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"Men of Honor"

CSM

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New York Times
July 27, 2006

Carl M. Brashear, 75, Diver Who Broke A Racial Barrier, Dies

By Margalit Fox

Carl M. Brashear, a son of Kentucky sharecroppers who in 1970 became the United States Navy’s first black master diver, and whose story was told in the 2000 movie “Men of Honor,” died Tuesday in Portsmouth, Va. He was 75.

The cause was heart and respiratory failure, said his former wife Junetta Brashear.

Starring Cuba Gooding Jr. as Mr. Brashear, “Men of Honor” chronicled its hero’s struggle against seemingly insurmountable odds: rural poverty, a threadbare education and the racism that pervaded the armed forces from the late 1940’s, when he enlisted, until long afterward.

The movie also portrayed Mr. BrashearÂ’s grueling fight to return to diving, and to attain the coveted designation of master diver, after he lost a leg as the result of a shipboard accident in 1966.

A 31-year Navy veteran, Mr. Brashear retired in 1979 as a master chief boatswainÂ’s mate, the highest enlisted rank in the Navy. He was also the first person to be returned to full service as a Navy diver after losing a limb.

Mr. Brashear, who was a consultant on “Men of Honor,” called it a mostly faithful depiction of his life. (The brutal diving instructor played by Robert De Niro was in fact a composite of several men, he said.) But there were aspects of Mr. Brashear’s story that the movie did not examine, including treatment for alcoholism toward the end of his career.

Carl Maxie Brashear (pronounced bruh-SHEER) was born on Jan. 19, 1931, in Tonieville, Ky., the sixth of eight children. He left school after seventh grade to help his father work the land, but dreamed of adventure. He did not want to spend his days behind a plow.

At 17, he tried to join the Army in early 1948, but the Army did not want him. The Navy was more welcoming, and he enlisted in February 1948. (The military would be officially desegregated in June of that year.)

Like most black Navy men of the period, Mr. Brashear was placed in the stewardsÂ’ branch, which did chores for the officers. Assigned to the naval station at Key West, Fla., he prepared meals for white officers in the officersÂ’ mess.

In 1950, Mr. Brashear was assigned to the aircraft carrier Palau. One day he watched, fascinated, as a diver slipped into the ocean to recover an airplane that had rolled overboard. Here was the adventure he had sought for so long.

He wrote to the Navy diving school, asking for admittance. He wrote again. And again. Curiously, as Mr. Brashear later recounted, his letters kept getting lost. He wrote more than 100 times before being admitted in 1954.

Few of Mr. BrashearÂ’s classmates were pleased to see him. He sometimes found threatening notes with racial epithets on his bunk.

He graduated in 1955 and spent the next several years as a Navy salvage diver. But he longed to be a first-class diver, carrying out missions deep undersea. In 1960, after earning his high school equivalency diploma, he entered the NavyÂ’s deep-sea diving school.

Mr. Brashear failed the course, unable to pass its rigorous science component, which included physics, medicine and mathematics. For the next three years, he studied every moment he was not on duty, and in 1963 was readmitted. He graduated in 1964 as a first-class diver, third in his class of 17.

In 1966, Mr. Brashear was aboard the Navy salvage ship Hoist off the coast of Spain, helping to recover a hydrogen bomb that had plunged into the Mediterranean after the plane carrying it crashed. As he supervised from the ship, a line broke, sending a heavy steel pipe hurtling toward the men on deck.

Mr. Brashear pushed his men out of the way, but could not avoid the pipe himself. It crushed his left leg. He lost so much blood that he was initially pronounced dead by the Spanish hospital to which he was evacuated.

After being transferred to Portsmouth Naval Hospital in Virginia, Mr. Brashear was told that his leg could be repaired enough to allow him to walk with a brace and cane. The process would take several years.

“Go ahead and amputate,” he told the doctors. “I can’t be tied up that long. I’ve got to go back to diving.”

He was fitted with a prosthesis, and the Navy sent him his discharge papers. He did not sign. Instead, he quietly signed his own orders for a transfer back to diving school. He dived with his new leg, had pictures taken and showed them to Navy officials. They did not believe such a feat was possible.

