Capt. D. Monique Brown – Commanding Officer, Navy Reserve, Navy-Marine Corps Appellate Review Activity – took part in a joint swearing-in ceremony during the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas on Jan. 4.
Brown – alongside O6 representatives from every branch of military service, as well as an Air Force flag officer – formally enlisted 25 new Navy recruits on the football field during halftime, while a crowd of more than 38,000 fans cheered them on. She also took part in the recognition of more than 200 Purple Heart awardees and other military veterans in attendance.
“I was immensely honored to be selected to play a role in the Armed Forces Bowl,” said Brown, a native of Norfolk, Va. “To be part of a celebration of Purple Heart recipients and other veterans, who have sacrificed so much, made the experience even more of an honor.”
“It was about way more than just holding up my hand to swear in recruits at a football game,” she added.
The game featured a lively match-up of the Southern Miss Golden Eagles (of Conference USA) and the Tulane Green Wave (of the American Athletic Conference). Brown was accompanied at the game by a good friend, an O5 Army National Guard doctor, whom she met during a deployment to Djibouti from 2017 to 2018.
Prior to the game, Brown enjoyed a luncheon, during which she was seated at the head table. At the game – which featured quite a bit of action and excitement on the field – special seats were reserved for Brown and her fellow honorees, and they had access to a stadium box with plentiful food. Throughout the weekend, Brown interacted with football players, the Fort Worth mayor, flag officers, and the Purple Heart awardees, whom she calls the “real VIPs.”
“I hope every recruit remembers all the cheers and applause as they made a commitment that fewer than 1 percent of Americans are willing to do,” she said. “To have thousands of people express appreciation for the recruits’ decisions was significant.”
Brown noted that she was the only female military officer who participated in the festivities. She also reported that a number of African-American veterans approached her at the events and – acknowledging that she is one of a fairly small, but growing, the population of African-American O6s in the Navy – told her they were proud of her.
“That made the experience so much more meaningful, not only to me, but to others,” she said. “Diversity is a sign of strength.”
Brown commissioned in the Navy Law Student Program in 2000. Upon graduating from Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis later that year, she began her first active-duty judge advocate assignment. She remained on active duty until 2007, serving in various capacities, from legal assistance attorney to defense counsel. After affiliating with the Navy Reserve Law Program, Brown was assigned to a wide range of duty stations, from Japan, to Texas, to Djibouti – and more. She began her current tour in 2018.
She is proud of the Navy’s record on diversity.
“In a time when, as far as this country has come with respect to race and gender equality, we have a ways to go, and the Navy continues to be out front in valuing minorities,” Brown said. “It is the first branch of service with an African-American Judge Advocate General, a female Judge Advocate General, and a four-star female admiral. We truly are better together.”