Profiles of Bravery

Gen. Vincent K. Brooks

First African American West Point cadet brigade commander

General Brooks

General Vincent K. Brooks is the commanding general of U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC). The command postures and prepares the force for unified land operations, responds to threats, sustains and protects the force, and builds military relationships that develop partner defense capacity in order to contribute to a stable and secure U.S. Pacific Command area of responsibility.

Brooks graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1980. Brooks became the first African American cadet in the school's history to be named cadet brigade commander (the top-ranking cadet). In this position, which is somewhat like the president of a college class, he led more than 4,000 cadets during his senior year. Brooks then graduated first of his class.

During his 31 years as a commissioned officer, he served in command and staff positions in the United States; in Germany during the Cold War; in Korea; in Kosovo; and in the Middle East. His tours of duty with fighting units include the 82d Airborne Division as a lieutenant; the 1st Infantry Division (Forward) as a captain; the 1st Cavalry Division as a major and again as a brigadier general; the 2d Infantry Division as a lieutenant colonel; the Third Army Central (with duty in Headquarters, Coalition Joint Task Force - Kuwait) and the 3d Infantry Division (with duty in North Atlantic Treaty Organization-Kosovo Forces) as a colonel; Headquarters, United States Central Command; Headquarters, 1st Cavalry Division (with duty as Headquarters, Multi-National Division-Baghdad) and Headquarters, III Corps and Fort Hood as a brigadier general; and the 1st Infantry Division (with duty as Headquarters U.S. Division - South) as a major general.

General Brooks served at the national-level in the Pentagon. Within Headquarters, Department of the Army, he fulfilled staff duties as aide-de-camp to the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, and later as the Army's Chief of Public Affairs. Within The Joint Staff, he fulfilled duties as Deputy Director (J5) for Political-Military Affairs for the Western Hemisphere, and later as the Deputy Director (J5) for the War on Terrorism. Brooks previously commanded Third Army/US Army Central (ARCENT), the Army service component of the United States Central Command (CENTCOM).

General Brooks holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Military Academy; a Master of Military Art and Science from the School of Advanced Military Studies at the United States Army Command and General Staff College; and an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the New England School of Law in Boston. He also served as a National Security Fellow at the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government.

General Brooks is married. Both the general and his wife are from career military families.

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