The Navy finally agreed to put Mr. Brashear through a series of tests, including climbing ladders with barbells strapped to his back to simulate a diverÂ’s staggering load. For the final test, in a scene dramatically reproduced in the film, Mr. Brashear was required to walk 12 steps unaided, wearing nearly 300 pounds of equipment. He took the steps, and was returned to active duty as a diver.

In 1970, after more grueling tests, Mr. Brashear became a master diver, the highest designation a Navy diver can attain.

Mr. BrashearÂ’s first marriage, to the former Junetta Wilcoxson, ended in divorce, as did his two later marriages, to Hattie Elam and Jeanette Brundage. He is survived by three sons from his first marriage, Dawayne, of Newark; Phillip Maxie, a helicopter pilot currently stationed in Iraq; and Patrick, of Portsmouth; three sisters, Florene Harris, Leatta English and Norma Jean Moore, all of Elizabethtown, Ky.; two brothers, Douglas, of Elizabethtown, and Edward Ray, of Indianapolis; 12 grandchildren; and 2 great-grandchildren. A fourth son from Mr. BrashearÂ’s first marriage, Shazanta, died in 1996.

Despite a lifetime of hard-won achievement, Mr. Brashear spoke about “Men of Honor” with something approaching awe.

“Not in my wildest dreams did I think this would happen,” he said in an interview with CNN in 2001. “Even after I lost my leg I was just doing my job.”
 

Bullypulpit

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A helluva story and a helluva man. His loss is a loss to us all.
 

theHawk

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Ironic that back in his day blacks had to fight tooth and nail to be able to fight side by side with whites in the military.
Now, according to liberals, blacks and other minorities in the military are being "used" by whitey.


:salute:
 

waltky

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Navy recommends two medal upgrades to Medal of Honor...
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SecNav Recommends Two Troops for Medal of Honor
Dec 05, 2016 | Navy Secretary Ray Mabus is recommending that two service members be upgraded to the military's highest valor award amid an extensive review of medals awarded since Sept. 11, 2001, Navy officials confirmed.
In an interview with Tom Vanden Brook of USA Today, who first reported the news Monday, Mabus said the two troops, either Marines or sailors, have been awarded the Navy Cross, the second-highest medal for valor. The names of the two service members were not made public. A spokesman for Mabus, Navy Capt. Patrick McNally, confirmed to Military.com that Mabus had recommended that two Navy Cross recipients be considered for the Medal of Honor. While the original report indicated both Navy Cross recipients were sailors, McNally said that is not the case.

Mabus, who is preparing to leave his post after a near-record seven-and-a-half years in office, makes the reported recommendations as the Defense Department completes a review of all service crosses and Silver Stars -- the second- and third-highest valor medals -- awarded to troops during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to determine if any of the awards are eligible for upgrade. Some 1,100 combat awards meet those criteria. According to Pentagon guidelines, the service secretaries have until Sept. 30, 2017, to make upgrade recommendations on any awards.

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The Pentagon's official military awards database shows that eight sailors have earned the Navy Cross while serving in Afghanistan, and one received the award for service in Iraq. In all, 19 Marines have received the Navy Cross for actions in Afghanistan, and 19 for heroism in Iraq. USA Today notes that two more Navy Crosses were awarded in secret, citing records obtained by the paper. For the Marine Corps, the list includes Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta, who posthumously received the Navy Cross in 2008 for throwing himself on a grenade in Fallujah to save the lives of fellow Marines during a 2004 battle. Peralta was considered for the Medal of Honor by defense secretaries Robert Gates, Leon Panetta, and Chuck Hagel, but each time they concluded the evidence of his actions was not strong enough to meet the stringent Medal of Honor criteria.

Other Marines whose names have entertained Medal of Honor speculation include Cpl. Jonathan Yale and Lance Cpl. Jordan Haerter, who sacrificed their lives to keep a truck loaded with explosives from entering the base they were guarding in Ramadi, Iraq in 2008; and Lance Cpl. Brady Gustafson, who courageously engaged enemy fighters as a turret gunner in Afghanistan in 2008 despite sustaining grievous wounds to his leg. All three Marines received the Navy Cross.

