Legends of Diving Articles


Carl Brashear
First African American U.S. Navy Diver

January 19, 1931 to July 27, 2006
Birthplace: Tonieville, Larue County, KY

Carl Brashear, the inspiration behind the movie "Men of Honor" and the first U.S. Navy Master Diver died of natural causes, he was 75. His storied life was legendary:

  • Brashear was the first African American deep-sea diver, beginning his navy career in 1948 at the age of 17.

  • In 1953 he graduated from the Bayonne, N.J. navy diving school amidst racial resistance.

  • In 1966 Brashear lost his left leg to an accident in the line of duty while recovering a nuclear weapon off the coast of Spain. Two U.S. Air Force jets collided, one with the bomb that required recovery.

  • He was the first navy diver amputee to be restored to full-active duty.

  • Brashear continued his navy career and was the first African American to become a master diver.

  • Brashear was the inspiration behind the movie "Men of Honor" directed by George Tillman Jr., starring Robert De Niro as Leslie W. 'Billy' Sunday and Cuba Gooding Jr. as Brashear. Read about the movie, Men of Honor. The tag line for the movie is appropriate to his life "History is made by those who break the rules".

Carl Brashear was a man of courage, one who will be remembered as a legend in the history of SCUBA diving.

Read a description and the movie origins
Men of Honor, the life Carl Brashear

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