command at the U.S. Coast Guard’s Atlantic Headquarters; and, in, 2007, he was named Director of the Executive Residence and Chief Usher at the White House for former President George W. Bush. The first African American to hold the position, Rochon ran the executive mansion for four years for Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, executing all major events at the White House and preserving the nation’s most historic home.

His military awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, three Legion of Merit Medals, two Meritorious Service Medals, two Coast Guard Commendation Medals, two Department of Transportation 9/11 Medals, two Coast Guard Achievement Medals, two Commandant’s Letter of Commendation Ribbons, among twenty service and unit awards. His civilian awards include the 1989 Coast Guard Equal Opportunity Achievement Award, the 1990 United Negro College Fund Leadership Award, the 1997 Port of Baltimore Vital Link Award, the 1998 Vice President Gore Hammer Award, the 1998 NAACP Roy P. Wilkins Renowned Service Award, the 2001 World Trade Center New Orleans C. Alvin Bertel Award, the 2002 Greater New Orleans Barge Fleeting Association Maritime Person of the Year, the 2007 Ellis Island Medal of Honor, and the 2009 Spirit of Hope Award.

U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Stephen W. Rochon was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 8, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.184

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/8/2013

Last Name

Rochon

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Wayne

Occupation
Schools

Blessed Sacrament School

St. Katharine Drexel Preparatory Academy

Xavier University of Louisiana

National Defense University (ICAF)

University of Maryland

Northeastern High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Stephen

Birth City, State, Country

New Orleans

HM ID

ROC02

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bahamas, Jamaica

Favorite Quote

Find The Good And Praise It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

3/7/1950

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Shrimp Po' Boy

Short Description

Rear admiral Radm. Stephen Rochon (1950 - ) served as director of personnel management in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita in 2005, and went on to become the first African American director of the Executive Residence and usher at the White House where he served under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Employment

Delete

Unites States Customs and Border Protection

White House

United States Coast Guard

United States Coast Guard Marine Safety Office

United States Coast Guard Ninth District

United States Department of Transportation

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:2112,39:35228,357:35623,363:55744,644:60602,693:60890,698:63542,727:63814,732:78826,924:82069,959:85520,1024:90888,1099:95560,1166:98066,1208:99698,1229:109226,1328:109694,1343:110006,1348:110474,1355:110786,1360:111956,1382:118304,1501:122074,1544:122398,1549:123370,1560:124099,1570:125071,1588:125395,1593:125719,1598:126043,1603:128797,1689:137363,1783:151501,1959:154412,1991:155924,2029:157148,2056:179665,2366:179965,2371:181315,2394:192838,2518:202690,2615$0,0:4107,47:4761,57:5197,62:19650,219:36717,438:39958,479:54080,705:92180,1034:132897,1492:133301,1497:137885,1542:142590,1596:151035,1676:157248,1756:164700,1812:199950,2182:217708,2393:230550,2554
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Stephen Rochon's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Stephen Rochon lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Stephen Rochon describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Stephen Rochon describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Stephen Rochon talks about his maternal grandfather and his job as a Pullman porter

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Stephen Rochon talks about his mother's growing up in Baltimore, Maryland and New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Stephen Rochon describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Stephen Rochon talks about how his parents met, his father's success as a pharmacist, his parents' divorce and his relationship with his father

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Stephen Rochon talks about his siblings, his similarities to his mother and his maternal grandfather, and his step-father's name

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Stephen Rochon describes his earliest childhood memories of taking trips with his mother and brothers in his mother's car

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Stephen Rochon discusses racism and segregation in the South, and contrasts this with his trip to Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Stephen Rochon talks about the schools that he attended in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Stephen Rochon talks about his elementary school in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Stephen Rochon describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Stephen Rochon describes Mardi Gras in New Orleans while he was growing up, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Stephen Rochon describes Mardi Gras in New Orleans while he was growing up, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Stephen Rochon talks about the practice of throwing coconuts in the Mardi Gras parade

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Stephen Rochon talks about his interest in chemistry in grade school

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Stephen Rochon talks about his high school in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Stephen Rochon talks about his interest in music and his family's musical inclinations

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Stephen Rochon talks about running for student body president and playing sports in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Stephen Rochon talks about his interest in music, Xavier University's pharmacy department and joining the U.S. Coast Guard

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Stephen Rochon recalls Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Stephen Rochon describes his experience at Xavier University, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Stephen Rochon describes his experience at Xavier University, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Stephen Rochon discusses his decision to join the U.S. Coast Guard

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Stephen Rochon talks about joining the U.S. Coast Guard in 1970

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Stephen Rochon talks about his early experience in the U.S. Coast Guard and his promotion after three years

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Stephen Rochon talks about his early promotion, working in the U.S. Coast Guard recruiting office and his decision to stay in the service

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Stephen Rochon talks about the end of his first marriage, his parents' support, and raising his son

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Stephen Rochon talks about raising his son in California, resigning from active Coast Guard duty, and his father's business going bankrupt

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Stephen Rochon talks about working in real estate, returning to Xavier University and going back into active duty in the U.S. Coast Guard in 1984

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Stephen Rochon talks about his tour as Chief of the Reserve Training Branch of the U.S. Coast Guard's 9th District in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Stephen Rochon talks about his tour as Chief of the Port Security Branch at the U.S. Coast Guard headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Stephen Rochon talks about his tours as Chief of Officer Recruiting and Chief of the Officer Programs Branch, and his promotion to lieutenant commander

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Stephen Rochon talks about the Haitian migrant crisis of the early 1990s

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Stephen Rochon talks about his first day at the U.S Coast Guard headquarters and Alex Haley's significance in the Coast Guard

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Stephen Rochon discusses the absence of an African Americans in the U.S. Coast Guard when he joined in the 1970s

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Stephen Rochon discusses his interest in black history in the U.S. Coast Guard, his mentor, Alex Haley, and dating and marrying his second wife

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Stephen Rochon talks about his service as deputy commander of MIO/Activities in Baltimore and attending the National Defense University

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Stephen Rochon describes his experience as the commanding officer of the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Office in New Orleans, and becoming a rear admiral

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Stephen Rochon talks about becoming the second African American rear admiral in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard, after Erroll Brown

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Stephen Rochon describes his service and experience in the U.S. Department of Transportation

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Stephen Rochon recalls the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Stephen Rochon talks about the Department of Transportation and becoming the acting director of the Office of Intelligence and Security

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Stephen Rochon describes his experience as the acting assistant commandant for Intelligence in the U.S. Coast Guard

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Stephen Rochon reflects upon the communication between U.S. Intelligence agencies

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Stephen Rochon discusses his assignment as the director of Personnel Management, his command in Norfolk, Virginia, and Hurricane Katrina

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Stephen Rochon talks about being recruited as the Chief Usher of The White House, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Stephen Rochon talks about being recruited as the Chief Usher of The White House, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Stephen Rochon describes the history of the role of the Chief Usher of The White House