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waltky

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Rep. Duncan Hunter Petitions Mattis to Approve Medal of Honor...
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Lawmaker Petitions Mattis to Approve Medal of Honor for Fallen Marine
Feb 06, 2017 | Rep. Duncan Hunter is hoping that the fourth time's the charm for fallen Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta.
The lawmaker, a California Republican and veteran Marine officer, sent a letter Monday petitioning Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to review Peralta's nomination for the Medal of Honor -- a nomination that three previous defense secretaries have opted not to approve. Unlike his predecessors, however, Mattis has additional reason to be familiar with Peralta's case, having commanded troops as a Marine general in Fallujah, Iraq, during the same time period in which Peralta was killed in action. Peralta was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for pulling a live enemy grenade under his body to save fellow Marines during a 2004 house-clearing mission in Fallujah, according to his official medal citation. Such an act would typically merit the Medal of Honor, and it did in the case of Cpl. Kyle Carpenter, who absorbed much of a grenade blast in Afghanistan in 2010 to save a fellow Marine.

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Sgt. Rafael Peralta, a platoon guide with Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 31st MEU​

But experts consulted on Peralta's nomination have said the physical evidence of his heroism does not meet the stringent standards for the military's highest valor award. Peralta was wounded by a bullet ricochet to the back of the head immediately before his death, and some investigators have questioned whether he could have been conscious and able to grab the grenade after sustaining that wound. "The benefit of Secretary Mattis [reviewing Peralta's case] is that he's commanded Marines in Iraq and he knows better than anyone in government right now -- along with [Homeland Security] Secretary [John] Kelly -- how politics can be infused in a valor award case and how the bureaucracy if left unchallenged will win every time," Hunter spokesman Joe Kasper said in a statement provided to Military.com. "Mattis is still at heart a U.S. Marine and he's well aware that the Marine Corps, as an organization, fully endorsed Peralta's Medal of Honor," the statement said. "Names like Mattis, Kelly and Dunford regularly came up as supporters of the award, but now it's a new administration and there's new hope for the Marine Corps, the Peralta family and anyone else who's been passionate about Peralta's legacy."

Mattis commanded 1st Marine Division during the 2003 invasion of Iraq and subsequent operations early in the war, playing key leadership roles during the first and second battles of Fallujah in the spring and fall of 2004. Peralta was assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, part of 3rd Marine Division, at the time of his death. A spokeswoman for the office of the secretary of defense, Laura Seal, said the office would not comment on the letter, as is policy with congressional correspondence, but would respond directly to its author. Hunter's letter comes days after the Navy took ownership of the USS Rafael Peralta, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer named in honor of the fallen Marine. In light of the ship's delivery, Hunter asked Mattis to re-examine the case that has troubled Peralta's family members and fellow Marines for more than a decade.

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waltky

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Vietnam Gunnery Sergeant to finally get long overdue MoH...
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Trump to Award Medal of Honor to Marine for Hue City Heroism

19 Jul 2018 - A retired sergeant major credited with saving scores of troops during a Vietnam War's battle will receive the Medal of Honor.
A retired sergeant major credited with saving scores of Marines during one of the Vietnam War's deadliest battles will receive the Medal of Honor, Military.com has confirmed. Retired Sgt. Maj. John Canley, 80, of Oxnard, California, learned he'll receive the nation's highest award for valor during a July 9 phone call from President Donald Trump. It was first reported Thursday by the Ventura County Star. "He told me that it was OK to let my Marines know that I would be receiving the Medal of Honor," Canley told Military.com. "He thanked me for my service and also wanted to thank my Marines for their service."

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The fight to see Canley's Navy Cross upgraded to the Medal of Honor has been a years-long effort. The former company gunnery sergeant with 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, is recognized with leading more than 140 men through an intense week-long battle to retake Hue City from Jan. 31 to Feb. 6, 1968. Canley, who's from El Dorado, Arkansas, repeatedly braved heavy enemy fire to bring several wounded Marines to safety. When his company commander was seriously injured, Canley sprang into action, reorganizing his Marines by moving from one group to another to advise and encourage them, his Navy Cross citation states.

