April 9, 2003 in Iraq War

Who is Brigadier General Vincent Brooks?

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Below is another great article written about General Brooks published by Africana.
Who is Brigadier General Vincent Brooks?
“We are role models to a lot of young people, not just African Americans and soldiers,” Brooks says. “People can see the achievement and how hard work leads to it.”
By Tanu T. Henry
Delivered with a cool that’s more Hollywood than Pentagon, Brigadier General Vincent Brooks’ daily briefings — telecast worldwide from the US Central Command outpost in Qatar — have brought instant celebrity status to the handsome military spokesman. Tall, confident, witty and articulate, Brooks, 44, distills the coalition’s progress, setbacks, strategy and vision in a sober tone. He’s one of the most trustable faces of Operation Iraqi Freedom (given the competition, perhaps that’s not a difficult designation to win).
But Brooks’ sudden wartime high profile symbolizes much more than the Army’s much-touted diversity, though it’s nice to see his face there, reminding us that African Americans served and thrived throughout the branches of the US military long before the country’s private and public sectors caught up. And Brooks’ above-par record of academic achievement matched by his professional success challenge the notion that his selection might be the strategic plucking of an amiable black figure to ease the digestion of a controversial military mission to a global public already suspicious of the war’s racial undercurrent. Throw in the fact that his father, Leo Brooks, is a retired US Army Brigadier General, and that his brother, Brigadier General Leo Brooks, Jr., serves as a commandant of cadets at West Point, and it’s easy to see that Vincent Brooks is used to representing more than just himself.
The Brooks present an enviable family tradition, the rare instance of two brothers serving as generals in the army at the same time. And for African Americans, theirs is a profoundly uncommon example of three generals hailing from the same family.
Standing at a podium, translating dispatches from the Joints Chiefs of Staff to roomfuls of reporters — and their audiences beyond — is a new duty for Brooks. He earned his general’s star in 2002, the youngest nominee that year. It was just the next step in an already meteoric career. Brooks was the first black brigade commander (the top-ranking cadet) during his undergraduate years at West Point, from which he graduated in 1980. Brooks later earned a Master’s Degree from the school of Advanced Studies at the US Army’s Command and General Staff College. A National Security fellowship at Harvard followed. His military assignments have carried him to almost every corner of the globe: Panama, Europe, Korea, Kosovo and the Middle East.
Growing up in a military household, the decision to be a soldier seems natural. But more than just trailing into an established family tradition, Brooks showed his zeal for armed service early on. In an interview with The Augusta Chronicle (Georgia), Leo Brooks said he knew Vincent was bitten by the army bug and bound to follow his footsteps when a very young Vincent donned his older brother’s military academy uniform during one of Leo, Jr.’s visits home from West Point. “That night when we went to bed I said I thought he was hooked,” he remembers.
In spite of hard-earned distinctions, and a reputation for being a hard-nosed, no-nonsense leader, Brooks displays an amazingly humble side. He’s known to credit people close to him for his many successes, although he never downplays the merits of his own discipline and determination. “We are role models to a lot of young people, not just African Americans and soldiers,” he told reporters last year. “People can see the achievement and how hard work leads to it.”
First published: April 9, 2003
About the Author
Tanu T. Henry is a staff writer at Africana.


  1. April 19, 2004 at 12:56 am

    Jim Brown

    I watched General brooks briefing during the Iraqi conflict. I found hin to be one of the Army’s upcoming fine mind-a credit to his race and the military. Where is he today?

  2. March 19, 2004 at 5:33 am

    Lis Laustsen

    Where is general Vincent Brooks to-day ?
    Lis Laustsen,
    Copenhagen – Denmark.

  3. March 7, 2004 at 9:43 pm

    Kasey Witherspoon

    Would anyone happen to know any organization that Brooks is involved in or takes a special interest in outside of the military?
    Any information would be helpful.

  4. October 20, 2003 at 11:34 am

    Beverly Wilson

    This is a good way for me to compliment General Brooks and his many accomplishments,I hope he keeps climbing the ladder. I watched him every day on CNN,mind you it was pretty early in my part of the country but I enjoyed his presentation and his quick and well thought out answers to the press. I live in northern Ontario Canada but, my heart and relatives are all in the U.S.A.,some in the military.Thanks for letting me voice my opinion, Beverly Wilson, Elliot Lake, Ontario Canada.

  5. October 11, 2003 at 12:47 am

    Melvin Loh

    Hey, I’m a guy posting from Australia, and I saw Brig-Gen Vincent Brooks on CNN every day during the course of IRAQI FREEDOM. Thanks for providing such an excellent biography on such an interesting and important figure, esp. such a high-ranking and prominent African-American military leader. I hope he’ll follow in Colin Powell’s footsteps, and provide another example for all other ppl, of all backgrounds including African-American, to be inspired by.

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