The Carl Brashear Movie: Never give up on your dream

Carl Brashear

Failure is not the ability not to accomplish, but the inability to rise after falling. Such could have befallen Carl Brashear who was a cook in the US Navy (the best he could be for being a Black American), but rose through the ranks and so much struggles to achieve a feat even beyond dreams. We are meant to have setbacks and the Bible even says, ‘man’s days are short and full of troubles’. However, always remember the problems are not there to limit you, break you down or stop you, but just like promotional exams, are there to prepare you for the next level. It is now left to you to face it and prove your ability and readiness for the greatness staring at you.

Carl Maxie Brashear was born January 19, 1931 into a very poor family as portrayed in “Men of Honor’. The family struggled through thick and thin to survive and that was just one of the reasons for Carl Brashear to fight hard and never give up. He planned to end his family’s poverty and rewrite the name of the family; however, the dad never lived to see it happen.

Carl Brashear was a Sailor at the United States Navy. Also, he became the first American to serve as a US Navy Master Diver; a position he rose to in the 1970 after getting his leg amputated. Him serving as the first entrants opened the door of the US Navy to other blacks out there as master divers.

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The Beginning
On February 25, 1948, Brashear applied to the US Navy and was selected just when the Navy got desegregated by President Harry S. Truman of the US. Even after the successful selection of Carl Brashear to be admitted into the diving school, he still struggled before he was allowed in; he had to stay at the school gate for morning and night just because blacks disgust them. They don’t believe blacks can be tantamount to anything and would not allow them close to any achievement. Despite this, Carl Brashear was on his toes to success. All was on his heart was what he wants to achieve and his eyes were fixed on what he would become. He only saw the racism and discrimination as a distraction and was ready to sacrifice everything about himself to achieve.

At the Diving School
When he was in the diving school in Bayonne, New Jersey as a student, Brashear had a lot of challenges most especially because he was black. He was disgusting to his colleagues and he suffered hostility and racism at a very high level. One of the days in the diving school, some students colluded and wrote on his bunk, ‘We're going to drown you today, nigger!" and "We don't want any nigger divers’. Though the challenges were there, he never mind and still continued to fight on so as to be successful in diving school. He eventually succeeded with support and encouragement as a Boatswain’s Mate First Class Rutherford and out of 17 students that graduated, he was among them.

Reward for not giving up
After Brashear graduated from the US Navy Diving and Salvage School in 1954, he became the first African-American to study and graduate from the school and also became the first ever African-American US Navy Diver.

The Setback
One of his days as a Navy Diver, March 23, 1966 to be specific at a bomb recovery operations, a line that was used for towing broke loose which was actually heading to destroy another person standing and watching, Brashear ran at the person and pushed him away only for him to suffer a crushed leg when a pipe struck his left leg just below the knee and was almost cut off.
He was immediately evacuated to the Torrejon Air Base in Spain before forwarding to the USAF Hospital at Wiesbaden Air Base in Germany and all had to end at the Naval Hospital in Portsmouth, Virginia. When there was persistent infection and necrosis on the leg, his lower left leg had to be amputated (What a blow to his dream and his career!).

Carl Brashear
Carl Brashear using a support to train for the great '12 steps' after his leg got amputated
Never Give up
This particular incident brought a huge setback to his career. Watching ‘Men of Honor’, Brashear was to be forcefully ejected and retired from the US Navy because he could not use his two legs again; however, he fought so hard not to let his dreams end there. He was asked to take the first powerful steps under the cover of the future of sea diving (290 pounds equipment). Brashear trained for days, he pressed himself, sacrificed a lot, a lot of discouragements from people, the wife and those that wanted him out of the Navy, however, he continued the struggle.

He was called upon and after struggling very hard in court under the very heavy equipment which a full human being may not even be able to lift a leg, Brashear successfully took the ‘most important 12 steps’ in his life and that redefined his career.

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Success ends every sad story
After a long and serious struggle, in April 1968, Brashear became the first amputee diver in the US Navy as a diver to be recertified after he lost his certification because of his leg that was amputated. Also in 1970, he became the first ever African-American US Navy Master Diver, a post beyond the reach of many Americans not to talk of the blacks. He later served nine more years and got the rating of Master Chief Boatswain’s Mate in 1971.

Carl Brashear

One thing kept Brashear going through his journey in the US Navy. He believed in himself and knew there is something he did differently from others. Self-motivation was the key to Brashear’s success. Though his dad gave him a radio when he was going to the diving school and on it is the inscription, ‘ASNF’, which means ‘A Son Never Forgets’. That moved him but not more than what he made up in his mind that, ‘It's not a sin to get knocked down; it's a sin to stay down" and "I ain't going to let nobody steal my dream’.
         'So, don't stop trying, the next try might just be the last and the best'.

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