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2010 Distinguished Graduate Award

LTG (R) Frederic J. Brown '56

For more than five decades, Lieutenant General Frederic J. Brown’s service to our nation -- as a leader, mentor, and visionary -- has consistently reflected the values in West Point’s motto:  Duty, Honor, Country.  A consummate soldier and scholar, he transformed his ideas into actions that have won him praise and gratitude from countless colleagues during his distinguished military career and his second career as a mentor and the author of numerous articles, research monographs, and books on topics that are germane and central to the maintenance of a strong national defense.  He was described by General Dave Petraeus as "one of those rare individuals who has the vision to see potential breakthroughs...that are not apparent to others" remarking also on "his extraordinary energy in driving complex projects to completion."

Following graduation as a Distinguished Cadet and commissioning into the Armor branch in 1956, he joined the 1/33 Armored Battalion in Germany.  His early service in this unit was followed by study at the Army Language School and the Armor School.  He then further prepared intellectually as an Olmsted Scholar at the University of Geneva, which awarded him a Masters Degree in Political Science in 1963 and a PhD in 1967.  From 1963 to 1966, he returned to his alma mater, where he taught in the Social Sciences Department as an Instructor and Assistant Professor.

His military professionalism and personal bravery were manifest during his two combat tours in Vietnam, which included an assignment as S3 of the 2/2nd Infantry and command of 1/4 Cavalry in the 1st Infantry Division.  In addition to the Combat Infantry Badge, Rick was awarded the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Legion of Merit, and a Bronze Star Medal for Valor.

Rick’s 32 years of superb active duty service and his contributions to our national security in critical Army and Joint assignments resulted in accomplishments that few others have achieved.  He served on the Army Staff, the Joint Staff, and the National Security Council Staff.  In 1973 he was appointed as Interim Deputy Chief of Staff for the President.  After this posting, he requested and was permitted to decline further assignments in Washington.  His well honed leadership abilities grounded his excellent performance in a series of critical assignments.  He served as G3 of the 1st Infantry Division and G1 of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).  He commanded the 1st (Tiger) Brigade, 2d Armored Division at Ft. Hood in 1975; he was the Assistant Division Commander of the 8th Infantry Division in Germany from 1978 to 1981; he served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Training of the Training & Doctrine Command at Ft. Monroe, Virginia, starting up the National Training Center from 1981 to 1982; from 1983 to 1986, he was the longest serving Commander of The Armor Center, Ft. Knox, since World War II; and finally, he was the Commanding General of the Fourth United States Army from 1986 to 1989.

Former Secretary of the Army Tom White credits General Brown with having such an effect on modernizing armored units while Chief of Armor and Cavalry that he was literally the architect of the magnificent mounted force that fought and won Desert Storm.

Since his retirement from the Army in 1989, he has continued to build on his well-deserved reputation for professional excellence, serving as a catalyst and agent of change with such fundamental visions brought to execution as Army Knowledge Management -- the Battle Command Knowledge System, Battle Management Systems -- data linking combat vehicles and military applications of virtual simulation -- Close Combat Tactical Trainer.  At the same time, he has mentored many of those who lead our Army and joint forces today when they were young leaders preparing their units at the national training centers.

In recent years, he has continued to pursue his interest in training as a developer of advanced training systems and applications of the Information Revolution across multiple Army areas with the federally-funded Institute of Defense Analyses.  He produced a video entitled “All We Could Be,” which told the Army story of rebuilding following the Vietnam War and displayed what the Army had become with its Desert Storm success.  The video was a culminating summary of his three books addressing requirements of the “Army in Transition” written post Vietnam in 1973, post Cold War in 1993, and after 9/11 in 2008.

In short, Rick Brown has had a positive impact, both in and out of uniform, on the military vitality of the nation that few can match.  A thinker and doer with enormous energy and drive, he is a truly extraordinary member of the Long Gray Line.

Accordingly, the West Point Association of Graduates of the United States Military Academy takes great pride in presenting the 2010 Distinguished Graduate Award to Frederic Joseph Brown.