Green River Star -

Brent Dean Foster


Courtesy photo

Brent Dean Foster

Brent Dean Foster, 77, passed away July 28, 2017, in Bonita, Calif., with family at his side.

He was born Aug. 23, 1939, in Rock Springs, but was a Green River native. He was a 1957 Green River High School graduate. He then attended the University of Wyoming and graduated with the class of 1961.

In 1961, Foster joined the United States Navy. In 1965, Foster served in the Vietnam War. He retired as a Commander from the Navy in 1982. During his time in the Navy, Foster was recognized for numerous things over his career, but one of the most notable wasn't discovered for decades. Perhaps the most important of all his Navy services, contributions and accomplishments is something for which he never received an award or official recognition. Foster was the principle pioneer in the creation and development of the new maritime patrol tactical aircrew protocol and procedures. He helped write the book on airborne antisubmarine warfare. He was one of the very first commissioned U.S. Navy tactical coordinators, initially assigned to VP-22 in the early 1960s. He flew in both the P2V and the new P3A. In the newly minted position of tactical coordinator, his responsibilities were to take information from the enlisted sensor operators, determine the position of the target submarine and direct the pilot on where to position the aircraft in order for that aircraft to follow the target. The pilot has control of the aircraft, but relinquishes control of the mission to the tactical coordinator.

In those early days naval flight officers, as the non-pilot tactical coordinators were designated, were not eligible for squadron command. Foster was one of the first to screen for squadron command, a rare achievement for naval flight officers.

Today, generations later, all that has changed, and the overall commander of the entire joint Pacific military complex -- U.S. Navy, U.S. Army, U.S., Air Force and U.S. Marines -- is a P3 Naval flight officer.

That four-star admiral, Harry Harris, who was six years old when Foster earned his wings, can thank Foster for setting the bar exceptionally high a half century ago and ensuring that those who came later were held to the those lofty standards. After his time in the service, Foster worked for DynCorp for about 20 years, and he then retired. Foster enjoyed playing golf where his rule was, "no three putts." On his trips to Wyoming, he enjoyed hunting elk, antelope and Sage grouse. He was also a tour guide on the USS Midway, which is docked in San Diego, Calif. He was proud of his naval service and was happy to share some of his experiences through his role as a tour guide.

In his later years, Foster spent time collecting Railroad photographs and treasured two telegraph keys his parents used on the railroad in the Green River yard.

Survivors include his wife, Peggy; son, Tyler; and daughter, Sarah.

He was preceded in death by his father, Bert; mother, Fern; and brother, Robin.

A memorial service and celebration of life took place in Bonita, Calif., Aug. 23, 2017.


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