Posts Tagged With: Coast Guard

The Case of CDR Benjamin Strickland, A Book Review and an Author’s Response

LT Fredd Milbry, USCG (Ret.) Wrote:

I reviewed the recently published book “The Case of CDR Benjamin Strickland (Unrestricted Coast Guard Chronicles (UCGC) Book 1)” written by our own retired Honorable Judge London Steverson.

First and foremost buy this book! Why you say, because if you’ve done anything righteous in life, there should be no problem explaining to whoever inquires, what was your rationale behind your actions and most importantly you should be recognized for doing what’s Right. The very essence of that statement is the basis of this book in my opinion.

As a retired CG Officer and former Enlisted man with over 20 years service experience in personnel matters, assignments, counseling, investigating various complaints/offenses of the UCMJ, etc. at different levels and assignments, I feel very confident to critique these matters. It was drilled into our heads that the leadership from the top sets the tone and in this case it seems the leadership was either grossly lacking; some subordinate(s) chose to dictate the scenario without being challenged or the Leadership was duped into believing and subsequently supporting another story. Race was not an issue.

All officers concerned were Caucasian and of the same race and sex. So Racial bias was not a factor in this situation. Which still leaves a bad taste in my mouth because simply put, right is right and wrong is wrong. And there were some wrongs done without ramifications to the doers, although the one right thing was met as though it was the wrong. A once rising career was dispensed as though the time spent cultivating it was not valued in the least.

A riveting story that will have you questioning how, when, who and ultimately why certain things took place with Commander Strickland’s career. The Author (the retired Honorable Judge London Steverson) will guide you through the maze of incidents so that you will be able to formulate some opinions and conclusions based on the facts at hand. Several things concern me with the entire narrative, one of which, is that as a retired Coast Guard officer I have to question since this type of treatment could be so easily done to any member in today’s Coast Guard with a career resume’ that is nothing short of spectacular. If in fact it could happen to CDR Strickland, it could happen to a member with far less superlative credentials/accolades, or time in service or rank, but who is still very important and dedicated to the organization.

You will have a good idea and a look into the organizational framework with regards to following and executing orders by senior leadership and the possible ramifications of doing the right thing but nonetheless, something altogether different happening with the outcome of those actions taken. You will have enough information to decide whether an injustice did take place considering the old axiom, there are two sides to every story. Well the jury is still out with the possibility of never shedding true light on the opposite story. That could counter the story written in this book. But one thing is definite, a brilliant career was stopped dead in its tracks and a military family was rewarded with a questionable exit from a organization they had sacrificed and dedicated their lives for. This is not representative of the organization I served. It is up to you, the reader to draw your own conclusions of the events based on the information in this very well written story.

The Author responds:

To: LT Fredd Milbry, USCG (Ret.) 

You are truly a member in good standing of the “Long Blue Line” of retired Coast Guard Officers. It is obvious how much you love the Coast Guard.

And you are a moral person who still holds sacred the “core values” we were taught as officers; duty, honor, honesty, truth, loyalty, respect, obedience to your oath of office and support for higher authority; follow the chain of command.

All of this is apparent in your review of The Case of CDR Benjamin Strickland.

You are a leader; you started the Facebook Page Black Coast Guard Chronicles. You see things first and are frequently on the cutting edge of hot social and professional issues. This is all the more reason I am touched by your insights into The Strickland Case and the book outlining it.

You are middle America; you are the Coast Guard’s moral majority; you are the voice of our conscience.

When you speak people listen. And I hear you. It was for such an awareness as yours that the book was written. It was to highlight such gross arbitrary and capricious divergence from good order and proper procedure that the book was written.

When the most senior officers in the CG can completely disregard morality and sacrifice a decorated officer and his innocent family for no rational reason, it makes me shudder for the security of my fellow officers in the lower ranks and I fear for the future of our Coast Guard.

Is this behavior typical of the entire senior officer corps? I hope not.

Can this type of thing happen again? I pray not.

How did it happen this once? I fear there is no single answer.

What is clear is that a great wrong has been done! One of the best and the brightest of the fair haired boys has been sacrificed on an altar of arrogance, deceit, malice.

And why? All for doing his job; and doing it by the book; all for reporting a case of sexual assault in an Area (the Pacific Area) where no one wanted to rock the boat at a time when the next Commandant was being chosen.

And any whiff of a scandal, and any wide scale investigation might jeopardize the desired decision making. And so this case had to go away; and, anyone pushing it had to be silenced, even if it meant sacrificing his entire family.

This is a story that had to be told. Your review of the facts in the book makes that abundantly clear. Thank you my fellow retired Coast Guard Officer.

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The case For CDR Benjamin Strickland

Benjamin F. Strickland II

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Benjamin F. Strickland II
CDR Benjamin F. Strickland II, USCG.png
Born November 20, 1972 (age 42)

Seattle, Washington, U.S.

Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Coast Guard  United States Navy
Years of service 1991–1995
Rank Commander
Commands held USCGC Roanoke Island (WPB-1346)
Battles/wars Operation Southern Watch

Global War on Terrorism

Operation Enduring Freedom

Deepwater Horizon oil spill

Awards USCGCO.jpg Cutterman Insignia

Surface Warfare Officer Insignia.png Surface warfare insignia

USNR Qualification Pin.jpg Merchant Marine Reserve Insignia

USCGCAFLT.jpg Command at Sea insignia

Coast Guard Commendation Medal

Navy and Marine Corps Commendation ribbon.svg Navy Commendation Medal

Coast Guard Achievement Medal

Navy and Marine Corps Achievement ribbon.svg Navy Achievement Medal

Spouse(s) Candice Lynn Osgood
Other work National Security Specialist at Maritime Administration

Benjamin F. Strickland II, is a retired U.S. Coast Guard Commander (CDR) and whistleblower advocate who alleged illegal retaliation from his Coast Guard Pacific Area chain-of-command in violation of the Military Whistleblower Protection Act in response to his lawfully protected communications.[1]

On May 23, 2013 CDR Strickland was serving as Acting Commanding Officer onboard USCGC Munro (WHEC-724) homeported in Kodiak, Alaska when he made an unrestricted reported regarding a sexual assault alleged to have been committed upon a MUNRO crewmember. CDR Strickland reported the sexual assault allegations immediately to his immediate superior in Command, then VADM Paul Zukunft and requested an investigation by the Coast Guard Investigative Service (CGIS), participated as a witness in the investigations which stemmed from his report, and later expressed his belief of waste, abuse of authority and gross mismanagement by CGIS and senior Coast Guard management officials. After his whistleblowing activity and complaint that CGIS was abusing it’s authority and not properly investigating the sexual assault, CDR Strickland became the target of the very investigations which stemmed from his report and was subsequently subjected to multiple acts of retaliation. CDR Strickland was removed from his primary duties, received a derogatory Officer Evaluation Report (OER), and placed in a billet not commensurate with his paygrade as a senior officer.[2] CDR Strickland subsequently filed a whistleblower retaliation complaint with the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (OIG) which was accepted for investigation.[3]


Early life and education

CDR Strickland was born in 1972 and is a native of Seattle, Washington. He graduated from Maine Maritime Academy in 1995 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Nautical Science. He attended the U.S. Naval War College in 2009 graduating with a Masters of Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies.[4]He is a graduate of the Maritime Advanced Warfighting School (MAWS) and is a qualified Joint Operational Planner.[5]


U.S. Navy

Having enlisted in the United States Navy Reserve in 1992, upon graduation from Maine Maritime Academy in 1995 CDR Strickland was honorably discharged to accept a commission as an Ensign and went on to serve three years active duty in the regular Navy. His initial assignment at sea was in USS Hopper (DDG-70) at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii where he completed initial warfare qualifications while serving as Electronic Warfare Officer, and later First Lieutenant.