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Stephen Rochon talks about demographics of the White House staff members, and their longevity of service, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Stephen Rochon talks about demographics of the White House staff members, and their longevity of service, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Stephen Rochon describes his responsibilities as the Chief Usher of the White House

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Stephen Rochon describes how the White House transitions between presidents, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Stephen Rochon describes how the White House transitions between presidents, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Stephen Rochon describes his experience in the White House with the Obama family, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Stephen Rochon describes his experience in the White House with the Obama family, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Stephen Rochon talks about picking a swing set for President Barack Obama's daughters and the basketball court in the White House

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Stephen Rochon talks about working in collaboration with the Secret Service at the White House

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Stephen Rochon describes his experience at the White House State dinner for the Queen of England in 2007

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Stephen Rochon describes his experience during Pope Benedict's visit to the White House

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Stephen Rochon talks about the differences between the Bushes' and the Obamas' stay in the White House

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Stephen Rochon talks about his family's reaction and support of his service as the chief usher of the White House

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Stephen Rochon talks about his decision to retire as the chief usher of the White House

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Stephen Rochon talks about the subject matter for his book, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Stephen Rochon talks about the subject matter for his book, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Stephen Rochon talks about the film, 'Lee Daniels' The Butler', pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Stephen Rochon talks about the film, 'Lee Daniels' The Butler', pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Stephen Rochon reflects upon his life

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Stephen Rochon reflects upon opportunities in the U.S. Coast Guard

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Stephen Rochon talks about The Rochon Group, LLC

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Stephen Rochon describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Stephen Rochon reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Stephen Rochon talks about his family

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Stephen Rochon talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Stephen Rochon describes his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Stephen Rochon describes his photographs

DASession

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DATape

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DAStory

1$7

DATitle
Stephen Rochon talks about joining the U.S. Coast Guard in 1970
Stephen Rochon describes the history of the role of the Chief Usher of The White House
Transcript
Okay, so [U.S.] Coast Guard, you met a brother in bell bottoms (laughter)?$$Yeah, yeah, 6'2" [height]. I'll never forget him, SK-1, Henry Dillsworth, D-I-L-L-S-W-O-R-T-H. And he was the first one when I walked in that office. And I said, God, that's an impressive man, tall guy in these bell bottoms, and got this flack tie, kerchief around his neck and white piping, you know, coming down here, and I said, man, that looks pretty sharp. And so we started talking, and I said, my cousin told me I should check this out, you know. And he said, Ah, Rochon, you know, it's a good outfit. And I says, well, tell me what those stripes mean on your arm. He had an arm full of stripes we call hash marks, and each stripe means four years of service. But the rank was up here, and I said, what is that? He said, I'm a second-class petty officer. And I said, oh, okay, that sounds impressive. I says, what's the next step from there. He says, you become a first class. So I said, well, how long does it take to become a first class? And he says, well, you won't have to worry about that Rochon because you have you--you have to wait till your second term, your second hitch. He said, I've been in, you know, a good fifteen years, and I'm second class. So I says, well, how quickly can you make first class? And he says, well, there're some people that make it in under four years, and we call 'em "slick arm first." In other words, they have nothing on this arm 'cause they don't have enough years to have even one stripe representing four years. So sometimes people make it in less than four years. He said, but don't worry about that. That doesn't happen. I said, but is it possible? And he says, yeah. And I said, okay, great, not realizing he gave me my first big goal in the service. So to make a, to make it short, I signed up. Two weeks later, I told my mother [Ursula Bernice Carrere] good-bye, and my buds, gave my drums away to the church and went off to Alameda, California.$$Now, how did your mother feel about you joining the Coast Guard?$$Well, she knew it was either that or the [U.S.] Army. And she says, the lesser of two evils in her mind. And she said, my son might come back alive, if he's on a patrol boat. Now, there was a waiting list in the Coast Guard to get to Vietnam 'cause we had these patrol boats, and they, we had some significant casualties over there. But there were so many people that wanted that duty on the river that I thought my chances of going over there were kind of slim. And I was right.$$Okay, okay, so this is 1970?$$1970--$$And--$$November 21st.$Okay, okay, give us some little history on the origin of that position [Chief Usher of The White House] and what it entails?$$Well, it, the way it started, it was not a job titled "chief usher." There were ushers, and they actually, during the time of [President] Thomas Jefferson and other presidents, they--and [President] John Adams, people would be able to come knock on the front door of The White House and say I'd like to have an audience with the president. And so the person that answered the door would usher them in to the sitting room, and they would wait their turn to speak with the president. Now, there would be a few million people knocking on the front door, but that's the origin of that job. And then over time, it grew as the requirements of the house grew. It needed someone to run the staff, the chefs and the butlers and the housekeepers, and then the physical plant. And it was around 1886 that that title "chief usher" was given. I'm trying to think of the, I know J.B. West was one of them. The one just before me was Gary Walters, behind him was Rex Skalton (ph.), J.B. West, Dens Moore, you know, there were a couple other ones. But as years progressed, and after the Truman [President Harry S. Truman] renovation, and after the executive residence became an official ceremonial place, not just the home of the president, but where you would entertain heads of state, with state dinners, and entertainers, the staff had to grow to keep up with that. So that position now is the director. It's like the general manager of a five-star hotel, except you have some pretty important guests. And it does require a full team of engineers and carpenters and painters and butlers and chefs and florists and housekeepers and curators to preserve that house for hopefully, two--400 years from now. So it was a major responsibility, and it was a 12-14 hour days often, average, 11, 11-hour days for eight hours pay, by the way.$$Okay.$$But the house was riddled with loyalty and you just stayed. Not everybody got overtime, certainly not the ushers or the chief usher never got overtime. But you had a job to do, and it was putting a face on America that, when you have a foreign minister or foreign head of state, you wanna make sure the president and this country--that head of state leaves this country realizing that everything ran perfectly. And it was a great visit, and it facilitated maybe some major decisions in the Oval Office because of the whole experience of being there. So we took the job very seriously.

Maj. Gen. Clifford Stanley

U.S. Marine Corps MajGen. Clifford L. Stanley was born on March 31, 1947 in Washington, D.C. After graduating from Theodore Roosevelt High School in 1965, Stanley enrolled in South Carolina State University and graduated with his B.S. degree in psychology in 1969. He went on to graduate with honors from Johns Hopkins University with his M.S. degree in counseling in 1977. In 2005, Stanley received his Ed.D. degree in education from the University of Pennsylvania. Stanley’s military education includes the Amphibious Warfare School (1978), the Naval War College (1983), the Marine Corps Command and Staff College (1984), and the National War College (1988).

