Another Article on Brig. General Brooks
Before I head off to the SPA, just wanted to post link to another article written by reporter for Sacramento Bee about Army Brig. Gen. Vince Brooks. If nothing else, you have to check out link so you can see high school picture of the General. As with a fine wine, he
gets looks better with age. I’ve posted a copy of this picture to original post about the General which still continues to get many hits.
Excerpt: Brooks comes from a family of generals. He is a one-star general, as is his brother, Gen. Leo Brooks Jr., commandant of the cadets at West Point. And their father, the former commander of the Sacramento Army Depot, was a two-star general at retirement.
[Edit 8:40pm] To the left is another picture of General Brooks wearing “I Love New York” t-shirt sent to him by Governor Pataki.
Jesuit grad presides over press in Qatar
By Bill Lindelof — Bee Staff Writer
Last Updated 7:27 a.m. PST Tuesday, April 1, 2003
Army Brig. Gen. Vince Brooks, deputy director of operations at Central Command’s headquarters in Qatar, has come a long way from when he was a team-oriented forward for the Jesuit Marauders basketball team.
He’s the point man in Doha, Qatar, for the U.S.-led military’s conduct of the war, taking center stage as Centcom’s daily spokesman for news briefings televised live on Fox, MSNBC and CNN.
Brooks comes from a family of generals. He is a one-star general, as is his brother, Gen. Leo Brooks Jr., commandant of the cadets at West Point. And their father, the former commander of the Sacramento Army Depot, was a two-star general at retirement.
Vince Brooks was also the first African American brigade commander at the military academy.
“They like stars,” the Rev. Edward Callanan, former principal of Jesuit High School, said of the Brooks family.
Vince Brooks, 44, has been described by the nation’s press as “telegenic” or “tall and steady” or “that smart-looking general.”
He’s the spokesman telling the assembled press that the Iraqi leadership of President Saddam Hussein has “shown its true colors” by disregarding international rules of warfare.
And, in the course of his duties, he has also taken flak from the press in Qatar who say he is not providing enough detail about the war.
“He has maintained his composure,” said his brother, Leo. “He does not allow a rogue question others might think is overly aggressive or negative (to) get to him.”
Leo Brooks said his brother also recognizes that the reporters are doing their job.
In an interview from West Point, Leo Brooks, 45, said much of what made the Brooks brothers such high achievers can be credited to Jesuit High training.
He said Jesuit provided the discipline that helped both young men become cadets at West Point.
“The people at Jesuit have very high standards,” he said. “That high school was fundamentally a big part of helping prepare us to do what we were able to do at the academy.”
Leo was a tailback and linebacker on the football team, while Vince played basketball. Both were on the track team.
Leo graduated in 1975 and Vince in 1976.
Through a military spokesman in Qatar, Gen. Vince Brooks declined a request for an interview, saying he wanted to keep the focus of any articles on the troops.
Brooks’ quotation below his pictures in the Jesuit senior yearbook sounds like a personal motto:
“Determination determines success. He who progresses announces to his impediments, ‘Pardon me, sirs, I’m coming through.’ ”
Brooks was also known as a hard worker at West Point, where he graduated first in his class in military discipline.
But he had a sense of humor, too, according to John Chory, a former classmate who is now a Boston attorney. “He would not get all wrapped up in things,” Chory said.
After graduation in 1980, Brooks eventually landed at Fort Stewart, Ga., where he served as 1st Brigade commander in the 3rd Infantry Division.
He later commanded the Third Army in Kuwait, led 3,000 troops on a peacekeeping mission in Kosovo, Yugoslavia, where he worked with the 101st Airborne Division, and graduated from the U.S. Army War College in 1999.
In June 2002, Brooks was nominated for general; he was confirmed by the Senate later that year.
Back in Sacramento, Brooks is a hometown hero.
Callanan, the Jesuit High principal during Brooks’ freshman and sophomore years, recalled the moment when he spied the Jesuit grad on television.
“I was half-asleep when I turned on the TV,” he said. “I’m looking at him and thinking he looks familiar.”
When Brooks was introduced by Gen. Tommy Franks, the overall commander of coalition forces, a light came on.
“I immediately knew that was our Vince,” said Callanan, who remembered Brooks as a fine student and caring person. “He never looked down on a freshman. He was alert to the other guy — that makes a mighty good military officer.”
Classmates said Brooks was a leader and a team player on the basketball court.
Seattle resident Bill Bredy, who still exchanges Christmas cards with his old friend, played alongside the 6-foot, 5-inch Brooks on the basketball team. Brooks’ success does not surprise Bredy.
“This is a great challenge for him now,” said Bredy. “But I have no doubt that he will get through it with flying colors.”
Sacramento graphic designer Mike Miller, another Jesuit alumnus, said Brooks was confident, intelligent, a great athlete, personable and fun-loving: “He was definitely a good guy.”
Jesuit alumni director Chris Little, a freshman when Brooks was a big man on campus, said both brothers are providing a service to others, a school emphasis.
“Here are two brothers who embody a life of service to their country,” he said. “Of course, we are proud of all alumni, whether they are helping the homeless downtown or performing other service.”
He said the Brooks brothers were pioneers, because they were among the first African American students to attend the all-boys school.
Leo Brooks said there were only four African Americans when he and Vince were attending the Carmichael school.
“I never experienced any kinds of prejudice,” he said. “I was loved and incorporated into that high school.”
He explained the Brooks penchant for becoming Army generals this way: “Our parents instilled in us the values and discipline with the line of work we have gone into.”
The brothers’ mother, Naomi, was a teacher, instilling in her children compassion and a love of education. Leo Brooks said that his sister, Marquita Brooks, a lawyer, is the smartest sibling.
“My parents told us not to accept the notion that there is a glass ceiling,” he said. “You can achieve your goals if you apply yourself. If the opportunity is presented, prove that you are not ‘as good’ as someone else, but better.”
While his father would laud a report card with four As and two Bs, he would also ask: “Why did you get the two B’s? What can we do to pull those up to A’s?”
He thinks his brother is doing great in the briefings.
“I love him as a brother, but I respect him as a military professional,” said Leo Brooks. “General Franks has entrusted confidence in him representing his command to the world.”
But some, such as a reporter from New York Magazine, wondered last week why reporters were not being briefed more by senior-most officers.
“So I guess my question is, ‘Why should we stay?’ What’s the value to us for what we learn at this million-dollar press center?” asked writer Michael Wolff.
Some of the assembled journalists applauded those comments. Brooks, known for his sense of humor while at Jesuit, responded with a quip:
“I’ve gotten applause already,” he said. “That’s wonderful. I appreciate that.”
In a follow-up question, a reporter asked if Franks could brief reporters on a more consistent basis.
Brooks’ answer was pointed:
“He’s more than willing to come and talk to you at the right time. But he’s fighting a war right now. And he has me to do this for him.”