U.S. Coast Guard

In 1998, CDR Strickland transferred to the Coast Guard where he was assigned to Marine Safety Office Puget Sound in Seattle, Washington. There he qualified as a Senior Marine Inspector, enforcing US and International maritime regulations and safety standards for foreign and domestic vessels. He also served as the unit Special Interest Vessel (SIV) Officer, supervising the tracking and reporting of high-interest shipping for national intelligence agencies. In 2000 he returned to sea duty as Weapons Officer in USCGC Sherman (WHEC-720) at Alameda, California, completing patrols in the Bering Sea and Eastern Pacific. SHERMAN also deployed to the Arabian Gulf, serving as Surface Action Group (SAG) Commander for Middle East Force 01-1 and Maritime Interdiction Operations Coordinator (XJ) for the HARRY S. TRUMAN Battlegroup. In theatre as a Tactical Action Officer (TAO), CDR Strickland coordinated maritime enforcement of UN sanctions against Iraq and air surveillance operations in support of Operation SOUTHERN WATCH. Upon OUTCHOP from FIFTH Fleet, SHERMAN transited home to Alameda via circumnavigation of the world.

In 2002, CDR Strickland was assigned as Coast Guard Liaison Officer at Afloat Training Group Pacific Northwest in Everett, Washington. There he qualified as an Afloat Training Specialist, managing the training, assessment and certification for three different classes of cutters as the Pacific Area Commander’s direct representative. From 2004 to 2006, he served as Operations Officer in USCGC Midgett (WHEC-726) at Seattle, Washington, coordinating Homeland Security, Search and Rescue, Fisheries and Counter-Drug missions throughout the Pacific in support of Operations NOBLE EAGLE, ARCTIC SAFEGUARD, BERING SHIELD and CAPER FOCUS. CDR Strickland commanded USCGC Roanoke Island (WPB-1346) (WPB-1346) at Homer, Alaska from 2006 to 2008[6] before attending the College of Command and Staff and Maritime Advanced Warfighting School at Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. CDR Strickland then performed a three month operational warfare assignment comprising contingency, adaptive and collaborative planning in the development of a formal Concept Plan (CONPLAN) for U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.

From 2009 to 2011, he was assigned as a Strategic Planner in the Office of Defense Operations (CG-532) at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, DC where he executed responsibility for Coast Guard input into National Defense strategy documents, plans and policy, coordination of service chief-level staff talks, resourcing of Joint Staff global force management requests, and also served as the Desk Officer for all U.S. European Command and U.S. Africa Command issues. CDR Strickland returned to sea as Operations Officer in USCGC Stratton (WMSL-752) at Alameda, California from July 2011 to June 2012 before assuming duties as Executive Officer in USCGC Munro (WHEC-724)) in July 2012.[7] In 2014 he was reassigned to Coast Guard Headquarters as the Support Division Chief in the Office of Counterterrorism and Defense Operations (CG-ODO-3). He retired from active duty in 2015.[8]

U.S. Maritime Administration

In July 2015, CDR Strickland accepted a position at the Maritime Administration as a National Security Specialist.

Awards and decorations

Operational Distinguishing Device.png Award star (gold).pngAward star (gold).png Ribbon of the NMCCM Operational Distinguishing Device.png Award star (gold).pngAward star (gold).png
Ribbon of the NMCAM Operational Distinguishing Device.png Award star (gold).png

Gold star

Gold star

Operational Distinguishing Device.png Award-star-silver-3d.png

Bronze star

Bronze star

Bronze star

Bronze star

Bronze star

Bronze star

Bronze star

Surface Warfare Officer Insignia.png
USNR Qualification Pin.jpg




  1. “CDR B. F. Strickland II, USCG (retired)”. United States Coast Guard. Retrieved 14 July 2014.

Category:1972 births Category:Living people Category:Naval War College alumni Category:People from Seattle, Washington



Categories: Coast Guard Cases | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Case of CDR Benjamin Strickland

General David Petraeus, a 4-star general with over 37 years in the military, was the most senior officer to be prosecuted during the politically correct era. He was just one of many distinguished senior officers to be purged from all branches of the military services during that period. Commander Benjamin Strickland, U S Coast Guard was caught in this web of insanity.  This is a purge.

Consider the Case of CDR Benjamin Strickland.

To this day the list continues to grow.The Unrestricted Coast Guard Chronicles (UCGC) are a series of bio epics of interesting and sometimes strange events in the lives of Coast Guard personnel. This is the Case of CDR Benjamin Strickland.

This is a must read for all right thinking Americans, and people of goodwill everywhere.

Sales of NEW BOOK began July 7, 2015. Send check or money order for $27.00, includes shipping and handling to: Steverson Books, Box 606, Haymarket, VA. 20168.

Get the full story. The Case of Commander Benjamin Strickland, 114 pages. All pictures are full color. Many distinguished senior officers are being purged from all branches of the military services. To this day the list continues to grow.

On June 26, 2015 Commander Benjamin F. Strickland departed on Terminal Leave pending retirement from the U. S. Coast Guard. This Unrestricted Coast Guard Chronicle (Volume 01, Number 01) was designed to coincide with that date. 

He will not be forgotten. His name will live on in the Chronicles of Coast Guard History. His story will forever be told around the Forecastle, at the camp fires, and in the restaurants and bars where retired service members gather to reminisce about life in the Nation’s oldest continuous seagoing armed force, the U. S. Coast Guard.

His brilliant and distinguished career was brought to an abrupt halt for no explicable or rational reason, except that he did his job as he was required to do it. In doing so he became a victim.

No good deed goes unpunished. This means that life is unfair and people can do or try to do good things and still end up in a lot of trouble. Bad things happen to good people.  

Terrible and unexpected things happened to CDR Strickland.

. Power was misused; discretion was abused; authority was exceeded; rights were trampled; resources were mismanaged; and, our posterity has been neglected.

We are at the mercy of the powers that be, and they appear to be devoid of all mercy. Heaven help us; and, God Bless America.

Categories: Coast Guard Cases | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Coast Guard Headquarters Building To Be Named The Manson Brown Building

New Coast Guard Headquarters, Almost Heaven, Will Be The Manson Brown Building.


The New Coast Guard Headquarters is Striking, Surprising, and Sustainable.


