Jacquelyn Stokes and Quenton Stokes-Brown

Recorded April 15, 2021 Archived April 5, 2021 39:40 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: ddv000613


Jacquelyn Stokes (65) and her son Quenton Stokes-Brown (25) discuss the members of their family who have served in the military: Dr. Lewis Wright Jr, Thomas Elder Stokes, Charles “Sonny” Couch, Wadesworth Brown Jr, and Jasen Wadesworth Brown.

Subject Log / Time Code

Quenton (QSB) talks about his great uncle, Dr. Lewis Wright Jr., who was in college when Pearl Harbor occurred. QSB explains Uncle Lewis attended Camp Swift in Texas where he was segregated away from the White troops. QSB says Uncle Lewis later attended Howard University and studied to become a dentist; he then went on to be a pharmacist.
Jacquelyn (JS) shares that both her father and Uncle Lewis’ studied were interrupted by WWII.
QSB discusses an article about his grandfather, Thomas Elder Stokes, titled “17 Negros Arrive to Camp,” dated October 29th, 1917. QSB explains his grandfather was the leader of the colored contingent and goes on to explain his grandfather’s service in the military.
JS discusses her cousin Charles “Sonny” Couch who served in the military during the Vietnam war from 1961 to 1968. JS explains cousin Sonny worked with third party contractors to handle transportation logistics. JS notes some challenges and some highlights of cousin Sonny’s military service.
QSB discusses his grandfather, Thomas Elder Stokes, who served in the Army during WWII as a supply specialist. QSB shares his grandfather later went on to become a pharmacist.
QSB reads a funny letter his grandfather wrote to his wife, dated April 19th, 1943.
JS discusses her husband and QSB’s father’s, Wadesworth Brown Jr., service in the Air Force. JS says Wadesworth never rode on a plane or touched a gun during his time in the Air Force.
QSB and JS discuss the service of Jasen Wadesworth Brown, their older brother and son, respectively. They explain Jasen enlisted in the military right after high school, was in basic training in Fort Jackson when 9/11 occurred, and later studied to become a supply specialist. QSB and JS talk about Jasen’s deployments to Iraq, Korea, and Afghanistan.


  • Jacquelyn Stokes
  • Quenton Stokes-Brown


Partnership Type



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00:04 Okay, so my name is Quinton, stokes-brown and I am 25 years. Old. Today is Thursday, April 15th 2021 recording from Columbia, South Carolina with my mother. And we're going to be discussing our family members who are veterans of the US Military.

00:29 Hi, my name is Jackie Stokes and I am 65 years old. Today's date is Thursday, April 15th, 2021. I'm recording from Columbia, South Carolina with my son.

00:44 And he is, I'm also a documentary filmmaker. So we want to document aurelie information about members of our family that spent time in the military.

01:01 So, I'm going to begin by asking Quentin if he would share some. Thanks again. Formation about his great uncle Louis, right? Yeah, so Uncle Lou

01:17 Well, he was born when he went to Pittsburgh, but he was

01:34 He was at, and he was, he was in college, when Pearl Harbor happened. I believe that he was at Duquesne University and then he, when he was drafted. He was sent to a place called Camp, Swift in Texas and

01:57 During that time. He went through some. I like some basic training, I believe.

02:03 And then he was ultimately able to go to dental school.

02:12 I think it was richly dental and then he went in the pharmacy. I will be, but he was he? When he ended up going to that. I guess it was The Graduate School at Howard University, you was at Camp Swift in Texas.

02:27 And a man in Bastrop County, Texas County.

02:35 And while he was there, you know, he was, he was segregated with a few other African American troops.

02:44 And then there was another black soldier who actually, like, submitted his Uncle. Louie submitted its application on whose behalf to go to a dental program, at Howard University and just a few. The other thing was the day just a few hours before they were supposed to be deployed to Europe. He got his orders that he was to be sent to Howard University board for his medical program, that you was at the Genesee and the guy that submit application for him, was how our seeing them. And I'm not entirely sure what his motive was, but I think he was trying to, like, help Uncle Lou out and so, you know, so you would have to go

03:46 You know, be deployed but he was when he was when he was sent to Howard. He was briefly before that. He was sent to Texas A&M University or it was actually a mistake. He wasn't they sent it to the wrong Duty station. And is that the name of a Swiss know that was not that was not where he was originally at Champs will Camp Swift and from there. He was briefly and that was the wrong Duty station that they sent him to.

04:32 Is where Texas A&M is now and he wasn't supposed to go there. He was supposed to go someplace out where he was taking his, he was taking classes at Texas A&M briefly before he was sent to Howard. He was sitting there and nobody was talking about was how he was segregated about.

05:04 The a few days before they sent him to Howard. They actually allows them in this some high-ranking officers, hold that he did, he was away. He was away from home. So, but he had his nice house and they, they just put them up in the house because they were trying to keep him away from White roots.

05:28 But yeah, he buy and then you're supposed to come up. This huge dining hall that has like two thousand soldiers and would he would sit in there alone? Because they specifically put him there about 20 or 30 minutes before the white troops would come in to you know, keep them separate. It wasn't talking about that. Apparently the colonel at Texas A&M was ironically named Louis. White's. Apparently is what he said is his name was so he was he was having trouble out of that.

06:08 But yeah, but I don't, I'm not sure about it being the wrong. I mean, from from what I understood, he was sent there.

06:16 He was at Camp Swift and then he was able to go to school. I guess if he'd already going to do anything and then this Soldier put to this application and then he was granted the ability to leave to go to school. Right? And then they were briefly, like transferred him to Texas A&M and then you will see Middle Point that they tried to get him out of there as soon as they, you know, cuz the truck is really why. So, you know, we don't have any Edwards here. I don't, I'm not sure exactly how long he was there, but he was not there for an extended.

07:06 Evidently during that period of time because Uncle Lou and my dad were the same age and they went into the military around the same time. They both had started college and then they went into the military, so they stopped their set, their college studies, but because of their service in the military, when they got out, they were able to go go back and finish up. So they may have started one place and finish up some place else that mean, that's what? They both ended up doing. His. Dad's dad started at Duquesne University to, and he ended up finishing up at University of Pittsburgh. So,

07:48 So, the war just kind of interrupted.

07:51 Their their, their plans, I think for their studies, which is what I think happened. The reason why he started and stopped and it went and got that opportunity and Howard. Can you speak a little bit about what happened?

08:10 II.

08:12 Daddy Stokes, your great-grandfather or the event of the troops that he was with when they ended up going to Fort Lee. What is called Fort Lee? Now in Petersburg. It's been at that time. They called they refer to it as can't lie. I evidently during that. Of time. A lot of the forts work all camps Fort Lee and can't wait on Fort Jackson here in Columbia. Would have been called Camp Jackson. So when Daddy Stokes, which is my grandfather, Quentin's great-grandfather was in the Army and during World War 1.

08:58 Yes, all we have is article.

09:08 From the Greensburg was it called the Greensburg Wing review. The telegram from Thomas East. Stokes announced 17 men were in the best of spirits. That's Greensburg Saturday afternoon.

09:34 And then they were, I guess they were in some sort of like.

09:40 Their actually, and I got some sort of, like, group, with Civil War veterans who fought to free their forefathers of men, acted as escorts and Spanish-American war men were in the Parade band and drum corps. So they ran a they were in some sort of like parade, I guess before they were supposed to be arriving at camp. We with some Civil War veterans.

10:11 And then the day is from October 29th, 1970 to 1917.

10:29 Let's see you again.

10:33 ESO says.

10:39 Yeah. Veterans of the Civil War who fought in 18061 and 1861 for the freedom of their forefathers of the color form. An escort for the boys who will fight for the freedom of the world. In a parade, over the streets of the Town, prior to their the training. It was a sight that stirred memories of the past, in the minds of veterans and brought visions of the future, the minds of the Marchers, Spanish-American War, veterans, and Men of the national Army home on Liberty Bond campaigns also marched as escorts to the colored contentious.

11:25 And then it says the brake pedal by a detail of a State Police and charged by Sergeant, Robert Graham music was furnished by the sea.

11:40 Fifth Ward, fireman Drum Corps and Scottdale colored.

11:47 Yeah, and then this is where I talk about my great-grandfather members of the local and a pellet boards were also in line, Thomas, Elder Stokes and then it says in front of seeds. Dip what you said a nickname is was the leader of the contingent.

12:05 It's a charge until the boys arrived in Camp. The citizen soldiers were given Comfort kits and knives in the Sheriff's Office, prior to their departure, friends are the boys in the contingent and Spectators lined the streets and cheered as they marched past at the station, a regular.

12:29 Jonathan caitian was called the band played. Ragtime in each folder would take a partner and dance on the platform. They were a Mary crowd and saying almost continuously.

12:42 Wow,, you have a good time.

12:50 It cuts off and it has what has a list of the soldiers but that's basically what it was describing. So we have this article basically describing his

13:01 Experience being, you know what, he was supposed to be. I'm not sure if he was ever destroyed or not.

