Major Gen. Ronald E. Brooks, 80, died March 22. He was the last commanding general of Fort Benjamin Harrison, and the City of Lawrence Government Center is named in his honor.
Gen. Brooks was born in eastern Tennessee in the town of Rogersville Sept. 12, 1937. A husband, father and grandfather, he lived a life of duty, honor and sacrifice for others and his country. Ron and his wife, Drusilla (Muse) Brooks were married for 60 years. They wrere residents of Lawrence and members of Sunnyside Road Baptist Church.
He graduated from East Tennessee State University, having attended on a football scholarship. He was honored and named “Mr. ETSU” his senior year, and upon graduation, was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He later received an MBA at Butler University.
His Army career began as an infantry officer at Fort Benning, Ga., and he later joined the Army’s Adjutant General’s Corps. Brooks served two tours of duty in Vietnam. During his career, he also served at Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico; Fort Rucker, Ala.; Fort Harrison, Ind.; Fort Leavenworth, Kan.; the U.S. Army War College; Carlisle Barracks, Penn.; and in Washington, D.C., and Germany.
He was promoted to brigadier general in 1985 and subsequently served in a series of senior leadership roles developing and implementing critical wartime personnel management capabilities and essential support services for soldiers. In 1989, he was promoted to major general and assumed duties as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, U.S. Army Europe and Seventh Army.
His military career culminated as the Commanding General, U.S. Army Soldier Support Center at Fort Benjamin Harrison – a post he took great pride in having served multiple times throughout his career. In this capacity, Brooks’ instrumental leadership and direction enabled mobilization successes during Operation Desert Storm and Operation Desert Shield.
Gen. Brooks ended his last tour of active duty as the driving force behind the successful transition of Fort Harrison from an active-duty Army post to a thriving, civilian community. This enormous achievement spurred economic growth for the community of Lawrence, fostered the establishment and growth of residing U.S. Army Reserve and Indiana National Guard units and secured recreation and support services for military reservists, national guardsmen, military retirees and the local community.
Brooks’ family held memorial services March 26 at The Garrison at Fort Harrison and on March 27 at Ivy Tech in Lawrence.
Memorial donations may be made to the Fisher House at fisherhouse.org or to the Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation at hvafofindiana.org.