Master Chief Boatswain’s Mate Carl M. Brashear was raised on a sharecropping farm in Kentucky, enlisted in the Navy in 1948, and pushed past racism and discrimination to become the U.S. Navy’s first African-American diver and then master diver.
His career was shaped by skill, determination, and courage. After losing a leg to a violent shipboard accident in 1966, he drove himself in recovery to train and then, in essence, demand that the Navy recertify him for full duty as a diver.
The 2000 motion picture Men of Honor captured his inspirational story and achievements. In these edited excerpts from his Naval Institute oral history, done by Paul Stillwell, he recalls the accident and the subsequent showdown with Navy doctors that led to his recertification.