Throughout his thirty-three year career, Stanley has served in numerous command and staff positions in the U.S. Marine Corps, including as commanding officer of M Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, commanding officer of Headquarters Company of the 4th Marines; commanding general of Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC) Twentynine Palms, California; and commanding general of the Marine Corps Base, Quantico, Virginia. In 1993 Stanley assumed command of the 1st Marine Regiment, Camp Pendleton, California, making him the first African American to command a U.S. Marine Corps Infantry Regiment. Stanley has also served in various assignments outside of the Fleet Marine Forces, including as psychology and leadership instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy; executive officer at the Marine Corps Institute; special assistant and Marine Corps aide for the Assistant Secretary of the Navy; and as a desk officer in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia and the Pacific Region in the Pentagon. In 2002, Stanley retired from the U.S. Marine Corps at the rank of Major General. He went on to serve as executive vice president of the University of Pennsylvania, and then as president of Scholarship America, Inc. Stanley was sworn in as the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness on February 16, 2010.

Stanley is a life member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., the South Carolina State University Alumni Association, the National Naval Officers Association, and the White House Fellow’s Foundation and Association. He also serves as a member of the Board of Deacons at Grace Baptist Church of Germantown in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Stanley’s military honors include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal (2 awards), the Navy Commendation Medal, and the Navy Achievement Medal. His civilian awards include receiving the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s (N.A.A.C.P.) Meritorious Service Award, the N.A.A.C.P. Roy Wilkins Award, and the American Legion Award for Inspirational Leadership. Stanley also received Honorary Doctorate of Laws Degrees from Spalding University and South Carolina State University, and the Doctor of Science, honoris causa from the Medical University of South Carolina.

Stanley and his wife, Rosalyn Hill Stanley, have one daughter: U.S. Navy Commander Angela Yvonne Stanley.

U.S. Marine Corps MajGen. Clifford Lee Stanley was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 6, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.178

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/6/2013

Last Name

Stanley

Maker Category
Middle Name

L.

Occupation
Schools

University of Pennsylvania

Johns Hopkins University

South Carolina State University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Clifford

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

STA08

Favorite Season

Spring

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Charleston, South Carolina

Favorite Quote

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Pennsylvania

Birth Date

3/31/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Villanova

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Shrimp, Grits

Short Description

Major general Maj. Gen. Clifford Stanley (1947 - ) was assigned as commanding officer of the 1st Marine Regiment, Camp Pendleton, California from 1993 to 1994, making him the first African American to command a U.S. Marine Corps Infantry Regiment.

Employment

Company M, 3d Battalion, 8th Marines

United States Marine Corps

1st Battalion, 6th Marines

1st Marine Regiment

Marine Corps Institute and Parade Commander at Marine Barracks

First Recruit Training Battalion, Parris Island

2d Fleet, USS Mt Whitney, LCC-20

Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff

Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center

Marine Corps Base

Favorite Color

Blue, Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Clifford Stanley's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Clifford Stanley lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Clifford Stanley describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Clifford Stanley describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Clifford Stanley talks about his mother's career, her personality, and how she raised her family

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Clifford Stanley describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Clifford Stanley talks about his paternal family's life during discrimination in the South

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Clifford Stanley talks about his family being the target of a sniper attack and their response towards racial discrimination

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Clifford Stanley describes his grandparents and how he was taught about the importance of character

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Clifford Stanley talks about the sniper attack on his family in April, 1975

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Clifford Stanley talks about the impact of the sniper attack on his family in April of 1975

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Clifford Stanley talks about his father's education and how his father was drafted into World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Clifford Stanley describes how his parents met and married

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Clifford Stanley discusses his father's employment as a photographer with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Clifford Stanley describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Clifford Stanley discusses his parents' personalities

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Clifford Stanley talks about his brother, Michael Stanley

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Clifford Stanley talks about growing up around relatives in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Clifford Stanley describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Clifford Stanley discusses his activities as a child

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Clifford Stanley discusses his experience in elementary school in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Clifford Stanley talks about the integration of schools in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Clifford Stanley talks about his favorite teachers in school and college and his elementary school in Washington, D.C.,

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Clifford Stanley talks about his interest in reading and his struggle with mathematics

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Clifford Stanley talks about his service activities as a child and his limited interest in television

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Clifford Stanley talks about his middle school in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Clifford Stanley talks about the Civil Rights Movement and his involvement in South Carolina State University

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Clifford Stanley talks about attending high school in Washington, D.C., and his family's interest in President John F. Kennedy

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Clifford Stanley talks about his service activities and African American members of the military

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Clifford Stanley talks about his involvement in junior ROTC in high school

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Clifford Stanley talks about his desire to become a lawyer while in high school, and the poor counseling that he received there

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Clifford Stanley describes his decision to attend South Carolina State University

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Clifford Stanley talks about the summer of 1965, before heading to college

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Clifford Stanley describes his experience at South Carolina State University as well as meeting his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Clifford Stanley describes his extracurricular activities and leadership positions at South Carolina State University

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Clifford Stanley discusses the South Carolina State Student Legislative Branch and the resignation of President B.C. Turner

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Clifford Stanley talks about the disciplinary standards at South Carolina State University

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Clifford Stanley reflects upon the Orangeburg Massacre of 1968, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Clifford Stanley reflects upon the Orangeburg Massacre of 1968, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Clifford Stanley talks about his stand during the Orangeburg Massacre

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Clifford Stanley talks about meeting the governor of South Carolina and Attorney Matthew Perry

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Clifford Stanley talks about majoring in psychology, and graduating from South Carolina State University

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Clifford Stanley talks about his brother's service in the Vietnam War, and joining the U.S. Marines

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Clifford Stanley talks about joining the U.S. Marine Corps and his training at Officer Candidate School

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Clifford Stanley talks about leadership standards for the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Clifford Stanley talks about becoming an infantry officer in the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Clifford Stanley talks about getting married in 1961, and reflects upon the Vietnam War

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Clifford Stanley reflects upon the wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Clifford Stanley talks about serving as an infantryman in the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Clifford Stanley reflects upon being an instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy in 1974

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Clifford Stanley reflects upon the war in Afghanistan and in Iraq

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Clifford Stanley describes his experience at the U.S. Naval Academy and talks about pursuing his master's degree at Johns Hopkins University

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Clifford Stanley discusses his experience and training at the Amphibious Warfare School

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Clifford Stanley discusses his philosophy of command

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Clifford Stanley discusses his assignment as the Infantry Company Commander, 3rd Marine Division, in Okinawa, Japan

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Clifford Stanley discusses his assignments as a ceremonial parade commander and a special assistant in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Clifford Stanley discusses his experience at Marine Corps Command and Staff College at Quantico, Virginia and talks about the Beirut bombing of 1983

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Clifford Stanley discusses his experience at Camp Lejune and Parris Island in the 1980s, and the challenges that he faced in the Marines

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Clifford Stanley talks about attending the National War College, and writing a paper on the fall of the Berlin War

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Clifford Stanley talks about his experience as a White House Fellow in the Reagan and Bush administrations in the late 1980s, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Clifford Stanley talks about his experience as a White House Fellow in the Reagan and Bush administrations in the late 1980s, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Clifford Stanley describes his service as advisor for POW/MIA Affairs and as assistant for Australia and New Zealand, Office of the Secretary of Defense

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Clifford Stanley talks about his service as head of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command Battle Assessment Team at Quantico and in the Gulf War