Former Pfc. John Ligato was one of those men. Ligato has spent the last 15 years making calls, taking Marines' statements and writing letters to see his gunny get the recognition he deserved. "The Medal of Honor was rejected 10 times -- never on the merits of what he did, it was always procedural," Ligato said. "There were times I gave up. … But the irony is he's one of the most deserved Medal of Honor recipients ever in the history of our country." Canley said his Marines were his only concern during the brutal battle. The average age of those fighting in the Vietnam War was just 19, he said, and they were looking for leadership. "I'm just happy that I could provide that," he said. "It was an honor."

canley-2-1200.jpg

Ligato said Canley's actions far exceeded expectations. There were 147 Marines facing off against about 10,000 North Vietnamese troops. Canley not only led them from the front, but also with love, he said. "I know this sounds strange, but he wasn't one of these gruff, screaming guys. You did stuff for him because you didn't want to disappoint him," he said. "You followed him because he was a true leader -- something you need in life-and-death situations. "He was totally fearless," Ligato added. "He loved his Marines, and we loved him back." A date has not yet been set for the White House ceremony, but Ligato said Canley has asked him to speak about his company's Marines. Many of them went back to their communities one-by-one, he said, speaking little about the horrors they saw in Vietnam. "That leadership is all about taking care of your people," he said. "If you do that, then you basically don't have to worry about the mission."

This Medal of Honor will help fill in the blanks of one of the most important Marine Corps battles in history, Ligato said. The actions Canley showed on the battlefield 50 years ago epitomize what it means to be a Marine, he added.Marines have been doing this since 1775," Ligato said. "Every once in a while, you have a Chesty Puller, a John Basilone or a John Canley. I think Marines reading his citation can take away that the Marine Corps is timeless."

Trump to Award Medal of Honor to Marine for Hue City Heroism
 

Admiral Rockwell Tory

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New York Times
July 27, 2006

Carl M. Brashear, 75, Diver Who Broke A Racial Barrier, Dies

By Margalit Fox

Carl M. Brashear, a son of Kentucky sharecroppers who in 1970 became the United States Navy’s first black master diver, and whose story was told in the 2000 movie “Men of Honor,” died Tuesday in Portsmouth, Va. He was 75.

The cause was heart and respiratory failure, said his former wife Junetta Brashear.

Starring Cuba Gooding Jr. as Mr. Brashear, “Men of Honor” chronicled its hero’s struggle against seemingly insurmountable odds: rural poverty, a threadbare education and the racism that pervaded the armed forces from the late 1940’s, when he enlisted, until long afterward.

The movie also portrayed Mr. BrashearÂ’s grueling fight to return to diving, and to attain the coveted designation of master diver, after he lost a leg as the result of a shipboard accident in 1966.

A 31-year Navy veteran, Mr. Brashear retired in 1979 as a master chief boatswainÂ’s mate, the highest enlisted rank in the Navy. He was also the first person to be returned to full service as a Navy diver after losing a limb.

Mr. Brashear, who was a consultant on “Men of Honor,” called it a mostly faithful depiction of his life. (The brutal diving instructor played by Robert De Niro was in fact a composite of several men, he said.) But there were aspects of Mr. Brashear’s story that the movie did not examine, including treatment for alcoholism toward the end of his career.

Carl Maxie Brashear (pronounced bruh-SHEER) was born on Jan. 19, 1931, in Tonieville, Ky., the sixth of eight children. He left school after seventh grade to help his father work the land, but dreamed of adventure. He did not want to spend his days behind a plow.

At 17, he tried to join the Army in early 1948, but the Army did not want him. The Navy was more welcoming, and he enlisted in February 1948. (The military would be officially desegregated in June of that year.)

Like most black Navy men of the period, Mr. Brashear was placed in the stewardsÂ’ branch, which did chores for the officers. Assigned to the naval station at Key West, Fla., he prepared meals for white officers in the officersÂ’ mess.

