Carl Brashear (1931 - 2006) was the first Black-American master diver in the
U.S. Navy, despite a crippling injury. He was born in Tonneyville, Kentucky, on
January 19, 1931, to a sharecropper family and raised in Sonora, Kentucky.
Master Chief Brasher joined the Navy in February 1948 at the age of 17. Confined
to the galley, like most Blacks and Filipinos of the era, master Chief Brashear
decided to make deep-sea diving his profession, which was unheard of for a
Black-American sailor at the time. He was admitted to the Navy Dive School and
overcame a seventh grade education to have a notable career as a navy diver. In
1966, carl lost half his left leg during a diving mission. Through remarkable
courage and force of will, he convinced Navy officers that he was capable of
performing his duty, even as an amputee. Not only did he continue to dive, but
he also went on to earn his master diver certification in 1970, becoming the
first black master diver in Naval history. in 1998, he became one of only seven
enlisted men to be enshrined in the naval archives. Master Chief Brashear's
heroic life story and indomitable spirit became the basis for the 2000 film,
"Men of Honor". Brashear died of respiratory and heart failure at the Portsmouth
Naval Medical Center, Portsmouth, Virginia on July 25, 2006.
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