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Clifford Stanley describes his assignment and experience as Infantry Regimental Commander in the 1st Marine Division, at Camp Pendleton

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Clifford Stanley explains the Posse Comitatus Act

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Clifford Stanley discusses his appointment as a Fleet Marine Officer of USS Mount Whitney, and the challenges that he faced as an early-select colonel

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Clifford Stanley discusses the challenges and resistance he faced in the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Clifford Stanley talks about the USS Mount Whitney

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Clifford Stanley reflects upon the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy that was signed into law in 1993

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Clifford Stanley discusses his assignment as Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff, at the U.S. Marine Corps headquarters and as Director of Public Affairs

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Clifford Stanley discusses his service as Commanding General of the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms, California

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Clifford Stanley talks about the terrorist attack on the Pentagon on September 11, 2001

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Clifford Stanley discusses his retirement from the U.S. Marine Corps in 2002

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Clifford Stanley discusses his appointment as executive vice president of the University of Pennsylvania

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Clifford Stanley discusses his disappointing experience as the executive vice president of the University of Pennsylvania

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Clifford Stanley discusses the genesis of his doctoral dissertation

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Clifford Stanley discusses his experience as the president of Scholarship America

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Clifford Stanley describes his appointment as the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness in 2009

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Clifford Stanley describes his experience as the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Clifford Stanley discusses some of the problems that were faced by the Department of Defense when he became the Under Secretary of Defense

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Clifford Stanley talks about the closure of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Clifford Stanley reflects upon the circumstances surrounding his resignation as the Under Secretary of Defense in 2011

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Clifford Stanley reflects upon the being treated differently when making executive decisions in the U.S. Marine Corps and at the Pentagon

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Clifford Stanley discusses his involvement with the National Naval Officers Association

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Clifford Stanley talks about his involvement in the Baptist Church

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Clifford Stanley describes his activities after retiring as the Under Secretary of Defense.

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Clifford Stanley reflects upon his legacy as a U.S. Marine

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Clifford Stanley describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community today

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Clifford Stanley describes his hopes and concerns for U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 9 Story: 10 - Clifford Stanley reflects upon his career as a U.S. Marine

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Clifford Stanley talks about his daughter, Angela Stanley

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Clifford Stanley reflects upon his life's choices

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Clifford Stanley discusses his religious faith

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Clifford Stanley talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

7$6

DAStory

7$8

DATitle
Clifford Stanley discusses the challenges and resistance he faced in the U.S. Marine Corps
Clifford Stanley discusses his experience at Camp Lejune and Parris Island in the 1980s, and the challenges that he faced in the Marines
Transcript
So, I check into the USS Mount Whitney [Norfolk, Virginia, as a Fleet Marine Officer]. I was there, I wasn't there four months, and I was early selected for brigadier general. And that also hasn't happened since then. I think there were two or three of us. There might have been three. But anyway, it was a below zone select. And that was, I might have been the only one, I'm not sure. But anyway, to make a long story short, I think I was the only one. That also set the stage for a different set of expectations. And so, I'm now a pioneer, when I didn't want to be a pioneer. And so, life got pretty interesting after that. I'm now in a peer group, as I'm standing here with brand new brigadier generals who were much senior to me. They were, you know, they used to be much senior to me. They're no longer. That doesn't go over very well in the [U.S.] Marine Corps. And so, that's one of the things that I experienced right early on. And although I had no regrets about it--because I didn't select myself, the Marine Corps did. You fast forward--even though I know we're going to go back to some of this. I was not selected for major general the first time. That's transparent to a lot of folks. And I'm now back with my peers. But that's considered just about, you know, pass over. The subtleties, or not so subtle things, were that your record didn't change. But there are a lot of folks who said, okay we're going to make this right, you know. Because the people who selected me were people like this general that weighed in, and some other folks--these other older generals--who saw, who wanted, and who pushed. But I was closer now to a peer group who were a little bit senior--who didn't see, who didn't like, and who didn't support. And so, I ran into what I would call the block. And--$$So, every time you were helped up, there was--they made another group a little angrier.$$Oh yeah, oh yeah. And again, I mean if you had your (unclear), you'd rather just kind of be in the mix. Because I'm not trying to do anything. You're just trying to do your job and to serve. It's still altruistic, but that's not the way that's taken when someone's reaching in to do things. My peers at the other services--that happened, but they were advanced. I mean, you know, and they continued. They became four-stars. They became three-stars and things like that. But in the Marine Corps, after myself--me and Charlie Bolden [also a HistoryMaker] left. That's when things started opening up a little bit, because our move was within two, within a month of each other. Both of us were in the same position. Charlie goes down to NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Administration]. And both of us retired as two-stars. Both of us were continuing to be pioneers; both of us were reaching a certain point; and both of us, independent of each other, without collusion, said it's time. And we moved. And then things opened up a little bit. I've kind of gave you some narrative that wasn't where your question was, but--.$$Yeah, but that's important narrative though, nevertheless.$Alright, so, Camp Lejeune [North Carolina] in '84 [1984]. [Marine Corps recruit Depot] Parris Island [South Carolina] in '86 [1986]. So, you were at Camp Lejeune for two years.$$Uh huh.$$Alright.$$There's a lot in that story, though. This is--are you familiar with command screening at all? Heard of that? Most of the services, the [U.S.] Army's had it a lot longer than the [U.S.] Marine Corps had. But in order to become a commander, particularly at the lieutenant colonel level, most services--the [U.S.] Navy, the Army--now the Marine Corps, the [U.S.] Air Force--have a screening process that's held out of the local command. And they look at your records and your reputation and what you've done. And they say "Okay, here's a person. We're going to select you." And they have a board that convenes, not a statutory board, but a board. At that time, it was no command screening process in the Marine Corps. And so, selection of commanders was pretty much--it was parochial, pretty much. It was done by the local commander. "I want this person to be my commander." And there could be pros and cons, whatever way. And so, when I was at [Camp] Lejeune, I went in as a major, a senior major, XO [executive officer] of an infantry battalion. And that's a very critical time. Because right then, as I was selected for lieutenant colonel, the argument that some have made in my absence has been that I should have been afforded the opportunity to become an infantry battalion commander. I remember that. That was one of the things I said I wanted to do right from the very beginning. And I wasn't. And so, when I left Lejeune to follow my orders and go to Parris Island, South Carolina--General Glasgow, who was actually the division commander in Okinawa [Japan] the last time I was there--was then the CG, the commanding general of Parris Island, South Carolina Marine Corps Recruit Depot. I checked in, and General Glasgow was not very happy that I wasn't afforded the opportunity to command an infantry battalion. He said, "You should have been." And he said, "But we're going to right that. We're going to ensure that you command a battalion here." And so, he said, "You'll start out as the inspector until a battalion opens up, and then I want you to become our first Recruit Training Battalion Commander." Then I came out of the top level schools list. This is where the unusual stuff comes in. I was the only person out of all the lieutenant colonels there--there were quite a few who was selected for a top level school. And so, General Glasgow called me back in and said, "Some people aren't going to be happy about this, but I'm going to put you in command of the battalion immediately. So, prepare to take command, so that you can at least have this done before you go to school. And you will go to school, you should go to school. You've been selected for school." So, he did that. But when he did that, the regimental commander wasn't happy, but he couldn't do anything. The regimental commander was a colonel. I was a lieutenant colonel. So, the general puts me in command. I take command, the first time a black is now in charge of a command at Parris Island. It's a battalion. General Glasgow retires. At the retirement ceremony you know kind of what's coming. General Glasgow is retiring. General Hore (ph.), another general, he comes in and he's taking over. Colonel Ogle (ph.), as soon as the Chain of Command Ceremony is over, Glasgow leaves. I go to my office. The colonel comes over to my office, sits down, looks at me and says, "Your sugar daddy is gone. Your 'blank' belongs to me." And I'll never forget that. And I said, "Alright, Sir, I'm going to still serve. I'm going to do my job to the best of my ability." And that was it. And so, I went home and told my wife [Rosalyn H. Stanley]. I said, "I think my career is about shot here. I'm just going to go ahead and kind of (laughter)--." That was one of the times I said that. And to make a long story short, fortunately General Hore (ph) also kind of knew not only my record, but also my reputation. And he just sort of hovered, and didn't allow certain things to happen. And there were a group of colonels that were peers of the other colonel, who also knew me. One happened to be, had been stationed at the [U.S.] Naval Academy when I was up in that area. He also knew me. And so, they didn't allow it to happen. So, I was blessed. I was very fortunate. But it was close, in terms of--. And he didn't do me any favors, but he didn't kill me. And so, as a result--much like what Colin Powell said in his book if you've read it--you know, I got fortunate. Because I was fortunate because of just people watching out for me, you know. And those were white officers. You know, these were seniors, you know. But the bottom line was that there was still a lot of contention. Those things didn't go away over the years. In fact, they got harder the more senior I got. The junior--what I dealt with was as a junior officer, a lot of applause. Once I made major, things started getting a little heavy. And they got heavier, the more senior I got. You know, I can't say, you know, I'm--. But that's just kind of how it was.$$I guess it makes sense on some level.$$Uh huh, yeah. Yeah, so it got pretty heavy.$$But you did have people around you that--$$Oh, yeah.$$--that knew what you could do.$$Oh yeah, no question.$$Okay. So, now you're at Parris Island for, until 1987, right?$$Yeah, just a year.$$Okay.