In 1950, Mr. Brashear was assigned to the aircraft carrier Palau. One day he watched, fascinated, as a diver slipped into the ocean to recover an airplane that had rolled overboard. Here was the adventure he had sought for so long.

He wrote to the Navy diving school, asking for admittance. He wrote again. And again. Curiously, as Mr. Brashear later recounted, his letters kept getting lost. He wrote more than 100 times before being admitted in 1954.

Few of Mr. BrashearÂ’s classmates were pleased to see him. He sometimes found threatening notes with racial epithets on his bunk.

He graduated in 1955 and spent the next several years as a Navy salvage diver. But he longed to be a first-class diver, carrying out missions deep undersea. In 1960, after earning his high school equivalency diploma, he entered the NavyÂ’s deep-sea diving school.

Mr. Brashear failed the course, unable to pass its rigorous science component, which included physics, medicine and mathematics. For the next three years, he studied every moment he was not on duty, and in 1963 was readmitted. He graduated in 1964 as a first-class diver, third in his class of 17.

In 1966, Mr. Brashear was aboard the Navy salvage ship Hoist off the coast of Spain, helping to recover a hydrogen bomb that had plunged into the Mediterranean after the plane carrying it crashed. As he supervised from the ship, a line broke, sending a heavy steel pipe hurtling toward the men on deck.

Mr. Brashear pushed his men out of the way, but could not avoid the pipe himself. It crushed his left leg. He lost so much blood that he was initially pronounced dead by the Spanish hospital to which he was evacuated.

After being transferred to Portsmouth Naval Hospital in Virginia, Mr. Brashear was told that his leg could be repaired enough to allow him to walk with a brace and cane. The process would take several years.

“Go ahead and amputate,” he told the doctors. “I can’t be tied up that long. I’ve got to go back to diving.”

He was fitted with a prosthesis, and the Navy sent him his discharge papers. He did not sign. Instead, he quietly signed his own orders for a transfer back to diving school. He dived with his new leg, had pictures taken and showed them to Navy officials. They did not believe such a feat was possible.

The Navy finally agreed to put Mr. Brashear through a series of tests, including climbing ladders with barbells strapped to his back to simulate a diverÂ’s staggering load. For the final test, in a scene dramatically reproduced in the film, Mr. Brashear was required to walk 12 steps unaided, wearing nearly 300 pounds of equipment. He took the steps, and was returned to active duty as a diver.

In 1970, after more grueling tests, Mr. Brashear became a master diver, the highest designation a Navy diver can attain.

Mr. BrashearÂ’s first marriage, to the former Junetta Wilcoxson, ended in divorce, as did his two later marriages, to Hattie Elam and Jeanette Brundage. He is survived by three sons from his first marriage, Dawayne, of Newark; Phillip Maxie, a helicopter pilot currently stationed in Iraq; and Patrick, of Portsmouth; three sisters, Florene Harris, Leatta English and Norma Jean Moore, all of Elizabethtown, Ky.; two brothers, Douglas, of Elizabethtown, and Edward Ray, of Indianapolis; 12 grandchildren; and 2 great-grandchildren. A fourth son from Mr. BrashearÂ’s first marriage, Shazanta, died in 1996.

Despite a lifetime of hard-won achievement, Mr. Brashear spoke about “Men of Honor” with something approaching awe.

“Not in my wildest dreams did I think this would happen,” he said in an interview with CNN in 2001. “Even after I lost my leg I was just doing my job.”


The Veteran's Center located in Radcliff, KY, just outside Fort Knox was recently named after Brashear.

Welcome - Carl M. Brashear Radcliff Veterans Center
 

whitehall

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"Men of Honor" come in all colors. Black Navy divers had it pretty easy compared to the other Honorable Men who served as Japanese Soldiers and Marines after FDR issued an executive order to incarcerate American citizens without due process. Marine American Indian Ira Hayes couldn't even legally buy a drink in a bar after the FDR administration literally dragged him out of combat to use as a prop to raise money for the War Effort.
 

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