Admiral (R) J. Paul Reason grew up in Washington D.C., where his parents were both educators. Before attending the Naval Academy, he spent one year each at Swarthmore College, Lincoln University (Pennsylvania), and Howard University. During his junior year at Howard, ADM Reason received an appointment to Annapolis, and he joined the Naval Academy Class of 1965. Upon graduating, he volunteered for service in the surface nuclear force. While on cruises, he was frequently the only African-American officer onboard, but he never perceived that his race was an issue. Admiral Reason rose to become the first African-American four-star Admiral in the U.S. Navy, and in 2010, he was named a Distinguished Graduate of the Naval Academy.
In this interview, he discusses his experiences as the Naval Academy, and the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s. He talks about his various assignments in the Navy, and rising through the ranks over his career. Finally, he describes his service during the Vietnam War and leadership in the Navy.