Cdr. William Bundy

U.S. Navy Commander and Professor William F. Bundy was born on August 12, 1946 in Baltimore, Maryland to William C. Bundy and Paulyne L. Bundy. Bundy attended Henry Highland Garnet School and then Booker T. Washington Junior High School before graduating from Baltimore City College High School in 1964, after which he enlisted in the Navy. He then graduated from the University of Hawaii with his B.A. degree in liberal studies and technical journalism in 1973.

In 1964, Bundy reported to the U.S. Navy Receiving Station in Washington D.C., and then was assigned to Sonar Technician A and A1 School in Key West, Florida. Bundy was assigned overseas duty in USNS BOWDITCH where he served until 1966. He then completed submarine Cold War patrols in nuclear attack submarines on the USS STURGEON, USS RICHARD B RUSSELL and as a combat systems officer on the USS MEMPHIS. Bundy also completed Strategic Deterrent Patrols on the USS SAM HOUSTON GOLD as the assistant weapons officer, and as the navigator and operations officer on the USS LAFAYETTE BLUE. Bundy served ashore as a sonar instructor at the Naval Submarine Training Center at Pearl Harbor, and then went on to complete Officer Candidate School. In 1981, he was assigned to the Nuclear Operations Division at the U.S. Atlantic Command where he participated in directing and developing fleet ballistic missile operations.

In 1988, Bundy assumed command of USS BARBEL in Sasebo, Japan and conducted exercises in the Western Pacific as part of the Seventh Fleet and Submarine Group Seven. Bundy was assigned as Chief Staff Officer of Submarine Squadron Three in 1990. He also served as Director of the Naval Officer Candidate School in 1993. That same year, Bundy graduated from the U.S. Naval War College with his M.A. degree in national security and strategic studies. Bundy retired from active duty in 1994. Bundy was then appointed as Director of the Rhode Island State Department of Transportation and as a FleetBoston Financial vice president before returning to the U.S. Naval War College as an associate professor. In 2005, he earned his Ph.D. degree from Salve Regina University and was promoted to full professor at the U.S. Naval War College. He was also appointed as Director of the Vice Admiral Samuel L. Gravely, Jr. Naval Research Group.

Bundy’s military decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Meritorious Service Medal with a Gold Star, the Navy Commendation Medal with a Silver Star, and the Navy Achievement Medal with two Gold Stars. He is one of the Centennial Seven African American submarine skippers who served during the first one-hundred years of the Submarine Service. Bundy was recognized as the Black Engineer of the Year for Achievement in Government by U.S. Black Engineer and Information Technology magazine in 1993. In 1994, he received the U.S. Navy League Dalton L. Baugh Award for Inspirational Leadership, and, in 2010, Bundy was awarded the Navy Superior Civilian Service Award.

Bundy and his wife, Jeanne L. (Pacheco) Bundy, have two sons: Lieutenant Commander William F. Bundy, Jr. and Raymond M. Bundy. His daughter is Andrena M. Seawood.

William F. Bundy was interviewed by HistoryMakers on April 27, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.110

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/27/2013

Last Name

Bundy

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

F.

Occupation
Schools

Salve Regina University

U.S. Naval War College

University of Hawaii

Baltimore City College

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Weekends, need two weeks notice

First Name

William

Birth City, State, Country

Baltimore

HM ID

BUN04

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Any

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

None while a U.S. government employee - Travel and lodging expenses required

Favorite Season

Summer

Speaker Bureau Notes

Emergency #:
Jeannie Bundy - (401) 439-0708, (401) 578-9501

State

Maryland

Favorite Vacation Destination

Orlando, Florida

Favorite Quote

Knowledge and courage.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Rhode Island

Birth Date

8/12/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Providence

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Crab (Blue)

Short Description

Commander Cdr. William Bundy (1946 - ) , one of the “Centennial Seven” African American submarine skippers rose from the enlisted ranks to earn a commission and command a submarine, served as a leader in the submarine force and later became a professor at the U.S. Naval War College and director of the VADM Samuel L. Gravely Research Group.

