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Capt. Robert Paul Brett, Sr. (USN Ret.)October 13, 1922 ~ December 3, 2017 (age 95)
Captain Robert Paul Brett, Sr. (USN Ret.), 95, passed away December 3, 2017. He was born in Atlanta, GA on Friday the thirteenth of October in 1922 to the late May Ferfuson and Rolfe H. Brett.
Robert moved to Port Washington, Long Island, NY at the age of 10 and was very proud of becoming an Eagle Scout at the age of 13, the youngest in Nassau County. He graduated from Port Washington High School in 1940 and attended the University of Georgia from 1940-1943. He enlisted in the Navy V-7 Program Oct. 1942. In June 1943 he was called to active duty in the U.S. Navy. Robert married Grace Elizabeth Walton of Savannah, GA, the beautiful Bergdorf Goodman model on May 26, 1945 in NY City, a Drama Major, Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority member and former classmate at the School of Fine Arts at the University of Georgia. Robert served on the LST 390 in the Pacific and participated in the Saipan, Iwo Jima & Okinawa invasions. After his honorable discharge in 1946 he returned to his wife’s home in Savannah, GA where he graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree. He joined the NBC radio affiliate WSAV as “Morning Man” and Promotion Director. In February of 1951 Robert was recalled to active duty for the Korean War. He was awarded Commission as a Lieutenant in the regular Navy in 1955. He was ordered to Boston in 1957 for graduate study at Boston University and Harvard University earning his Master’s Degree in Public Relations at B.U. and completing one year in the Defense Studies Program in School of Public Administration at Harvard under Professors Henry Kissinger and Jon Katzenback, two future cabinet members. From 1958-1962 Bob served as Public Affairs Officer for the Third Naval District in New York City, and the First Naval District Boston, MA. He subsequently served as Fleet Information Office of three major Fleet Commands; the Seventh Fleet, operating at sea out of Yokosuka, Japan, the Pacific Fleet in Hawaii, and the Atlantic Fleet and CincLant, the Joint Atlantic Command in Norfolk, VA. In 1967 and 1968 he served as Special Assistant for Public Affairs on the personal staff of the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, who later became Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Upon retirement from the Navy in 1968 as Captain, Bob was awarded the Legion of Merit award as well as American Area Medal, Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal with two Bronze Stars, Victory Medal World War II, National Defense Service Medal, Navy Occupation Service Medal (Japan), Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Vietnam Service Medial, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with Device. In 1979 he moved to Ponte Vedra Beach, FL and in 2003 moved to Vicar’s Landing Retirement Community.
Robert enjoyed his life to the fullest. He had some unbelievable experiences, such as attending cocktail parties at the White House and had the pleasure of flying in the Presidents’ airplane. He dined in the Blue Room with the President of Korea; had a year at Harvard with Professor Kissinger and later served with him as a pall bearer. He was on the shore under Mt Suribachi at night with “the rocket’s red glare”. He loved that he was in the five leading roles in the productions of the 5 Universities he attended. Until recently, he was an active senior golfer at the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club where he frequently shot his age & received his first hole in one in 2007. He was a regular member of the Vicar’s Landing Croquet Club.
Family members include fiancée Elizabeth Larkin of Vicar’s Landing; son, Robert Paul Brett, Jr. (Judy) of Carova Beach, NC; grandchildren, Corrin Bacs (Charlie) and Amanda Brett (Mike), great-grandchildren, Ryley Capps Harris, Griffin Grace Harris, Miles Grayson Harris & Grace Elizabeth Turk, all of Virginia Beach, VA. Robert was predeceased by his beloved wife, Grace Elizabeth Walton Brett, and brother, John R. Brett, retired U.S. Marine officer and F.B.I. Agent.
Interment will be held at a later date for Robert and Grace in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA.