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James E. Brown

U.S. Navy
Cuban Missile Crisis

James E. Brown was born in 1943 on Staten Island. In 1961, struggling with college exams, James enlisted in the Navy, as a new opportunity. He describes it as the best thing that ever happened to him.

Arriving in Chicago during a blizzard, James was issued new clothes and stenciled underwear. Basic training lasted until April. His next stop was Advanced Training in Memphis, Tennessee to be an Electronics Technician. His tours of duty included VP-5 Jacksonville, FL., AD 37 US Samuel Gompers, COMSURF WESTPAC, MSC CARIB, NAVSTA ROOS RDS, and Naval Submarine Support Facility New London.

During the Cuban Missile Crisis James flew patrol bombers out of Jacksonville. The men were told "Flight crews take care of what you need to and return at 3:00." Cuba had gone through a blockade. They conducted complete surveillance on the Russians. America had the coordinate points for where the missiles were being kept.

In 1981 James joined the Navy Reserve. His activations included Panama and the Sandinista Crisis. For five years he commuted from his job in Miami Airport to Puerto Rico on the weekends. James learned about anti-submarine warfare in Norfolk. In 2000 he retired from the U.S. Navy from Connecticut as a ship superintendent project manager in submarine repair.

Starting in 2001, he worked in various jobs as a civilian including N.Y. Telephone, American Satellite, Western Union, Satelco and Grenich. But as his heart and soul were in the service, James became active in the Fleet Reserve Association (FRA) a congressionally chartered, non-profit organization representing the interests of current and former enlisted members of the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. His Branch, 226, represents FRA shipmates who reside in New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

James has taken the FRA legislative agenda to Capitol Hill, urging adequate funding for Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA) health care programs.

James enjoys time with his wife Isoris, his five children and eight grandchildren.

Sponsored by James M. Haynes III - CEO, The United Staten Island Veterans Organization, Inc.

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