Employment

Providence College School of Continuing Education

Salve Regina University

United States Naval War College

FleetBoston Financial

State of Rhode Island

Naval Education and Training Center

United States Army

United States Navy

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:18034,266:20773,382:38698,631:53338,808:59125,887:62270,937:82833,1187:83823,1199:86001,1233:94725,1310:95025,1315:99232,1369:110710,1539:121612,1726:124140,1773:125009,1785:125325,1790:125641,1795:158110,2184$0,0:4368,53:4942,61:5926,77:8796,116:13116,125:13668,132:14680,144:16806,157:17779,167:22010,184:25770,257:26250,264:26650,273:27770,291:30876,307:31644,317:32220,324:36713,385:37589,400:40290,427:41531,451:41823,456:42115,464:42407,469:42845,479:43137,484:52890,564:53740,571:54165,577:54590,583:63012,672:63532,677:64260,687:66548,705:67068,711:69668,752:77220,825:79236,852:79824,862:80580,872:82008,882:82512,889:82848,894:84864,928:89782,944:90420,960:93616,1008:94011,1014:94485,1021:95038,1030:107168,1147:109016,1183:111530,1198
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of William Bundy's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - William Bundy lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - William Bundy describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - William Bundy talks about his mother growing up in Stonewall and Long Island, New York, and his family's life in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - William Bundy describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - William Bundy talks about his first visit to his paternal hometown of Weems, Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - William Bundy talks about his father's growing up in Virginia, and his migration to Baltimore, Maryland, where his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - William Bundy talks about his father's and others' service in the U.S. Army in World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - William Bundy talks about his father's job as a construction worker

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - William Bundy talks about his mother, and his resemblance to her

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - William Bundy talks about his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - William Bundy describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - William Bundy talks about his first impressions of the U.S. Navy

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - William Bundy talks about his parents' divorce, and becoming involved with "The Cadets" while living in the projects in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - William Bundy describes his home, neighborhood and friends in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - William Bundy talks about his elementary school and junior high school in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - William Bundy talks about his teachers and his experience in music class

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - William Bundy talks about swimming at the YMCA and selling newspapers and soap to fund his membership and camp fees

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - William Bundy describes his decision to attend high school at Baltimore City College

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - William Bundy talks about playing football on his high school junior varsity and varsity teams

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - William Bundy talks about playing on the football and lacrosse teams in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - William Bundy talks about his relationship with his father after his parents divorced

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - William Bundy talks about joining the U.S. Navy's Sea Cadets in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - William Bundy talks about joining the U.S. Navy's Sea Cadets and becoming a seaman apprentice on the USS Darby after graduating from high school

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - William Bundy describes his experience on the USS Darby, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - William Bundy talks about becoming an E-3 seaman and explains the entry-level ranks in the U.S. armed forces

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - William Bundy describes his experience on the USS Darby, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - William Bundy talks about the mentors and guardians he had as a young seaman in the U.S. Navy

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - William Bundy talks about enlisting in the regular U.S. Navy in 1964

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - William Bundy talks about missing the bus to attend the March on Washington

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - William Bundy talks about his exposure to the Civil Rights Movement while growing up in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - William Bundy discusses the close-knit African American community while he was growing up in Baltimore

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - William Bundy talks about his assignment on the funeral formation for Admiral Claude Ricketts and attending sonar technician school

Tape: 3 Story: 14 - William Bundy talks about his assignment on Oceanographic Unit 1 on the USNS Bowditch

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - William Bundy talks about getting married while he was at Fleet Sonar School, and becoming a father in 1964

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - William Bundy talks about his experience in the Oceanographic Unit 1 on the USNS Bowditch in the Atlantic Ocean

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - William Bundy discusses his assignment to the U.S. Naval Facility in the Bahamas, and the opportunity to become a submarine sonar technician

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - William Bundy discusses his interest in submarine duty in the U.S. Navy

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - William Bundy talks about his assignment on the USS Sturgeon

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - William Bundy talks about his assignment to the Naval Submarine Training Center in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - William Bundy talks about his African American colleague on the USS Sturgeon

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - William Bundy talks about teaching at the Naval Submarine Training Center in Hawaii, earning his bachelor's degree, and becoming a chief petty officer

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - William Bundy talks about attending Officer Candidate School and becoming an unrestricted line officer in the U.S. Navy

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - William Bundy talks about his mentors in the U.S. Navy, and his life at the Naval Submarine Training Center

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - William Bundy talks about his assignment and mentor on the USS Sam Houston Gold Crew

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - William Bundy talks about his assignment to the USS Ohio, the USS Richard B. Russell and attending Submarine Officer Advanced Course

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - William Bundy talks about meeting his wife, and his assignment to the USS Memphis

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - William Bundy talks about the capabilities of the USS Memphis

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - William Bundy talks about serving on the USS Memphis from 1979 to 1981

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - William Bundy talks about meeting his extended family in Weems, Virginia

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - William Bundy talks about his assignment to nuclear missile operation systems on the staff of the commander of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - William Bundy talks about his assignment as the navigations and operations officer on the USS Lafayette

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - William Bundy talks about his experience as the executive officer of the USS Blueback, and author Richard Henrick's book, 'Crimson Tide'

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - William Bundy talks about his assignment as the submarine group plans officer for Submarine Group V and commanding officer of USS Barbel

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - William Bundy describes his experience as the commanding officer of USS Barbel

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - William Bundy talks about his assignment as Chief Staff Officer at Submarine Squadron III, the birth of his sons, and the U.S. Navy's diversity program

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - William Bundy talks about the National Naval Officers Association (NNOA) and his involvement in its diversity program

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - William Bundy talks about attending the U.S. Naval War College in 1992

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - William Bundy talks about receiving the Black Engineer of the Year Award in 1993

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - William Bundy talks about the U.S. Navy's Centennial Seven

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - William Bundy talks about his involvement in science and technology in the U.S. Navy

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - William Bundy talks about the African American four-star admirals in the U.S. Navy

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - William Bundy talks about his post-retirement employment and his decision to accept the position as the director of the Rhode Island Department of Transportation

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - William Bundy talks about his experience as the director of the Rhode Island Department of Transportation

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - William Bundy describes his experience at Fleet Financial Group, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - William Bundy describes his experience at Fleet Financial Group, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - William Bundy talks about his doctoral dissertation on leadership in complex technical organizations, at Salve Regina University

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - William Bundy talks about teaching leadership at Providence College

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - William Bundy talks about his experience as a professor at the U.S. Naval War College

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - William Bundy talks about the U.S. Naval War College and his role as a research professor there

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - William Bundy reflects upon race in America

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - William Bundy reflects upon race relations in the U.S. Navy

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - William Bundy talks about Admiral Arleigh Burke

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - William Bundy talks about the importance of STEM education and his efforts to encourage the same

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - William Bundy reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - William Bundy talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - William Bundy talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

