In Memoriam: Lieutenant Commander Wesley A. Brown, Class of 1949
ANNAPOLIS, Md., May 24, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- It is with great sadness and heaviness of heart that the United States Naval Academy Alumni Association announces the passing of Lieutenant Commander Wesley A. Brown CEC, USN (Ret.), a member of the Class of 1949 and the Naval Academy's first African American graduate, on the evening of 22 May, 2012 in Silver Spring, Md.
LCDR Brown was appointed to the Naval Academy as a Midshipman in 1945 after enrolling at Howard University in the District of Columbia as an Army Specialized Training Student and an electrical engineering major. At the Academy, Brown excelled athletically, running both varsity track and cross country for the Brigade. Following his commissioning in the Navy Civil Engineer Corps, Brown served honorably in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, rising to Lieutenant Commander before retiring from the Navy in July, 1969.
Following his retirement from the Navy, Brown worked for the New York State University Construction Fund, the New York State Dormitory Authority and the University Planning Office at Howard University, retiring from civilian employment in 1988.
Brown remained closely connected to the Academy throughout his life. He served on the Naval Academy Alumni Association Board of Trustees and, in 2008, the Academy dedicated its newly constructed athletic facility in his honor. The Wesley Brown Field House, the first and only Academy building dedicated to a living alumnus, hosts an annual track and field invitational in Brown's honor and houses his class ring, which he donated to the athletic facility in person at this year's invitational.
Also established in Brown's honor is The Lieutenant Commander Wesley A. Brown '49 Honor Scholar scholarship. Created in 2007 by a consortium of minority Naval Academy graduates, to include the El Dorado Society, the scholarship provides an award of up to $5,000 each annually to four individuals who have been accepted into any four-year college or university in Maryland, and it is renewable up to four years. Since its establishment, five Naval Academy midshipmen have received the scholarship including Midshipman Arvind Stone, class of 2015, who had the honor of meeting with Brown at this year's Wesley Brown track and field invitational.
Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Admiral Michael H. Miller issued the following statement in response to Brown's passing; "The Naval Academy family is deeply saddened to learn of the loss of retired Lieutenant Commander Wesley Brown. A member of the Class of 1949 and our first African-American graduate, he embodied the highest ideals of the Academy's mission and dedicated himself to decades of selfless and distinguished service to our nation. Wesley Brown was a superb example to our midshipmen, displaying the traits of leadership and character we strive to instill in all of our graduates. He will be greatly missed. On behalf of the entire Naval Academy family our heartfelt condolences go out to the Brown family."
Naval Academy Alumni Association CEO, Byron Marchant, stated, "It is with a deep sadness and regret that I report the loss of Lieutenant Commander Wesley Anthony Brown '49, CEC, USN (Ret.) on 22 May. He paved the way for so many and was a true 'trailblazer' who became the first African-American to graduate from the Naval Academy. Commander Brown leaves a legacy, not only with the Naval Academy, but with the history he made."
Admiral Bob Natter '67, USN (Ret), Chairman of the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association added, "Commander Brown's passing is a difficult one for all of us. He has been an inspiration to those who have followed him, and his legacy will be captured through the Naval Academy's Wesley A. Brown Fieldhouse, named in his honor. He will be greatly missed."
As we mourn the loss of a true trailblazer and friend, our most sincere and heartfelt condolences go out the Brown family. LCDR Brown will be remembered for his strong commitment to leadership and the Academy mission. He will be deeply missed.
Condolence letters may be sent to:
Mrs. Wesley A. Brown
C/O USNA Alumni Association
247 King George Street
Annapolis, MD 21409
Contact: Lawrence Heyworth III '70
Executive Vice President, Engagement
U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association
SOURCE United States Naval Academy Alumni AssociationBack to top