The new, state-of-the-art U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters on the site of historic St. Elizabeths Hospital is a dream come true. The U S Coast Guard has finally found itself a home worthy of its own lofty opinion of itself. It is not Heaven, but it is as close as one could possibly hope to get in this world. The Building does not yet have a name worthy of the traditions of the United States Coast Guard. I submit that the building will be named the Manson Brown Building. That would be all together fitting and proper.



(Manson K. Brown is now the Assistant Secretary for Environmental Observation and Prediction, Department of Commerce)

Vice Admiral Manson K. Brown, has been confirmed as the  Assistant Secretary for Environmental Observation and Prediction, Department of Commerce.

VADM Brown is responsible for providing policy direction for NOAA’s satellite, space weather, water, and ocean observations and forecast programs.

VADM Brown retired from the Coast Guard in May as the highest-ranking Black officer in the service’s history.

As assistant secretary, Brown reports to NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan, who received Senate confirmation in March following a year long stint as both NOAA’s acting administrator and associate administrator for environmental observation and prediction.


VADM Brown is the one person most responsible for the Coast Guard being where it is. But for him the Coast Guard would still be at Buzzard Point.

With the exception of the Coast Guard Headquarters building that opened in 2013, most of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) site remains entirely undeveloped. The present estimated completion date of 2026 is being reconsidered with a view towards 2030, or later; and, possibly even never.

 Vice Admiral Manson Brown saved the Coast Guard and the brought about the relocation of Coast Guard Headquarters. This was his last major project in the years before he retired. Now, DHS, may wish their agency had a man like Manson K. Brown.

 In the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the George W. Bush administration called for a new, centralized headquarters to strengthen the DHS’s ability to coordinate the fight against terrorism and respond to natural disasters. More than 50 historic buildings would be renovated and new ones erected on the grounds of St. Elizabeths, a onetime insane asylum with a panoramic view of the District.

ice Adm. Manson K. Brown, the deputy commandant for mission support, and Master Chief Petty Officer Richard Hooker tour the construction site of the newly constructed Coast Guard Headquarters here June 28, 2012. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Timothy Tamargo – See more at:

Vice Adm. Manson K. Brown, the deputy commandant for mission support, and Master Chief Petty Officer Richard Hooker tour the construction site of the newly constructed Coast Guard Headquarters here June 28, 2012. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Timothy Tamargo

– See more at:

The entire complex was to be finished as early as 2014, at a cost of less than $3 billion, according to the initial plan.

Instead, with the exception of a Coast Guard building that opened in 2013, the grounds remain entirely undeveloped, with the occasional deer grazing amid the vacant Gothic Revival-style structures. The budget has ballooned to $4.5 billion, with completion pushed back to 2026. Even now, as Obama administration officials make the best of their limited funding, they have started design work for a second building that congressional aides and others familiar with the project say may never open.

ice Adm. Manson K. Brown, the deputy commandant for mission support, and Master Chief Petty Officer Richard Hooker tour the construction site of the newly constructed Coast Guard Headquarters here June 28, 2012. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Timothy Tamargo – See more at:

(Above VADM Manson K. Brown, Deputy Commandant for Mission Support, and Master Chief Richard Hooker tour the construction site for the new Coast Guard Headquarters on June 28, 2012.)

(U. S. Coast Guard photo by Coast Guard Petty Officer  2nd Class Timothy Tamargo)

VADM Brown retired on May 14, 2014 as Deputy Commandant for Mission Support and Commander of Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington,DC. Perhaps if he could have been persuaded to stay around for a few more years he could have overseen the transition and move of the DHS Headquarters to the new site. But, they would probably have had to make him Commandant of the Coast Guard to do that.

Instead, on behalf of a grateful Nation, and the entire Coast Guard we wished him fair skies, favorable winds and following seas in his well deserved retirement.

And, so at the rate that Congress is approving funding for the project, even the revised completion date of 2026 is unrealistic, and some lawmakers are urging that plans for such an ambitious headquarters complex be scrapped.

 Vice Admiral Manson K. Brown served as Deputy Commandant for Mission Support for the U.S. Coast Guard from 2012 to 2014. He served as Commander of Coast Guard Pacific Area in California from 2010 to 2012 and as Commander of Coast Guard District 14 in Hawaii from 2008 to 2010. Vice Admiral Brown’s previous tours of duty include Assistant Engineering Officer aboard the icebreaker “Glacier” and command of Coast Guard Sector Honolulu and Group Charleston. In 2006, he assumed command of the Maintenance & Logistics Command Pacific of the Coast Guard, where he had previously served as Assistant Chief of the Civil Engineering Division. In 2004, he served as Senior Advisor for Transportation to Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad, Iraq. In 2003, Vice Admiral Brown served as the Chief of Officer Personnel Management at the Coast Guard Personnel Command. From 1999 to 2002, he was the Military Assistant to the Secretary of Transportation. He received a B.S. from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, an M.S. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and an M.S. from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.


I was not always a fan of the Coast Guards moving to this location. But, after having gone to the building and having seen with my own eyes the wonderful new state of thearts facility, I have to admit that I may have been wrong.


Lately, I have been having a recurring dream. It is a dream deep rooted in Coast Guard traditions and American history. It is a dream that the new Coast Guard Headquarters building will be named the Manson Brown Building. This has not yet become a reality, but I believe that it will. God in his infinite wisdom and the Fates have decided, and I am declaring it.When right minded people wake up and reasonable people come to their senses, they will realize the truth of my words. And they will demand that the new Coast Guard Headquarters Building be named the Manson Brown Building.

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New Coast Guard Headquarters At Saint Elizabeths



New Coast Guard Headquarters, Almost Heaven

Coast Guard Headquarters is Striking, Surprising, and Sustainable

The new, state-of-the-art U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters on the site of historic St. Elizabeths Hospital is a dream come true. The U S Coast Guard has finally found itself a home worthy of its own lofty opinion of itself. It is not Heaven, but it is as close as one could possibly hope to get in this world.

Like Heaven, one has to pass through Hell to get there, daily. It is in Anacostia the worst, low rent, crime infested area of South East Washington, DC. A majority of the inhabitants of Anacostia appear to be over fed, under nourished, and unemployed. It is a crime infested area that most people would not be caught dead in after dark. Most D.C. metro area residents recoil in fear at the sound of infamous “Anacostia,” known mostly for its extreme poverty, high homicide statistics, and the ever lurking danger of getting lost in its maze of streets.,_D.C./Anacostia

The building was designed to house the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its component agencies. The U S Coast Guard was intended to be the lead agency. However, in the hearts and minds of most Coast Guard members, this is the Headquarters of the Department of the Coast Guard and DHS is a sub-agency, along with o ther agencies; such as, the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Defense, Interior, and Health and Human Services have contributed components.

The U S Coast Guard is the World’s preeminent International Law Enforcement Agency.

By law, the Coast Guard has 11 missions:

Today’s U.S. Coast Guard, with nearly 42,000 men and women on active duty, is a unique force that carries out an array of civil and military responsibilities touching almost every facet of the U.S. maritime environment.