4$10

DATitle
William Bundy discusses his interest in submarine duty in the U.S. Navy
William Bundy describes his experience as the commanding officer of USS Barbel
Transcript
Let me just ask this, now, this seems interesting. Now, is submarine duty coveted in the [U.S.] Navy?$$Yeah.$$I'm wondering 'cause I've seen like movies, the guys in the submarines, they seem like they're awful cramped in there.$$Well, it's not--it's, that's not a problem.$$And it's, they're down--can, they really can't even see outside either, you know.$$Yeah, we'll talk about that.$$Okay, so, I mean but, so what is the attraction of being on a submarine (unclear) (simultaneous)--$$It's the, in my mind, it's the best duty in the Navy.$$Okay.$$You work with some of the smartest people in the Navy. You imagine a submarine today and when I was going in the submarines back then, they were the most advanced warships that we had, all packaged in the, you know, in the, one pretty potent package. And this is toward the, you know, the--in the middle of the Cold War. And what we were doing then with our submarines has just been declassified to some degree. And so it's a pretty exciting duty. It's, it pays better. In those days, you got quite a bit more money for submarine pay because it was hazardous duty. And it was kind of what I wanted to go do--$$Okay--$$--and it's science and technology kind of stuff.$$Now, I remember in 1962, I believe it was, it was maybe a year before or around the same time as John F. Kennedy was assassinated, there was a case of a submarine 'cause we talked about it in--I was in sixth or seventh grade, eighth grade, something like that. And we talked about a submarine going too deep and collapsing on itself in the--$$Yeah, that was USS Thresher--$$Right. That's the one.$$That was on the 10th of April, 1963.$$Yes. (Unclear) (simultaneous)--$$And so we just commemorated that again. The submarine force learned a lot about that, from that case. And it really, later on, you know, it really proved to be very important in proving what we call sub-safe, submarine safety over the years. And so, yeah, that was Thresher that went down in '63 [1963].$$I raise just because, just to emphasize the point, this could be dangerous duty from a number of different--$$Oh, it is.$$--angles, yeah.$$Yeah, it is. Yeah--$$Okay. (Laughter)$Now, before we leave the [USS] Barbel, are there any stories about being the commander and what it's like?$$I think that the really interesting part is, you know, the people. I think that the enlisted people and the officers that you have working with you really make the difference in the ship. We had a number of things that could go wrong in the ship and it was the crew that you have to credit with, you know, overcoming those periods. And you face that in just about any ship that you're in, but Barbel was a thirty-year old submarine, and it was the crew that I think about most in being able to operate that ship. We went to Subic Bay [Philippines], we went to Hong Kong. We operated the ship going into, in and out of Sasebo [Japan] quite often. And that's, that was our home port. Jean [Bundy's wife] had the opportunity to be the, you know, the captain's wife, and really take care of the families when we were away. And, you know, submarine operations are not something that I can go into great detail with you about, but it was, it was a pretty, pretty exciting time for us. We operated well, I think, and we brought the ship back to Pearl Harbor [Hawaii] to be decommissioned.

Radm. Lillian Fishburne

U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Fishburne was born on March 25, 1949 in Patuxent River, Maryland. After graduating from Lincoln University (Pennsylvania) with her B.A. degree in 1971, Fishburne enrolled in the U.S. Navy Women’s Officers School in Newport, Rhode Island and was commissioned as an Ensign in 1973. Fishburne went on to receive her M.A. degree in management from Webster College in 1980 and her M.S. degree in telecommunications systems management from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in 1982. In addition, she is a 1993 graduate of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, in Washington, D.C.

Fishburne was first assigned as the personnel and legal officer at the the Naval Air Test Facility in Lakehurst, New Jersey. In 1974, she reported to the Recruiting District in Miami, Florida as a Navy officer programs recruiter where she worked until 1977. She then served as the officer-in-charge at the Naval Telecommunications Center in Great Lakes, Illinois. After graduating from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, Fishburne reported to the Command, Control, and Communications Directorate in the office of the Chief of Naval Operations where she served as the assistant head of the Joint Allied Command and Control Matters Branch. In 1984, she became an executive officer at the Naval Communication Station in Yokosuka, Japan before being named as the special projects officer for the Chief of Naval Operations in the Command, Control, and Communications Directorate.

In 1992, Fishburne was appointed as the commanding officer of the Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station in Key West, Florida; and, in 1993, she was assigned as the chief of the Command and Control Systems Support Division of the Command, Control, Communications, and Computers Systems Directorate of the Joint Staff at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Fishburne assumed command of the Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Eastern Pacific Station in Wahiawa, Hawaii in 1995, and then reported to the Space, Information Warfare, Command and Control Directorate, Chief of Naval Operations where she served as the director of the Information Transfer Division. On February 1, 1998, Fishburne was promoted to U.S. Navy Rear Admiral making her the first African American female to hold the rank of Rear Admiral in the U.S. Navy.

Fishburne’s decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, two Legion of Merit Medals, two Meritorious Service Medals, two Navy Commendation Medals, and two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals.

Rear Admiral Lillian E. Fishburne was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 28, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.082

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/28/2013

Last Name

Fishburne

Maker Category
Middle Name

E.

Occupation
Schools

William Harry Blount Elementary School

Rock Terrace Elementary School

Shih Lin

Julius West Junior High School

Richard Montgomery High School

Dickinson College

Lincoln University

Women Officers School

Webster College

Naval Postgraduate School

Industrial College of the Armed Forces

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Lillian

Birth City, State, Country

Patuxent River

HM ID

FIS04

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Maryland

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

There is a reason for everything.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

3/25/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Barbecue

Short Description

Rear admiral Radm. Lillian Fishburne (1949 - ) was the first African American female to hold the rank of Rear Admiral in the Navy.

Employment

Macy's

Chase Manhattan Bank

Naval Air Test Facility

Naval Telecommunications Center

United States Navy

Naval Communication Station

C4 Directorate

Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station

Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon

Favorite Color

Pink

Timing Pairs
0,0:3510,34:3774,39:4104,45:6084,77:6348,82:23882,239:24310,244:39980,396:45820,481:46140,487:47020,501:50220,556:50940,569:76210,794:98482,1065:112509,1172:140790,1380:141546,1389:149080,1409:160741,1529:161452,1539:161768,1544:163506,1576:163822,1581:167772,1654:178032,1863:192888,2011:210408,2235:212040,2266:212550,2272:212958,2277:213366,2282:214896,2293:217590,2303:236420,2585:258974,2714:259703,2724:267578,2813:268502,2840:270850,2853:273720,3091:301565,3198:302245,3207:304530,3229$0,0:2268,27:3339,39:7290,62:8190,75:8820,85:10800,112:11430,121:18365,290:22190,370:23125,385:31180,407:41964,454:45786,512:51242,609:68548,769:68932,774:75638,802:78526,847:83456,939:91892,1029:92576,1036:93944,1052:108951,1138:109456,1144:119506,1248:127287,1328:127682,1335:129973,1382:130526,1391:130842,1396:131474,1406:135610,1461:142640,1558:143100,1563:150836,1622:152768,1657:153524,1670:166980,1824:167700,1834:170100,1909:185110,2065:202330,2188:203870,2271:204290,2279:205200,2294:209290,2345
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Lillian Fishburne's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Lillian Fishburne lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Lillian Fishburne describes her mother's family background, pt.1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Lillian Fishburne describes her mother's family background, pt.2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Lillian Fishburne describes her father's family background, pt.1

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Lillian Fishburne describes her father's family background, pt.2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Lillian Fishburne talks about her father's service in the U.S. Navy