13:13 That's something that we have to dig deeper to find out.

13:18 But yeah, it's interesting that but that can't be with her now call Courtney and Petersburg was his on his duty station because you're we have another connection to port to Petersburg because your dad grew up in Petersburg. So that was kind of interesting.

13:41 A lot of people that were in the in the Army at some point pass before Italy is it, say, it's also a training facility. So, your brother actually went there for some train when he was in the military. So here's what was go. Cuz I was at the same time, the Spanish flu is going on, Spanish Flu, pandemic was going on at that time. And what was he? How is daddy still stealing that? And then also the fact that he became a pharmacist and had his Pharmacy, The Fifth Ward Pharmacy in 1919 in Greensburg. How was that, know? What role do you play in the pandemic with? I guess that's helping with Medical Care in Sabine medication affecting.

14:33 You know, every time I know how it is and I'm suspected people color so much. How is it affecting people's color? Then, you know, that's something. I'd be insane to find out more about just kind of in a sign.

14:49 Okay, so

14:53 I had a chance to talk to.

14:58 Your dad and I, and our cousin. Sunny's cousin. Sonny said, sometime in the military and during the Vietnam war.

15:12 And he actually enlisted into the military, into the US Army and he did his basic and Advanced Training right here in Columbia, South Carolina at Fort Jackson. He spent about 15 months at Fort Jackson and his training because he did base again and Advanced Training and his training was with the weapons.

15:40 He actually ended up working though, with a transportation.

15:47 And it was a special area called transport military. He would transport military dependents. He would make arrangements or any soldiers that may be moving from one location to another. He made arrangements for transport of their personal items. And also if they have family members that had to go to another Duty station or different location. So his main job was to work with third-party contractors to make all of that.

16:29 Transportation happen to make sure that everyone's things got from point. A to point B. He was deployed to Vietnam and and I did basically the same thing while he was in Vietnam and constitute air base is called and he did two back-to-back tours in Vietnam. So he ended up doing about a little more than two years on that.

17:05 The tours Tour of Duty that he did in Vietnam, he came back briefly to the United States. After that, to spend some time with family, and I actually 13 is a 13 year difference between me and Charles Couch, recalling funny. And so, I actually remember when he came back from Vietnam, I was little girl, but I remember when he came back and he was able to spend time with him. I just remember everybody being so excited that he was going to be able to come. And then he went to France for three years. After that. He was in a small community call. A Laura Laura shell, it's a small community. And it was a small are a small military base.

17:59 I'm not far from Paris continuing to do the same thing to arrange for transport transportation for military military personnel.

18:13 And then he returned back to the United States, to Fort McNair, for two years and continue to work. In transportation Fort McNair is in Washington DC. And at that point you made the decision to come out of the military. So he went into the military in 1961 and he came out in 1968. He knew that if he continued on after the, after the two years at Fort McNair and East in Washington DC that he definitely would be deployed again, and actually that was around 1968, that was kind of a dangerous time in Vietnam. So he made the decision to come out.

19:02 Some of the challenges that he, he felt as a person that spent time in the military during the Vietnam war. He said his challenges were adjusting to being back home when he came back to Fort McNair, because it spent so much time away and had experienced so many things being

19:25 Yahweh in Vietnam and I'm being over in France. So he said that was a challenge for him to adjust to being back home and put one of the highlights was some of the highlights from getting promoted to a G5 and and he know he made some accomplishments while he was in the military and making making new friends and friendships in new relationships. I did ask him a question about what were some of the challenges that he may have had as an African American in the military during that time. And he said the one that really stood out to him, the most was when he was stationed at here in Columbia, South Carolina, Fort Jackson.

20:13 Because he said, when you went off base that he just never places. He couldn't go, there were like certain doors. He couldn't go in or, you know, they were separate bathrooms. Are certain stories. He couldn't shop in and that was really nice talking to him even though he grew up in Baltimore, Maryland. And any spent time in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where a lot of our family is from, he just he just said that was just major to him. That was a hard experience for him. And that was the only time that he had any kind of experience like that when he was here in South Carolina at. And he was based at Fort Jackson. He said, he on the base, he was okay, but once he stepped off the bass into

21:01 The community than that, that's when things changed. So I just thinking in terms of where Fort Jackson, I report Jackson is located in those communities that surround Fort Jackson, of course, really back then I could see, you know, cuz so Jim Crow was still,

21:21 Operating, even though,

21:24 It shouldn't have been but it's still one and even though he grew up in Baltimore, which is still below the Mason-Dixon line. I just think that his experiences in Baltimore were probably more specific growing up there because he grew up in a middle-class predominately black neighborhood where she probably was just in that, you know, operating in that that family in that community and there was no need for him to step out of that many cuz all his needs were met at that time. So so it was kind of interesting that feedback they gave me on that.