In 50 years the Coast Guard has reached its pinnacle among other Washington DC Federal Agencies. In the 1960s, it was located in the Volpe Building, at 7th and D street SW, as the lead Agency in the Department of Transportation.

I know from experience how much the Coast Gard has wanted its own building in Washington, DC. Having worked in the Volpe Building as a Coast Guard officer in the Legal Office and the Office of Personnel from 1972 to 1979, I am aware of the numerous times senior Coast Guard officers have lamented the fact that the Coast Guard did not have its own building.

The Coast Guard finally was able to move up among the hierarchy of Federal Agencies when it moved to the Buzzard Point location. The accommodations were not up to those of the Volpe Building, but it was not co-located with lesser Federal agencies. Because of the undesirable location, many saw this move as a sort of fall from grace. However, location was not as important as exclusivity.

Now, the Coast Guard has it all, location and exclusivity. And, on top of it all, the DHS appears to not be coming to share the new building due to a shortage of appropriated funds.

In one sense, the vassals have taken control of the castle, erected a moat, and the drawbridge is up. Next to the Pentagon, this new Headquarters is a paradise and it is the most expensive building in Washington,DC. It has a newly constructed physical plant with all of the latest high tech gadgetry. The exterior is ecological eye-candy; it is architecturally beautiful with large spacious recreational green areas for loitering and refreshing the spirit. There are deer and other natural wild life running through the trees and plants. This new building repairs and reflects the surrounding landscape.


The interior sports acoustically low noise in the common areas, and large individual cubicles for the support staff so that each can have their own space. The offices are large and comfortable. Getting an office with a window is no problem because the construction material of smoked glass and steel affords maximum visibility for even the clerical personnel. The style is reminiscent of the steel and glass construction found in Hamburg, Germany and some of the banks built in Hong Kong by I M Pei.

The conference rooms and auditorium are well equipped with high tech and high definition accessories. They rival the large screen instant replay monitors in the most modern sports arenas. There is no bad seat in the auditorium. Even the farthest removed spectator to any presentation or ceremony has instant and constant visual and acoustical access to the proceedings. The Coast Guard which is renowned for pinching pennies and trying to save the Government money, spared no expenses in designing and building this new state-of-the-art facility. But, that is usually what happens when one is spending someone else’s money.


The co-educational workout rooms are top of the line. They include steam rooms and showers with large screen high definition televisions in front of the exercise machines. The facility is of the same caliber as one would expect to find in any Hilton or Ritz Carlton five-star luxury hotel.

Much of the credit for the relocation and the modern construction belongs to VADM Manson K. Brown. His last act of grace to the Coast Guard before retiring in May of 2014. It was only fitting and proper that he bequeath to the Coast Guard this new and perhaps final resting place, as a token of his appreciation for allowing him to write his name and story across a large page of American and Coast Guard history. VADM Brown did well and his performance of duty was above and beyond the call of duty, but he was deprived of writing one final large piece of History; he was denied the honor of going down in History as the first Black Commandant of the U S Coast Guard. Nevertheless, the milestones that he left along the road of History will not be surpassed in the near or distant future. He had a good ride and it was a mutually respectful and loving parting from active duty to a much deserved retirement for VADM Brown.


The physical address of Coast Guard Headquarters is 2701 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. S.E. This address cannot be used for mailing or visiting the campus (if using GPS, this address takes you to Gate 1, which can only be used by Coast Guard personnel accessing the campus via bike, over-sized vehicle or walking).

The new Coast Guard Headquarters GPS address is 2699 Firth Street SE, Washington, DC, 20593.

Download a map of the St. Elizabeths campus.


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Affirmative Action Works

Affirmative Action works. Public opinion polls suggest that most Americans support affirmative action, especially when the polls avoid an all-or-none choice between affirmative action as it currently exists and no affirmative action whatsoever.

Say it loud, “I’m Black and I’m proud!“. Obama was the first Black President. And Obama is the first Affirmative Action President.

Many of America’s “Black Firsts” were allowed to become “Firsts” because of Affirmative Action. By any other name, it would be the same. Ability without opportunity is wasted. It is futile and unproductive to have a talent and never get the opportunity to use it for the benefit of humanity.

When many others are as qualified for a coveted position and a Black or other minority group person is chosen for the position, there is a strong possibility that Affirmative Action played a part in the selection. That is nothing to be ashamed of.

Jackie Robinson was the first Black professional major league baseball player. Jackie Robinson was an Affirmative Action Baby.

Thurgood Marshall was the first Black lawyer appointed to be an Associate Justice of the U S Supreme Court. President Lyndon Baines Johnson made Justice Marshall an Affirmative Action Baby.

Johnson claimed that the reason he did not run for another term as President was because he had lost all of his Southern Support because he appointed Marshall to the Supreme Court; as the Southern politicians said, “it was because he put his nigger on the Court”.

So, the escalation of the Viet Nam War had nothing to do with Johnson pulling out of the Presidential Race.

Wilt Chamberlain was an Affirmative Action Baby. Chamberlain and Bill Russell were the First Black superstar NBA Basketball players.

Wilt was a pretty good student. He was capable of a gentlemanly “C”, as was said about President John F. Kennedy.

I was an Affirmative Action Baby.

Like Wilt, I was capable of a gentlemanly “C”, but I got mostly A’s and B’s.

I was the beneficiary of a program designed to redress the effects of past discrimination. So were Jackie Robinson, Wilt Chamberlain, Constance Baker Motley, Spottswood Robinson, Thurgood Marshall, Eric Holder, and President Barack Obama; and so are many Americans of African descent who were pioneers in their fields.

Job discrimination is grounded in prejudice and exclusion, whereas affirmative action is an effort to overcome prejudicial treatment through inclusion. The most effective way to cure society of exclusionary practices is to make special efforts at inclusion, which is exactly what affirmative action does. The logic of affirmative action is no different than the logic of treating a nutritional deficiency with vitamin supplements. For a healthy person, high doses of vitamin supplements may be unnecessary or even harmful, but for a person whose system is out of balance, supplements are an efficient way to restore the body’s balance.

Some may take umbrage or offense at my use of the term because it has become so politically charged and may not be politically correct; however, Affirmative Action works. It is easier to implement than Reparations.

Affirmative Action allows America to make a partial down-payment on a debt owed to the children of the builders of America. To many it is a dirty word or two, but Reparations would not sound as sweet. Germany paid the Jews; America paid the Japanese; and America will have to pay the children of the African slaves who built America’s wealth, if Affirmative Action is abandoned. How else will we make up for past discrimination against African Americans?

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Coast Guard Academy Will Not Prosecute Drunken Cadet For Sexual Assault

Coast Guard cadet won’t be court-martialed

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) 12 June 2014 — A U.S. Coast Guard Academy cadet accused of entering a classmate’s room and touching her leg will not face a court martial, the Academy said June 12, 2014.

