Notable People

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Rear Admiral Erroll Brown


Rear Admiral Brown, the first African-American promoted to flag rank in the U.S. Coast Guard, graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 1972.  He majored in Marine Engineering and has a masters degree in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, with a second masters in Industrial and Operations Engineering from the University of Michigan.  He was awarded a Masters of Business Administration degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1986 and graduated the Naval War College with a masters degree in National Security and Strategic Studies in 1994.  He also completed Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Governmental Programs for Senior Executives in National and International Security.

Rear Admiral Brown served as Damage Control Assistant and Assistant Engineer Officer aboard the Coast Guard Icebreaker Burton Island and was the patrol boat maintenance type-desk manager for the 11th Coast Guard District's naval engineering branch.  He served as the Engineer Officer aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Jarvis, an instructor with the Marine Engineering Department at the Coast Guard Academy, and the executive officer aboard USCGC Rush.  He was also the Program Reviewer in the Office of the Chief of Staff, Programs Division; the Military Assistant to the Secretary of Transportation; the Chief of the Budget Division, Office of the Chief of Staff; and the supervisor for two inspection officers in the Small Boat Branch while at Coast Guard Headquarters.  He also served as Commanding Officer, USCG Integrated Support Command, Portsmouth, Virginia, and the Commander for Maintenance and Logistics Command Atlantic, Norfolk, Virginia.  He commanded the Thirteenth Coast Guard District from 2000 to 2002.  He then served as the Assistant Commandant for Engineering and Logistics, the Coast Guard's senior engineer, until his retirement in 2005.

Registered as a Professional Engineer in Virginia, he co-authored a University of Michigan text with Professor Harry Benford entitled "Ship Replacement and Prediction of Economic Life".  He presented the text before the 25th Annual Collogium of Shipbuilders at the University of Hamburg in Germany.  He is also a long-standing active member with the American Society of Naval Engineers, Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, and the American Society of Engineering Educators and has held offices at various levels with these organizations.  He currently serves as the program evaluator for the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.

His awards include the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal (2 awards), Secretary's Award for Meritorious Achievement, and the U. S. Coast Guard Commendation Medal (2 Awards), Unit Commendation, Meritorious Unit Commendation, National Defense Service Medal, Special Operations Ribbon (3 awards), Bicentennial Unit Commendation Ribbon, Antarctica Service Medal, Arctic Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Expert Rifleman Medal and the Expert Pistol Shot Medal.


Office of Public Affairs
U.S. Coast Guard

Press Release Date: June 30, 2005
Contact: Jolie Shifflet
(202) 267-2304

First Black Coast Guard admiral retires after distinguished career

WASHINGTON – The Coast Guard’s first black admiral retired today, after 33 years of service. Rear Adm. Erroll M. Brown most recent position was the Coast Guard’s top ranking engineer in the position of Assistant Commandant for Engineering and Logistics.

Brown, a St. Petersburg, Fla., native, joined the Coast Guard in 1968 and graduated from the Coast Guard Academy as an ensign with a marine engineering degree in 1972. He became the first black Coast Guard flag level officer when he was promoted to Rear Admiral in July 1998.

Brown previously commanded Coast Guard forces in the Pacific Northwest as the Coast Guard’s 13th district commander from June 2000 to July 2003.

As the Coast Guard’s chief engineer, Brown is responsible for naval, civil and aeronautical engineering and logistics that includes 23,000 facilities, 230 ships, 1,800 boats and 200 aircraft. He is also responsible for managing an annual budget of $1 billion and leading more than 2000 personnel.

Brown has served as an assistant engineer officer on the Coast Guard Icebreaker Burton Island in Long Beach, Calif., as engineering officer on the Coast Guard Cutter Jarvis in Honolulu and as executive officer on the Coast Guard Cutter Rush, in San Francisco; as the military assistant to the Secretary of Transportation in Washington, and as the commander of Maintenance and Logistics Command Atlantic in Norfolk, Va.

"The Coast Guard has challenged me, given me enormous responsibilities and rewarded me with limitless opportunities," said Brown, reflecting on more than three decades of service.

Brown holds four masters degrees, including a master’s degree in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, and Industrial and Operations Engineering from the University of Michigan; a master’s degree in Business Administration from RPI, and a masters in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College. His military awards include three Legion of Merit medals, two Meritorious Service medals and the Secretary’s Award for Meritorious Achievement.

He and his wife Monica live in Woodbridge, Va., and have two children; Elise, 25, and Aaron, 23. Brown will retire to Williamsburg, Va., where he intends to remain active in the engineering field.

The U.S. Coast Guard is a military, maritime, multi-mission service within the Department of Homeland Security dedicated to protecting the safety and security of America.

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