Why now? Eighteen months ago, I received a call from my eldest son who is now living in Oregon with his family. Our conversation covers the usual items about my grand-kids and their performance in school. The discussion focuses on Jordan IV entering the high school Army ROTC program following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. When out of the blue my son asks me why I haven’t written a book about my life experiences. I stated that there are some things in my past that I didn’t want to share with the world. There were significant accomplishments which had brought me notoriety in the 1970's, but there were some things that may be harmful even after 40 years. He compared my accomplishments to those of a pacesetter or pioneer for African Americans entering the military. Although I did not make it to the flag rank of general in the Marines Corps, I did reach field grade level with a final rank of Major. I served for 20 years on active duty and in the reserves. I played a major part in the first Gulf War (another untold story). I did not earn a retirement because of broken time when living overseas in Japan. I still would do it again. So I did not think anyone would want to read about a Marine Corps Veteran of the first Gulf War who became a teacher and earned a doctorate while teaching mathematics in a public high school.
But then he reminded me of my accomplishments at Annapolis. He said Dad, “there is a picture of you in the Naval Museum at the Naval Academy.” Jordan IV’s grandfather’s picture is just a few feet away from the uniforms of Farragut, Nimitz, and a few other historical names in Naval History. He stated, “That times were tough for Blacks in the 1970s, and because of you many Blacks who would enter the Naval Academy and the Marine Corps later would not suffer from discrimination and have more opportunities because of your success at Annapolis. My son Jordan continues to say, “Your story needs to be told so that people will know, I need to know, your grandson needs to know, even your students need to know about your accomplishments which are now unpublished.”
I never knew or even heard of Wesley Brown until some 68 years after he accomplished his historic event. The Academy even named a field house after him in 2006 that I never knew about until researching about this book.
So this book is more than about Annapolis. It is more about a time, a part of my life, the good and the bad which makes me who I am today. If this book can just change one person to do better than yesterday then I will have been successful!
Dr. Jordan B smith jr.
I attended the U. S. Naval Academy from 1972-1976 earning a B.S. in Mathematics. Served 20 years both active and reserve in the US Marines. Veteran of the Desert Shield/Storm. I earned a MAED and Ed D. specializing in curriculum and instruction from the University of Phoenix in 2015. I graduated from CBC High School in Clayton, MO in 1972.