Coast Guard Academy Superintendent, Rear Adm. Sandra Stosz, agreed with the recommendations of an Article 32 Investigating Officer that reasonable grounds did not exist to support the charge of abusive sexual contact against cadet Alexander Stevens. Rear Adm. Sandra Stosz, also agreed with a recommendation to impose nonjudicial punishment (NJP) on Cadet Stevens for unlawfully entering a cadet barracks room while drunk and touching another cadet on the leg, Coast Guard officials said.

The academy did not disclose details of the punishment, citing Stevens’ privacy rights. Nonjudicial punishment may include a reprimand, arrest in quarters for up to 30 days, pay forfeiture or expulsion from the academy.

“The Academy has remained committed to providing all needed support to the victim, ensuring a full and fair proceeding in compliance with the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and holding those who commit misconduct accountable for their actions,” said Capt. James McCauley, the Commandant of Cadets at the U S Coast Guard Academy, New London, CT..

In September 2013, Stevens said, he went into the fellow cadet’s room by mistake, believing it was his girlfriend’s room, an investigator testified.

He was drunk at the time and made a mental mistake, Lt. John Cole, who represented Stevens, said during the Article 32 Pre-trial investigation at the Academy in April 2014.

The female cadet classmate testified that a man entered her room in the middle of the night, touched her on her thigh and moved his hand up her leg before she screamed and kicked him. The cadet said she found it hard to sleep and concentrate after the encounter, and her grades suffered.

A Government appointed prosecutor, LT Tyler McGill, at the Article 32 Investigation argued that Stevens was on a mission for sexual gratification. The room Stevens went into was about 300 feet from his girlfriend’s room, Lt. Tyler McGill said, and noted that the classmate was lower in rank.

“Cadet Stevens did not walk into the room right next door,” McGill said.

But the government failed to prove sexual intent, Cole argued.

“Just because he accidentally touched the wrong cadet’s leg doesn’t mean he should go to court martial,” Cole said.

Stevens did not testify.

A conviction in a court martial can lead to prison time.

The only cadet ever court-martialed at the academy, Webster Smith, was tried in 2006 and convicted on extortion, sodomy and indecent assault charges.

(By John Christoffersen, AP)

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DHS Employees May Be Incompetent

DHS Civil Servants May Be Incompetent

One of the major reasons the Department of Homeland Security may be doomed is because the rank and file civil employees may be incompetent for the jobs they are trying to perform. The Senior Executive Staff was filled by professional job-hoppers from other agencies looking for a raise in pay and another career enhancing paragraph on their resume’ or curriculum vitae. Today the DHS appears to be a bloated  and mismanaged bureaucracy of marginally qualified civil servants.
How were the top DHS positions filled? It was Ruling Class cronyism, favoritism, and nepotism. And in a few isolated cases, it may have been some affirmative action.
In the case of  Carmen H. Walker, Deputy Officer for EEO Programs, Office of Civil Rights and Liberties, it may have been a combination of all four, because she certainly was not qualified to render the decisions that she made. The most egregious was in the Case of Cadet Webster Smith.
It took a long time for the Dept Homeland Security, Office of Civil Rights to make a decision on the Webster Smith Discrimination Complaint. Webster Smith received a fatal blow from Ms Carmen Walker, the Deputy Officer for EEO Programs in the Department of Homeland Security. That decision was the death knell for Cadet Smith in his fight to get justice from the Coast Guard Academy and the Coast Guard?

Carmen H. Walker, Deputy Officer for EEO Programs, Office of Civil Rights and Liberties, in her 20 August 2007 letter said that because Webster Smith was court-martialed, he could not have been discriminated against, as a matter of law. Well, that was just flat out patently wrong. A court-martial does not bar a civil rights action. The court-martial was just one act in a chain of events, each of which constituted racial discrimination. The same set of facts could have given rise to actionable relief in different arenas. The several discriminatory actions taken against Webster Smith before he was even charged under the UCMJ were completely separate and distinct from any possible legal errors that were committed during the course of the court-martial.
Only the legal and procedural errors committed by the prosecution at trial were the subject of the appeal to the Coast Guard Court of Criminal Appeals. The decision by Ms Walker was the dumbest decision I had ever seen, and the shortest. There was more meat on the shadow of the chicken that died of starvation than in her Report. There were no Findings of Fact. There were no Conclusions. There was no Rationale, or any reasoning whatsoever. There was nothing in the Final Report to show how she had arrived at her decision. No comparisons are made with any other cases or sets of facts.The Report and her decision simply defied reason and logic.

H. Jerry Jones, the Coast Guard’s director of the Office of Civil Rights in Washington D.C., authorized an inquiry Dec. 7, 2006  into whether former cadet first class Webster Smith was treated differently during the investigation into his case than others who had committed similar offenses.
After reviewing Smith’s complaint, Jones dismissed 16 separate claims but authorized an investigation into the alleged inequity of treatment, headquarters spokesman Commander Jeff Carter said Dec. 15.
The Coast Guard hired JDG Associates Inc., a San Antonio-based consultant company that specializes in equal opportunity and civil rights issues, to examine the complaint, Carter said.
Carter explained that the Coast Guard does not maintain a large Equal Employment Opportunity Commission staff and needed to hire the firm to ensure fairness.

Consistent with 29CFR 1614.107(b) when an agency dismisses some but not all of the claims in a complaint, the dismissed claims will not be investigated and the dismissal is not immediately appealable. The Department of Homeland Security was supposed to review them together with the Report of Investigation when it prepared the Final Agency Decision (FAD) on the accepted claims. It does not appear that Ms Walker did anything remotely comparable to that. She did not appear to have followed the letter or the spirit of the Regulation, 29CFR 1614.107(b).

Webster Smith has the right to request reconsideration of the FAD, including the dismissal determination if it had been sustained. It appears that Ms. Walker did that by default. Even though the dismissed claims were not processed as discreet and separate claims, the information regarding the dismissed claims were required to be used as evidence during the investigation of the accepted claim. Ms. Walker certainly could not have done that.
However, it is hard to tell just what Ms Walker did, if anything. She gave very few clues as to what she did, if she did anything. She could have flipped a coin, or rolled the dice for all we know. The FAD is brief and uninformative. It gives very little insight into the inner workings and hidden mechanisms of her mind.
Ms Carmen Walker was faced with a living room full of pink elephants. She chose to ignore all of them. She ignored what would have been obvious to even a child, and instead she grasped at two invisible straws. She chose to hang her hat on a technicality that has proven to be a gross embarrassment to her and the Department of Homeland Security.

It looked like Ms Walker had not looked at the complaint since it first had arrived on her desk. She must have noticed that the First Anniversary of the filing of the complaint was fast approaching. On 5 September, it would have been one year since the complaint had been filed. Ms Walker was required by Agency Regulations to provide Webster Smith with a copy of the investigative file, to notify him in writing that he had a right to request a hearing and a decision from an administrative law judge (ALJ) or to request an immediate final decision from the agency (29 CFR 1614.110). Ms Walker’s Final Decision looked like nothing more than a half-hearted attempt to avoid letting the 360 day period run out without taking the required Agency action.

Oscar Wilde said that the easiest way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Ms Walker obviously believed the easiest way to get rid of a complaint was to simply say that it did not state a claim for which relief could be granted.

In her decision no evidence was evaluated. Statements were taken by the Investigating Officer, but no Facts were deduced. There were two apparently implied facts: One, that Webster Smith had been in the military; and, Two, that he had been court-martialed. From those two apparently implied facts, Ms Walker concludes that Webster Smith’s Discrimination Complaint failed to state a claim for which relief can be granted.

If Webster Smith had been trying to overturn his court-martial conviction by filing a civil rights complaint, then he would not have filed an appeal to the Coast Guard Court of Criminal Appeals. That is a separate action. It is designed to remedy the errors committed during and after the court-martial conviction.

The Court of Criminal Appeals has no jurisdiction to render a finding concerning whether Webster Smith was discriminated against when he was forcefully removed from Chase Hall at midnight in December 2005 by Coast Guard Intelligence, or when he was prevented from attending class, or when he was made to work on the boat docks in June 2006, or when he was forbidden to speak to any other classmates or cadets, or when he was forbidden to go within 100 yards of Chase Hall. Moreover, it was discrimination when a press release was distributed to the media with his photograph calling him a sexual predator and saying that his presence created an intimidating environment in Chase Hall. All of these prohibited actions occurred long before a charge sheet was drawn up, and well before a court-martial was convened and most certainly before a verdict was rendered. On these acts alone Webster Smith was discriminated against because of his race. These all occurred long before the court-martial and the other related acts occurred.
The Court of Military Review is a military forum and can only give a military remedy. It has no jurisdiction to give relief in the administrative, employment area.  The Coast Guard Court of Criminal Appeals, established under Article 66, UCMJ, by the Judge Advocate General is composed of the Chief Judge and not less than two additional appellate military judges. The judges may be commissioned officers or civilians. The Coast Guard Court of Criminal Appeals is currently composed of six appellate judges organized in panels of three for consideration of referred cases. All but the Chief Judge have other primary duties, so that their service on the Court constitutes a collateral duty. In general, the Court reviews and acts on the records by affirming, reversing, or modifying in part the findings or sentence in each case of trial by court-martial in which the sentence, as approved, extends to death; dismissal of a commissioned officer or cadet; dishonorable discharge; bad conduct discharge; or confinement of one year or more. The Court also reviews other courts-martial with lesser sentences if the Judge Advocate General so directs. Also reviewed by the Court are petitions for extraordinary writs, petitions for new trial which have been referred to the Court, and appeals by the United States under Article 62, UCMJ.
That is why there is a civil rights complaint procedure. It is designed to address those areas where one has been treated differently than others based on his race, or sex.
In a perfect world, Ms Carmen H. Walker’s actions alone would have done irreparable harm to an innocent man, but this is not a perfect world; and, Ms Walker may have had her strings pulled by others. Her actions and decisions had a snowball effect.

The Day newspaper in an article written by Jennifer Grogan on 9/11/2007 reported that “The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has ruled that Webster Smith was not discriminated against on the basis of his race when he was court-martialed for sexual assault last summer.” That was not true, nor was it correct.

She reported that “The Smiths declined to comment.” That was true; however, after the Smiths saw what she had written, they had plenty of comments. Mainly, they commented that Ms Grogan’s article was not correct. And they were right. The Day was forced to print a correction on 9/12/2207. As one might expect, the CORRECTION was not as conspicuous, nor as easy to locate as the first blatantly erroneous article. The damage had been done. As Webster Smith’s mother, Belinda, said”After the article has gone nationwide with the Associated Press, they quietly corrected the article but the damage was done.”
The Day, unlike the Navy Times, printed an article short on facts, but long on quotes from the people who had slandered Webster Smith, and who were trying to save face. The same people who tried to label Webster Smith as a sexual predator and released his private cadet photograph to the news media to be beamed around the world.
At the Coast Guard Academy,” Chief Warrant Officer David M. French, an Academy spokesman, on Monday, 10 September, was quoted as saying “We feel the Department of Homeland Security’s final decision on the civil rights complaint from Webster Smith validates the Coast Guard Academy’s actions in this matter as appropriate.”

The CORRECTION buried in the B Section of The Day simply said “The U.S. Department of Homeland Security denied a discrimination claim filed by Webster Smith, a black man expelled from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy following his court-martial for sexual assault. The department ruled that the complaint was not filed in the appropriate forum.”

To deny a complaint and then to give 30 days for one to appeal the denial, is a long ways from saying there was no discrimination. There has not yet been a decision on the ultimate issue of whether Webster Smith was a victim of racial discrimination. Here it is eight years later and justice has not been done in the Webster Smith Case. If a few of the people in the Department of Homeland Security had been marginally qualified, or had simply performed their jobs properly, this might have ended differently. As it is, the Case of Webster Smith remains An American Tragedy.
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Why I Believe The Department Of Homeland Security Is Doomed

Most American do not feel as secure today as they did on 9/10/2001, nor do they feel as free. We have sacrificed freedoms, but we have not gained security. We have spent millions of dollars to fight a so-called War on Terror and have few tangible results to show for it. Much of the money has gone to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Why do we do not need a Department of Homeland Security (DHS)? Most of its work is wasteful and duplicated by other government agencies.  Most of DHS’s efforts appear to be oriented toward domestic law enforcement and not towards foreign terrorists. The activities being performed by DHS agents would not have prevented the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on 9/11/2001.

It appeared to be a good idea at the time President George Bush proposed forming it, because the public needed to be reassured that Government was doing something to protect us. Our national leaders assure us that Osama bin Laden is dead and AlQaeda is on the run. Today the DHS appears to be a bloated  and mismanaged bureaucracy of marginally qualified civil servants.

All of the various components should be broken up and sent back to the Government Agencies they came from.


The Coast Guard is and was the lead agency. Other agencies; such as, the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE),  Defense,  Interior, and Health and Human Services have contributed components. At last count there were an estimated 15 to 20 spy agencies in the DHS.

Why I Believe the Department of Homeland Security is Doomed

Moreover, as of May 21, 2014 according to a Washington Post article by Jerry Markon, the DHS is homeless. The construction site in Southeast Washington, DC on the grounds of the old Saint Elizabeth’s Hospital is over-budgeted by billions of dollars and may not be completed before 2016, if ever. The site is completely undeveloped except for the Coast Guard Headquarters building.

As events have unfolded, it seems to me that the underfunding of the project may not be entirely accidental. A great way to kill a project is to underfund it. That is just what Congress has done to DHS. Congress funded the Coast Guard Headquarters move from Buzzard Point to Saint Elizabeth’s, but had not appropriated sufficient funds to move DHS. That means the Coast Guard was considered essential but DHS was not.

The Coast Guard has been around since 1790, but DHS came into existence in 2002. The Coast Guard has a proven track record and enjoys favorable public support.

