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*Joseph Reason was born on this date in 1941. He is a retired Navy officer.
Joseph Paul Reason was bornin Washington, D.C., he is the son of Joseph Reason and his wife, Bernice. His father was a professor of romance languages and director of libraries at Howard University and his mother was a high school teacher of biology. Young Reason grew up in a multiracial environment, he participated in an integrated Boy Scout troop and attended McKinley Technology High School. He spent a period every summer at a camp on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. In 1957–58, during his senior year in high school, Reason became interested in the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps but was not selected.
Following this rejection, he spent his freshman year at Swarthmore College, his sophomore year at Lincoln University (Pennsylvania), and his junior year at Howard University. As he was completing his junior year at Howard University, Congressman Charles Diggs, Jr. encouraged him to apply to the United States Naval Academy. Accepted for the Naval Academy Class of 1965, Reason reported to Annapolis as a midshipman in June 1961 and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in naval science and a commission as an ensign in June 1965. Three days later, he married Dianne Lillian Fowler in the Naval Academy Chapel. They have a son and a daughter.
Earlier in his career, as a commander, he was naval aide to the President of the United States, Jimmy Carter, from December 1976 to June 1979. In 1996, Reason became the first Black officer in the United States Navy to become a four-star admiral. In 1990 Reason was promoted to Vice Admiral and given command of Naval Surface Forces in the Atlantic Fleet. When Reason was elevated to four-star Admiral in 1996, he was made Commander in Chief of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet composed of more than 190 ships, 1,300 aircraft, and 120,000 personnel at 17 naval bases, a post he held until he retired from the service in 1999.
Reason was vice president for ship systems at SYNTEK Technologies, Inc. of Arlington, Virginia, from the end of his naval service in 1999 until 2000. He then became president and COO, and vice chairman of Metro Machine Corp., a ship repair company, from 2000 to 2006. He has been a director of Amgen, Inc., Norfolk Southern Corporation, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Todd shipyards, as well as a member of the Oak Ridge Associated Universities, and the National War Powers Commission. In 2008, he was appointed to a four-year term as a member of the Secretary of the Navy's Advisory Subcommittee on Naval History. In 2019, Reason donated his 42-foot fishing boat, the Sea Dog, to the Potomac Riverkeeper Network to use in conducting regular water quality tests of the Potomac River in Reason's native Washington, D.C.