Vincent Brooks was born in October 1958, in Anchorage, Alaska, to Leo Brooks Sr., an Army officer with 30 years of military experience, and Naomi Lewis Brooks, a schoolteacher. Brooks graduated from Jesuit High School in California and showed excellence in both academics and athletics. This led him to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York.
Brooks became the first African American to receive the historic honor of cadet brigade commander, or “First Captain,” in the U.S. Corps of Cadets. He earned this during his senior year at West Point. Brooks graduated with a bachelor of science in engineering in 1980.
Brooks served for 33 years as a commissioned officer in the United States Army. His tours of duty with fighting units include the 82nd Airborne Division as a lieutenant; 1st Infantry Division as a captain; 1st Cavalry Division as a major and brigadier general; 2nd Infantry Division as a lieutenant colonel; Third Army Central (with duty in Headquarters, Coalition Joint Task Force Kuwait) and 3rd Infantry Division (with duty in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization-Kosovo Forces) as a colonel; Headquarters; United States Central Command; and as commanding general of Third United States Army/US Army Central (ARCENT).
Brooks served at the national level in the Pentagon within Headquarters, Department of the Army, where 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. He has also served on the Joint Staff as deputy director for political-military affairs for the Western Hemisphere and, later, as the deputy director for the War on Terrorism. Brooks was also commander of Combined Forces Command, United Nations Command and United States Forces Korea.
On top of his military achievements, Brooks holds an honorary doctorate from the New England School of Law in Boston. Brooks also served as a national security fellow at the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Brooks is married to his wife of 30 years, Dr. Carol P. Brooks, an educator and physical therapist. Brooks and his wife reside in Austin, Texas.
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