22:08 Did you did you have some money?

22:11 Other things you want to share with us, cute your dad like my grandfather.

22:22 He is Thomas Elder, Stokes Jr.

22:34 He was in the Army at the same time. Uncle Luke was in and he was actually here in in Greenville, South Carolina. We're going to South Carolina Greenville in the upstate. It's like an hour and a half away from here. So he was actually deploy to the European theater during the war to Italy and Union Station in Rome.

23:08 And we have a picture of him with some other soldiers when they were in Rome.

23:16 And I believe he was also he was a supply specialist. I believe this like Jason and he drove.

23:27 He drove the Jeep. So I think and she was driving a variety of military vehicles on these and other types of vehicles. They have fuses. And our our grandfather. It was doing the same thing, you know, take it easy earlier and you're one thing that

23:59 He always at his his letter, that.

24:03 Granddad wrote to my grandmother, his wife before they got married, right. Is this funny letter? It was sent in.

24:20 April, April 19th 1943 results on April 15th. What is the weather in a very kind of?

24:37 You know.

24:40 That the Levee whole letter is written as this keys.

24:46 He's going, he's going to propose to her, to marry her at, you know, at the end of this letter. And at the end.

24:53 He asked.

24:57 He has neither the last prices in reply. Please be positive, sincere, and truthful, Above All The Spence, with all thought of hurting my feelings. Be honest. Tell me. Do you think the Lone Ranger should sell his horse? If he is, drafted, so that's it was a joke. Like an innocent esns is always yours, private, Thomas East, Stokes and Isis. PS. Did you like that? So he was still, it was a, he was kind of like joking with kind of like messing with her. And of course, the Lone Ranger was a popular TV show back then and we just kind of like, you know, the whole, you know, the whole letter he's like one of us is ever since I first met you you were very friendly but as weeks and months passed by the feelings grew into something more beautiful and sincere. So it's like it's is all written as though, you know, professing his love for her and he's wants to marry her. Then you ask silly.

25:57 Question at the end and I think it just gives you insight into his

26:03 You know, they say, his character and his personality and it was actually sent from

26:10 Greenville news station is has a hundred.

26:15 100 and 1950 2nd, Ordnance company.

26:23 Company D Avenue, Greenville Army, Air Base, and that's the same Airbase. That's that's that's still here in Greenville, South Carolina. And I think it was a it was training facility. I believe, I don't think he was there. Long, did basic training there, but I keep thinking it.

27:03 That he did some basic training or some kind of training. Will it be in Greenville?

27:12 He met some young lady while he was there, or her name was Jacqueline, or chance something. And cuz later, my mom knew about some girl that he knew when he was down in Greenville. And that her name was Jacqueline, Hortense something in my mother liked the name Jacqueline, but that Hortense was not happening. So just so you know, my name is Jacqueline. My middle name is not working. So she like that name because of old girlfriend.

27:48 So, if I did speak to

27:53 Your dad by his experiences in the Air Force and he enlisted in January, 1976 and US Air Force. And he did his basic training, which was six weeks at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.

28:17 It was not too long after Vietnam, the Vietnam War United States involvement in the Vietnam War. It was too long after that, and as a result, he did not have a, a drill instructor for a while. When he's in his basic training, the drill instructor bit. They initially had was having a baby and, and, and he had to leave. So, finally, they got a new sergeant.

28:52 And he arrived Midway through the training but their flight 3701, still became an honor flight and meaning that they achieved their goal of their training at a high level with and without direct supervision. So you seem to be really very proud about that. So, he did his training in the Air Force, at technical school about 12, if the training, and it's one of the longest training session for healthcare jobs in the Air Force.

29:35 Is training with a become a dental technician.

29:40 And during his training. He's had a private room.

29:45 Yeah, she he said that they actually called it summer camp because they had private rooms at nice accommodations during this training and was doing that. Of time that he injured injured, his knee while he was at tech school. And that would later qualify him as a disabled veteran because of that injury that he had during that period of time while he was in this technical school training. He later was based at Fort Smith Air Force Base and Oscoda, Michigan.

30:20 And he was there from the latter part of 1976 until 1980.

30:27 During that time, he made a dental prosthetic dentures and appliances and

30:37 He never was on a plane or never touched the gun during this during his time in the Air Force. He was a dental technician. That was what he did. He lived in a cabin off of a lake during this period of time that he was in Wharton Smith at work, Smith Air Force Base.