Homeland security is not the top priority item with most Americans anymore. The DHS has succeeded in curtailing many civil liberties that American are not happy about. Privacy rights have been eroded. Air line security is cumbersome and intrusive. Immigration enforcement has not managed to curb the flood of illegal immigrants coming into the country. Phone calls and Emails are being monitored at an alarming rate. We are practically in a police state. Since the establishment of the DHS and the Patriot Act, Americans have given up freedoms and civil liberties for security, but most American do not feel any more secure than they did before 9/11/2001.

At the rate that Congress is approving funding to move DHS Headquarters to the new Saint Elizabeth site, some lawmakers are urging that plans for such an ambitious headquarters complex be scrapped.

“Sometimes you just have to drop back and punt,” said Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), whose oversight subcommittee has criticized federal management of the project. “At what point in time does the government just cut its losses and look for a better way of doing things?”

Former DHS secretary Michael Chertoff, who had called a consolidated headquarters essential for his department’s mission to protect the homeland, acknowledges that the project has become a victim of Washington’s budget wars.

 Republicans are calling for a reevaluation of the project, suggesting for instance that private developers could build a more modest office complex and lease it to the government. The proposal to raise the kind of headquarters envisioned after Sept. 11 is now practically an orphan in Congress.

“It’s just not going to happen,” said a Republican congressional aide. “The money doesn’t exist.”

 ( Markon, J. and Crites, A.; Washington Post, May 21, 2014, p. A1)

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Manson Brown Has One Thousand Fathers

It is said that success has a thousand fathers but defeat is an orphan.


Manson Brown has a thousand fathers. He is a living success story in every sense of the word.

His natural father, the late Manson Brown Junior, was proud of him.


His Coast Guard father, London Steverson, recruited him out of St. John’s Prep School in Washington, D.C. and wanted him to become Commandant of the U. S. Coast Guard.

His professional fathers, U.S. Transportation Secretaries Rodney E. Slater and Norman Y. Mineta are challenged him with cutting-edged assignments.


In 2003, he was Chief of Officer Personnel Management at the Coast Guard Personnel Command when Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta called, explaining that Ambassador to Iraq PaulBremer needed “a transportation guy” in Baghdad. Bremer was the Administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq from 2003 to 2004. In actuality that made Ambassador Bremer the President of Iraq and Admiral Brown became his Secretary of Transportation.

In Baghdad, Brown was the Senior Advisor for Transportation to the Coalition Provisional Authority, overseeing restoration of transportation systems throughout Iraq.  The air lines were not flying; the trains were not running, and all ports were closed to shipping. In a matter of three months Admiral Brown and his team were able to get Iraqi Airways flying again, and to open all ports for shipping. Moreover, the trains were not only running, but they were running on time.


His spiritual father, Admiral Robert Papp is proud of him. Papp means priest in Hungarian; so, his last boss and father confessor came from a family of priests. At Vice Admiral Brown’s retirement ceremony, his Spiritual Father preached to the choir. He told a parable; it was a Parable of Hope. He was describing how any child from any inner city ghetto or poverty hole in America can come into the Coast Guard and rise to the highest level or authority and responsibility that his talent, diligence and initiative will take him.

Manson Brown’s life is a parable; it is a story of hope for Black children every where in America that anyone can make it in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. America is truly the Land of Opportunity and Hope for anyone who will apply their innate God-given talents to study, to learn, and to excel.

Admiral Papp, the Commandant of the Coast Guard, described Brown as a friend and mentor. Earlier in their careers, the two officers commuted together to their office in Washington. During one conversation on the way to work, they talked about officer promotions and assignments. Papp said he was surprised when Brown pointed out that bias kept some Black officers from advancement.

All of us human beings, whether we admit it or not, have our own biases,” Papp said. “He opened my eyes to those biases and made me look harder to make sure that we are a balanced and diverse service.”

Adm. Robert J. Papp Jr., the Coast Guard Commandant, said that Brown had stood on the shoulders of Black officers before him and that those who follow owe Brown a debt for his service. Brown played a crucial role in developing the careers of minorities in the Coast Guard, Papp added.

“While we still have a long way to go, I credit Manson Brown for speaking truth to power,” Papp said.


In recent years, Brown led a Coast Guard effort to improve sexual assault prevention and outreach. A civil engineer by training, he also oversaw recovery operations after Hurricane Sandy wrought $270 million in damage to Coast Guard property, Papp said.

All of the other members of the USCGA Class of 1978 are proud of him.

Every officer and enlisted member of the USCG is proud of him, because had it not been for Manson Brown the USCG may not have a Headquarters in Washington, DC.

The construction of a massive new headquarters for the Department of Homeland Security, billed as critical for national security and the revitalization of Southeast Washington, is running more than $1.5 billion over budget, is 11 years behind schedule and may never be completed, according to planning documents and federal officials.

With the exception of the Coast Guard Headquarters building that opened in 2013, most of the DHS site remains entirely undeveloped. The present estimated completion date of 2026 is being reconsidered with a view towards 2030, or later; and, possibly even never.

 Vice Admiral Manson Brown saved the Coast Guard and the relocation of Coast Guard Headquarters. This was his last major project in the years before he retired. Now, DHS, may wish their agency had a man like Manson K. Brown.

VADM Brown retired on May 14, 2014 as Deputy Commandant for Mission Support and Commander of Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington,DC. Perhaps if he could have been persuaded to stay around for a few more years he could have overseen the transition and move of the DHS Headquarters to the new site. But, they would probably have had to make him Commandant of the Coast Guard to do that.

Instead, on behalf of a grateful Nation, and the entire Coast Guard we wished him fair skies, favorable winds and following seas in his well deserved retirement.




ice Adm. Manson K. Brown, the deputy commandant for mission support, and Master Chief Petty Officer Richard Hooker tour the construction site of the newly constructed Coast Guard Headquarters here June 28, 2012. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Timothy Tamargo – See more at: http/

(Above VADM Manson K. Brown, Deputy Commandant for Mission Support, and Master Chief Richard Hooker tour the construction site for the new Coast Guard Headquarters on June 28, 2012.)

(U. S. Coast Guard photo by Coast Guard Petty Officer  2nd Class Timothy Tamargo)


Brown said his achievements would not have been possible without the legacy forged by the first Black officers in the early years of the Coast Guard.

“When I saw him (LT London Steverson) at the front door in full uniform, a Black man, I saw a vision for the future. He convinced my mother to let me visit the (U S Coast Guard) Academy and I was hooked, Brown said.”

At first, Brown’s mother was reluctant to let him join the military as war raged in Vietnam, he said at the ceremony.



But then London Steverson, the second Black graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy (Class of 196, visited the Brown family home in Ward 4.

“I convinced his mother that her son would not be taken advantage of and would not be a token” black student at the academy, Steverson said. “He was the best of the best. I knew that he could survive.”


After graduating from St. John’s College High School in the District, Brown enrolled in the Coast Guard Academy’s Class of 1978, headed to a life patrolling the seas even though he didn’t know how to swim. As a cadet, one of his first assignments was to learn basic strokes.

He later helped create a campus network for minority students at the school. In 1977, he became the first African American to lead the U.S. Coast Guard Academy corps of cadets, the Coast Guard’s student body.

