Down No More
Carl Brashear, 1st black Navy diver, dies
Brashear, 75, succumbed to respiratory and heart failure on Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times reported.
In addition to being the Navy's first black diver, Brashear was the first black and the first amputee to achieve the rank of Navy Master Diver. He lost a leg in 1966 in an accident while on a team working to retrieve a nuclear bomb lost off the coast of Spain.
"He is a symbol of inspiration ... a true example of greatness not only to the African American community but to any race today that aims to achieve in the military," Gooding said.
Brashear joined the Navy in 1948, the year President Truman ordered the integration of the military. To become a diver, Brashear had to fight the Navy attitude that blacks should be limited to housekeeping jobs, meet demanding physical requirements and overcome his lack of formal education - he was a seventh-grade dropout - to pass written tests. Link
Hard hat diving is probably the most dangerous job on Earth. It's also the most exclusive occupation. There are fewer hard hat divers in the Navy than there are SEALS. They both go to the same preliminary schools. SEALS continue to learn warfare - divers learn other skills. It is a testament to their dedication, that even though the typical hard hat diver can make $500.00 an hour as a civilian, they choose to remain in the Navy. This man overcame odds and hurdles that make those which confronted Jackie Robinson, pale in comparison. Brasheer was a true American hero in a proportion seldom seen.
Carl Maxie Brashear 1931 - 2006