31:00 He said he didn't have any TV.

31:05 And,

31:08 The training was a highlight because of

31:12 The training was a highlight of his career. He said that that training was was very good. He left the military in 1980 and he did work for a few years as a dental technician in. California is Cedar Sinai Medical Center, but decided not to continue in the field because

31:35 He said the Prosthetics that he made were functional, but he said aesthetically they weren't what they should have been and he said that he felt that you had that it it would help if you had some kind of artistry. So in his mind is a technical aspect and then there's an Artistry as far as making on the Prosthetics Dental Prosthetics. So, I'm he, he decided not to continue on because he just felt like he didn't have that higher level of artistry that you need to do to be a successful Dental technician.

32:17 I thought it was so that's why it's worth Brown, Junior your dad. I'm not sure if you spend time in the Army, but he worked at 4 weeks. He working towards me. But I'm not sure if he actually was in the military at one time. You could have been. I'm not sure. It's a great question or something for us to find out.

32:50 Get on top of all of that, you know, we don't even sometimes I don't even think about it right away, but I'm not sure but he did work at Fort Lee. Yes. I'm not sure. And I'm not sure if he worked there as a retired veteran or or at the civilian, the story about Jason. I guess cuz I know you even spoke to him and we can probably do another interview. That would be nice to do one with Jason. Yeah, he's been the most

33:38 Basic training here at Fort Jackson. When 9/11 happened. What did you coming? Yes, he went into the military right right around the time of the

33:57 9/11, he he enlisted and he did his basic training here in Columbia, South Carolina at Fort Jackson, which is still a major training facility for military.

34:13 So that was a 8 weeks basic combat training and then he went on to do his own specialty, training at Fort Lee, in Petersburg, back up to for it, to Petersburg where Jason and Quenton, dad grew up. And during that time, he did his training to become a supply specialist.

34:40 And it is training, included learning about weapons and armor and also documenting, monthly and yearly inventory with his Commander. His first Duty station was at Fort Hood in Texas, and he was at a Signal Battalion working in Communications. He was deployed in, December 2003 to Iraq.

35:07 Or year, Ashley was about 13 months. Doing that deployment. He did a lot of moving around during his deployment of troops that were stationed in Iraq, with supplies that they needed for their jobs.

35:30 After that, he came back home. And then he stayed here for about 6 months, and he was deployed again for another year returning to Fort Hood. And then in July, 2009 went to Fort Lee for basic non-commissioned Officer school and made the

35:54 The commander the commandant list and certify them to at least six to staff sergeant. Prior to that. He actually came back here to Fort Jackson for about three years. So he went to Fort Hood came here for three years, which was great because he was back home. He was here and we enjoy that time and who he was stationed here at Fort Jackson. And then after you went up, back up to Fort Lee for that additional training and promoted to staff sergeant. Then he went off to Korea for a year while still working as an in Supply, is a Supply Sergeant or helicopter division assault support Battalion return to Fort Hood in 2010, and then deploy to Afghanistan.

36:44 In 2011, for year of the supply sergeant. And then after that, he came back to Fort Hood and then he came out of the military in October 2013. He enjoyed his time in the military, some of the things that he talked about as far as challenges where the limited resources in areas where he deployed, not being able to call home, initially learning to work with different people of different backgrounds and having the capacity to deal with that everyday. So the highlights for traveling to war zone.

37:29 Germany, Korea, guitar theme, various cultures clothing, experiencing different climates and he develop lifelong friendships and staying in touch daily with those friends that he developed those friendships with through social media. So he still has those friendships with you which are a great thing to have. And he said that it that it also taught him that he's mentally strong and can adapt to any situation that he's put in and he can work with anyone. He's kind of feels like he's a chameleon. Overall. He enjoyed his time and he's grateful for the experience and it's it's made him a man that he is today.

38:11 He spent 12 years in the military, we came out.

38:18 You know, why don't we?

38:22 I was thinking how lucky we are that he's still with us cuz I mean he was in such a dangerous, you know situations, you know, I know President Biden has just announced that he's going to get all the troops out of Afghanistan is having his book bag.

38:42 That he had an extra hats and from the desert in it in the bottom out of here at the house with us.

38:51 Oh, yeah, it's just I was just very proud of him and everything you've accomplished.

39:01 I was going to be Yoshi.

39:03 I think anyone asked you. I think we recovered about three different generations of family members that have spent time in the military from World War 1 for your 401. Yeah. Yes.

39:29 In.

39:32 Uncle Lou.