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Lillian Fishburne speaks about helping her father study for the E7 exam and how her parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Lillian Fishburne talks about her older brother and which parent's personality she takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Lillian Fishburne describes her earliest childhood memory and the sights, sound and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Lillian Fishburne describes her elementary school experience and move to Rockville, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Lillian Fishburne talks about her family's move to Taiwan, China

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Lillian Fishburne talks about her junior high school and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Lillian Fishburne talks about her junior high school and high school experience

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Lillian Fishburne discusses the role church played in her growing up, and her childhood interests and activities

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Lillian Fishburne talks about her career aspirations in high school and attending college

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Lillian Fishburne discusses her studies at Lincoln University

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Lillian Fishburne talks about her commencement at Lincoln University and spoken word artist, Gil Scott Heron

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Lillian Fishburne describes her job search after college

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Lillian Fishburne talks about joining the U.S. Navy

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Lillian Fishburne discusses her training in the Navy

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Lillian Fishburne comments on the treatment of minority women in the U.S. Navy

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Lillian Fishburne talks about black women officers in the U.S. Navy and her duties as an ensign

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Lillian Fishburne discusses her first assignment at the U.S. Naval Air Test Facility in Lakehurst, New Jersey

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Lillian Fishburne talks about her recruiting duties in Miami and work as a communications officer in Great Lakes Region

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Lillian Fishburne talks about her post graduate education and how she met her husband

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Lillian Fishburne talks about her telecommunications training, the birth of her daughter, and early FORTRAN computers

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Lillian Fishburne talks about her work for the Pentagon and in Japan

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Lillian Fishburne discusses the confidential nature of her work for the Pentagon

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Lillian Fishburne describes her work as Commanding Officer for Naval Computer and Telecommunications in Key West

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Lillian Fishburne talks about her work with the Joint Staff at the Pentagon

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Lillian Fishburne discusses her command of the Naval Computer Telecommunications Station in Hawaii

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Lillian Fishburne talks about being the U.S. Navy's first African American woman rear admiral

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Lillian Fishburne discusses the U.S. Navy's progress concerning race

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Lillian Fishburne describes some of the challenges for women in the U.S. Navy

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Lillian Fishburne discusses her family and her retirement from the U.S. Navy

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Lillian Fishburne discusses her and her mother's illness and her interest in helping children

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Lillian Fishburne talks about her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Lillian Fishburne reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Lillian Fishburne talks about her family, her philosophy on managing people and how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Lillian Fishburne describes her photos

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Lillian Fishburne discusses her first assignment at the U.S. Naval Air Test Facility in Lakehurst, New Jersey
Lillian Fishburne describes some of the challenges for women in the U.S. Navy
Transcript
All right, okay. So all right so your first assignment in, at the Naval Air Test Facility in Lakehurst. So you're, you're a personnel and legal officer. So, so what--tell us about it. How, how your first assignment went.$$It, it was a nice assignment for an ensign, really, really because I had to do a lot of things. We tested arresting gear and catapult gear, you know when you see on the carriers when they shoot the plane off of the carrier deck and when the plane lands, this, this wire, it traps this wire. Well that's, that's what we did. We tested those systems. So I got to--during down time when it wasn't very busy, the pilot would say hey, Elaine, you wanna go up for a ride? So I'd get to, to go up and do cat shots and arresting gear, you know, traps, as an ensign. But first of all I had to come to Pax River [Patuxent River, Maryland]. So they flew me in our little old prop plane, they flew me to Pax River and I got my seat check, this cord which permit--I, I go--that was the first time I'd been back to Pax River since I was there at that dispensary. And so when I got back, I got to you know, go on the, go on the, the airplane trips. So that, that was fun. The other part was that I was there when the Blue Angels crashed. You remember that crash in Lakehurst? The--traditionally when you know they visit a base, they do a, they do a flyover prior to landing. And so we were having a picnic after, after a baseball game I believe it was, and the command was having this. And so some of my shipmates were explaining the patterns and all that were, you know that they were flying and they explained the whole, whole tradition to me. And--$$Of the Blue Angels and the--what they--$$Yeah, about they're doing the flyover.$$And they're, they're like--for those who are watching this and don't understand, the Blue Angels are a special Navy group of--$$Acro--flight acrobatic team, yeah.$$Yeah, so flight, yeah acrobatic team.$$Right. Yeah, so you know they were explaining, that was the fleur-de-lis and they were explaining the different, the different patterns to me. And then one plane kind of--the wing kind of flipped up and got into another one and they said uh-oh. And we were some of the first to arrive at the, at the crash site even before the emergency people got there.$$So this, this is in, this is in--in '74 [1974] '75 [1975], '76, [1976]?$$I believe that was '74 [1974].$$Seventy-four [1974]. Okay I mean it, it can be checked out by anybody watching this, but just to--$$Yeah, '74 [1974].$$Seventy-four [1974], okay. That must have been a horr--well--$$Yeah, we went out to the crash site and once the, you know, we were looking for survivors and once the emergency personnel came there, they, you know, they made everybody leave and you know--when I got back to the base, you know actually the bottom, of, of, of, of my shoes were, they were just burned.$$So it was hot still?$$Yes.$$Now did everybody die in that crash? All, all the Blue Angels?$$No, not all of them.$$Okay, just a couple planes.$$The planes that crashed.$$Yeah, were the pilots well known there at the--$$I, I don't, I don't know if they were well known there.$$Okay. National tragedy, right?$$Yeah.$Okay, okay. Now what were some of the challenges I guess for women in the Navy, you know, as--that you've seen over the years? You're someone that, that kind of crashed through some barriers, you know you, you went through a couple, couple of ceilings to become a rear admiral. But, but what were some of the obstacles and maybe challenges for a woman in the, in the services as an officer in the Navy?$$Some of the, some of the challenges were for a while we were not permitted to, to, to serve on combatant vessels and not even commanding a vessel, combatant vessel. There are certain specialties that, that were not open to us. And so you know every time you take--you know there's a limit put on there as to what you can do, then that says hey, that decreases your chances for promotion. The numbers are not going to be there. The base number is, it's just not going to be there. So you know, you kind of look for, you kind of look for that niche. I found that niche in you know, communications where I could be "in direct support" of the operating forces. And you look at all the other things, you know, you know what have other people done? What's the background of those getting promoted? And, and, and you know, you, you got to work a plan and you also have to for me, I always wanted to have an option, you know. When I originally came in, I could sign up for three or four years. I signed up for three years because if I didn't like it, that fourth year would seem awfully long. So I sort of set a timeframe. I said okay, if I'm in five years, I'll shoot for twenty. But I always try to keep my options open that I could walk any time that I, that I was unhappy.$$Was there ever a time when you thought you might not, you know, you might want to--$$Yeah, there, there were times, of course. I, I preferred being out in the field, working out at the activities, you know, providing that operational support. I you know, I, I, I--if I had my druthers, I, I, I you know but headquarters has its, you know because then that gave me the big picture. But I just didn't like staff work. It wasn't my favorite. So there were times when I said I'm going, you know, it's time to pull the plug. And my husband said when it's time for you to quit or retire, you'll know it because you won't talk about it, you'll just do it.