“The vast majority of my career, people embraced me for my passion and ability,” Brown said. When incidents of racism arose, “I decided to confront it at its face.”


Serving aboard the USCGC Glacier (WAGB-4), an icebreaker, during his first assignment as a young officer, Brown said he had to confront racism almost immediately. He noticed that one older white subordinate, a popular chief petty officer, seemed agitated by his presence. Brown decided to settle the matter face to face.

“He said there was no way he was going to work for a Black man,” Brown said. “My head pounded with anger and frustration.”

But other enlisted leaders on the ship rallied behind Brown. Throughout the rest of his career, Brown was recognized for his inspirational leadership and zeal.

Growing up in the inner city

Brown grew up in northwest Washington, DC. “My parents both worked. We were a middle-class family who lived in the inner city. My mother and father promoted strong family values in a very threatening, conflicted environment. My dad worked three jobs to send us to private school.


“Most of the guys I grew up with are no longer with us,” he observes. “One friend of mine went into the Air Force and I joined the Coast Guard. The military was our ticket to better opportunities.”


Brown attended the academically rigorous St. John’s College High School in DC. His approach to choosing a college was to pick up every brochure on the guidance counselor’s rack. “I got interest cards for whatever was there and mailed them all out. It was a blind draw.”


Hooked on the Coast Guard

Brown was personally recruited to the Coast Guard Academy (USCGA, New London, CT) by then Lieutenant London Steverson, the second African American USCGA graduate. “Of all the people courting me, he was the only one who came to the house. When I saw him at the front door in full uniform, a Black man, I saw a vision for the future,” Brown states. “He convinced my mother to let me visit the campus and I was hooked.”


Brown entered the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 1974. “My class started with 400 students and graduated 167,” Brown says. “Of twenty-two African Americans at the beginning, six graduated. A lot of that was academic challenge, but a lot was also cultural challenge. We didn’t realize it at the time, but we were pioneers in a process to transform the Academy culture to become more supportive of diversity.”


He continues, “I had gone to a predominantly white high school so I had already been through the acculturation process. That was probably an advantage I had over my African American classmates at the Academy.”


His original interest was in Marine Science but he missed the cut. Instead, he got his second choice: civil engineering. Brown admits, “At that time, all I knew was that it was about building buildings, but it turned out to be pretty useful.


“I look at system problems like an engineer,” he says. “I found discipline in the engineering profession. Even today, my approach to problem solving uses the FADE process: focus, analyze, develop and execute.”


He graduated from the USCGA in 1978. Brown knew that he did not want to go back to DC. “I knew that to survive, I had to leave,” he says. “It was a mature thought at an immature age.”


Brown has since earned two masters degrees, in civil engineering in 1985 from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, and in national resources strategy in 1999 from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces (ICAF, now the Eisenhower School at National Defense University, Washington, DC).


On being a leader

“I always had a technical inclination. But when I got to the Coast Guard Academy, all the personality profiles said that I was geared toward the soft sciences. Even though I love being an engineer, my passion rests with people so maybe the sociologists were right,” he says with a laugh.


Brown mentors “the long blue line,” working hard to help people who are coming up the ranks. “I’m proactive with groups like the civilian advisory board, women’s groups, African Americans, Asians, and Hispanic groups. I’ve shared time with them and stated how important they are to me. From them I get the feedback that when I am visible and successful, they feel empowered.”


Exciting assignments mark a career

Brown has enjoyed several challenging, high-profile assignments during his thirty-six-year Coast Guard career.

From 1999 to 2002 he was the military assistant to the secretary of transportation, when the Coast Guard was still part of the Department of Transportation. “I was in that job for 9/11. After that, I became acting deputy chief of staff for that department.”

He assumed positions of responsibility in Florida, Hawaii and California, where he oversaw counter-narcotics trafficking missions and other operations spanning 73 million square miles of the Pacific Ocean. He served as the military assistant to two U.S. secretaries of transportation and spent three months in Iraq in 2004, leading the restoration of two major ports.


In 2003, he was chief of officer personnel management at the Coast Guard Personnel Command when Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta called, explaining that Ambassador to Iraq Paul Bremerneeded “a transportation guy” in Baghdad in two weeks. Bremer was the administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq from 2003 to 2004. He was essentially the president of Iraq at that time,” Brown notes, “and I was his secretary of transportation.”


In Baghdad, Brown was the senior advisor for transportation to the Coalition Provisional Authority, overseeing restoration of transportation systems throughout Iraq. “I followed the FADE process every step of the way. We got Iraqi Airways flying again the last week I was there. We got the trains running and the ports open. I was there for three months, and three months in a war zone is like three years anywhere else. I was a ‘gap guy’ until they found someone else because I didn’t want to walk away from my Coast Guard career.”


Reflecting and learning

“I learned so much about America in a crisis and I respect what we tried to do. I have nothing but respect for the Iraqi people and what they went through,” he reflects.


Brown has been married for thirty-two years; he and his wife have three grown sons. He has learned to make his family part of his profession and his profession part of his family. “I wasn’t good at it back in the early innings,” he admits, “but as I’ve matured, I’ve gotten better.”


Vice Admiral Brown is the third African American to reach flag rank in the U.S. Coast Guard and the first to become a three-star. He has received many medals, awards and commendations.

Brown’s Coast Guard father, Judge London Steverson, USALJ (Ret.) wanted him to become Commandant of the U S Coast Guard. He began to write about the accomplishments and career advancements of Admiral Brown. He published them in a blog online along with pictures. He chronicled all of Admiral Brown’s noteworthy achievements that would be of public interest. These were things that could persuade a Selection Board for Commandant that the time was right to select the Coast Guard’s first Black Commandant.

After Admiral Brown had reached the highest echelons of the officer corps, his assignments and accomplishments became as important to Steverson as rare paintings would be to an art collector. These were the stuff that could sway a selection board and possibly alter the course of American History.

Every Vice Admiral considered for the position of Commandant has been more than qualified for the job. None of the people in the selection process: President of the United States or Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security would be making a decision based on qualifications, or “best qualified”. They would be making a political decision. They would be looking at not only Admiral Brown, but also at his family, his marital stability, the social marketability of his family, the accomplishments and failures of his children, his brothers and sisters. They would consider his entire social fabric.

So, when Admiral Brown had achieved success at something that did not depend merely on his personal skills as a commissioned officer, it was necessary to chronicle the big picture of him as a family man, a loyal husband, and a devoted father. When the Selection Board met to determine the next Commandant they would also be considering for selection, Admiral Brown’s wife (Herminia) and his three sons (Manson Justin, Robert Anthony, and William Mathew).

Always ready

The Coast Guard motto is semper paratus, Latin for “always ready.” Brown takes that to heart.


“There may be a downturn in the perceived value of our services but then something inevitably happens like the Exxon Valdez oil spill, Deepwater Horizon, Hurricane Katrina, or 9/11, and the demand for those services escalates again,” Brown observes. “I tell my people to watch CNN for the next big thing; you’ll know it when you see it. You can’t manage based only on what’s going on today. You have to have a long view.”


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