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 Inspiration for 'Men of Honor' dies, Carl Brashear first black US Navy Diver
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Posted: Jul 26 2006, 04:58 PM


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RICHMOND, Virginia (AP) -- Carl M. Brashear, the first black U.S. Navy diver who was portrayed by Cuba Gooding Jr. in the 2000 film "Men of Honor," died Tuesday. He was 75.

Brashear died at the Naval Medical Center Portsmouth of respiratory and heart failure, the medical center said.

Brashear retired from the Navy in 1979 after more than 30 years of service. He was the first Navy diver to be restored to full active duty as an amputee, the result of a leg injury he sustained during a salvage operation.

"The African-American community lost a great leader today in Carl Brashear," Gooding said of the man he played alongside Robert DeNiro, who was Brashear's roughneck training officer in "Men of Honor." "His impact to us as a people and all races will be felt for many decades to come."

In 1966 Brashear was assigned to recover a hydrogen bomb that dropped into waters off of Spain when two U.S. Air Force planes collided.

During the mission Brashear was struck below his left knee by a pipe that the crew was using to hoist the bomb out of the water. Brashear was airlifted to a naval hospital where the bottom of his left leg was amputated to avoid gangrene. It later was replaced with a prosthetic leg.

The Navy was ready to retire Brashear from active duty, but he soon began a grueling training program that included diving, running and calisthenics.

"Sometimes I would come back from a run, and my artificial leg would have a puddle of blood from my stump. I wouldn't go to sick bay because they would have taken me out of the program," Brashear said in 2002 when he was inducted into the Gallery of Great Black Kentuckians. "Instead, I'd go hide somewhere and soak my leg in a bucket of hot water with salt in it -- that's an old remedy I learned growing up."

Brashear faced an uphill battle when he joined the Navy in 1948 at the age of 17, not long after the U.S. military desegregated.

"I went to the Army office, and they weren't too friendly," Brashear said in 2002. "But the Navy recruiter was a lot nicer. Looking back, I was placed in my calling."

Brashear, the son of poor sharecroppers in Sonora, Kentucky, quickly decided after boot camp that he wanted to become a deep-sea diver.

"Growing up on a farm in Kentucky, I always dreamed of doing something challenging," he said. "When I saw the divers for the first time, I knew it was just what I wanted."

In 1954 he was accepted and graduated from the diving program, despite daily battles with discrimination, including having hate notes left on his bunk.

He went on to train for advanced diving programs before his 1966 incident.

"He kept to himself personally, but his military life was an open book," said Junetta Brashear, his first wife, who lives in Portsmouth, Virginia, near Brashear's home in Virginia Beach.

She said Brashear's health started to deteriorate about three years ago, but that he had experienced problems ever since the amputation.

Brashear married childhood friend Junetta Wilcox in 1952 and had four children -- Shazanta, DaWayne, Phillip and Patrick -- before their divorce in 1978. He later married Hattie R. Elam and Jeanette A. Brundage.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/07/25/brashear.obit.ap/index.html


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Sayaret
Posted: Jul 26 2006, 06:39 PM


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I really enjoy the movie, and watch it quite often in fact. Its a real inspirational movie that teaches steadfastness, honour, loyalty and guts.

Wonder if the character Master Chief Sunday is real or not, cos' that's also another inspirational character, though abit of a hardhead.

Rest in peace Master Chief Carl Brashear.


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"My posts are solely based on personal perspectives and not targeted at any minority nor majority parties' interests. Will not be liable for others' mis-interpretations nor inability to comprehend"
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kanzer
Posted: Jul 26 2006, 08:38 PM


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i remember he came to singapore to promote the movie....anyone still have that news clipping?
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Iowa_BB61
Posted: Jul 26 2006, 10:49 PM


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QUOTE (Sayaret @ 26 JUL 2006)

I really enjoy the movie, and watch it quite often in fact. Its a real inspirational movie that teaches steadfastness, honour, loyalty and guts.

Wonder if the character Master Chief Sunday is real or not, cos' that's also another inspirational character, though abit of a hardhead. Rest in peace Master Chief Carl Brashear.


Yes..., personally saw the flim multiple times through Cable and DVD too. No doubt the flim is pretty inspirational, in it's own rights. And for the answer to your question regarding Master Chief Petty Officer, Leslie William "Billy" Sunday...

QUOTE (MovieOrigins.Com)

Was Robert De Niro's Character, Billy Sunday, A Real Person?

No, he was not a real person. According to the film's press kit, the character of Billy Sunday, who was a Master Chief Navy Diver and instructor at the diving school in the movie, was "a composite of various Navy men."

In the film's press notes, screenwriter Scott Marshall Smith wrote, "This isnít a connect-the-dots biography. I follow Carlís life and career, but my goal was to be true to his spirit, not his shirt size. Everyone wanted the script to resonate as much as possible, so as a dramatist, I sometimes took it up a level.Ē



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This post has been edited by Iowa_BB61 on Jul 26 2006, 10:55 PM
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Sayaret
Posted: Jul 28 2006, 09:33 AM


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Thanks for the infor IOWA.

In fact my wife and I enjoyed the movie so much that we named our Labrador puppie the nickname that Chief Sunday in the movie called Carl Brashear.."Cookie"

No offense intended, but becos' it was the first name that came to our mind.


Master Chief Brashear was a Naval diver, but not the combat type right? I mean he's duty was solely to conduct recovery operations right? Is this type of unit still in existence in the USN? It seems to be a very specialised type of work, as portrayed in the movie I mean....becos' their duty is only to recover and not so much of covert special ops stuff like what we know of today - recon/ strike/ intel/ CT.


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Iowa_BB61
Posted: Jul 28 2006, 12:28 PM


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QUOTE (Sayerat @ 28 JUL 2006)

Master Chief Brashear was a Naval diver, but not the combat type right? I mean he's duty was solely to conduct recovery operations right?


Yup..., the United States Navy Diver specialized in deep-waters Salvage And Rescue Operations, often utilizing Atmospheric Diving Suits (ADS) and/or some other forms of Deep Submergence UnderWater Vehicles for such operations.


QUOTE (Sayerat @ 28 JUL 2006)

Is this type of unit still in existence in the USN? It seems to be a very specialised type of work, as portrayed in the movie I mean... becos' their duty is only to recover and not so much of covert special ops stuff like what we know of today - recon/strike/intel/CT.


And why not...??? The Earth is covered with 70% H2O and high-risk blue-waters SSN and SSBN operations remains as relavent as before for the USN. Not forgetting, incidents involving ordnance recovery (EG. Recovery Of The B-28 ThermoNuclear Bomb In Spain, 1966). Covert-Ops combat operations will be left for the USN SEALS.


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QUOTE (Naval Historical Center @ Diving in the US Navy: A Brief History)

Navy diving has not been limited to tactical combat operations, wartime salvage, and submarine sinkings. Fleet diving has become increasingly important and diversified since World War II. A major part of the diving mission is the inspection and repair of naval vessels to minimize downtime and the need for day-docking. Other aspects of fleet diving include the recovery of practice and research torpedoes, installation and repair of underwater electronic arrays, underwater construction, and location and recovery of downed aircraft. Ship sinkings and beachings caused by storm damage and human error continue to demand the fleet's salvage and harbor clearance capabilities in peacetime as well as in times of hostilities.

Click here for link to article.



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This post has been edited by Iowa_BB61 on Jul 28 2006, 12:28 PM
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