In 1954, after about 100 requests to become a diver Brashear was finally accepted to become a diver.
Later, on March 25, 1966 an accident aboard the USS Hoist off the coast left Carl with a badly injured left leg. Brashear was flown to Torrejon Air Force Base in Spain, and upon arrival he was thought to be dead. On a second check however a faint heartbeat was detected. Carl survived the accident but his leg was badly injured. The doctor told him it could be fixed in a few years but he would never dive again and would have to walk with a cane.
Upon entrance Brashear was immediately faced with true adversities. Notes would be placed on his bunk saying: "We're going to drown you today nigger!" and "We don't want any nigger divers." Holding strong and sticking with his goal Brashear triumphed over these adversities and graduated 16th out of 17 becoming the first black US Navy diver.
Brashear's goal of making Master Chief never wavered, he absolutely refused the idea of never diving again, let alone walk with a cane. After a few weeks and the development of gangrene disease Brashear convinced them to amputate. Learning to dive with one good leg was extremely difficult, however after passing brutal examinations and going through intense training Brashear once again triumphed was reinstated to full active duty in 1967.
On June 10th of 1970 his goal was achieved. He was now a Master Chief, the first African-American and first amputee. "As a Master Diver, Brashear was assigned to the USS Hunley," (Stories Behind the Movies) "He also served on the USS Recovery."
The official desegregation of the military came in 1948 with President Truman’s Executive Order 9981.(Left) While the executive order was official it would be many more years before it was accepted socially within the military.
Brashear had his first impression of watching a deep-sea diver, and what an impression it made. According to Brashear after watching the diver, he said to himself "Now this is the best thing since sliced bread. I've got to be a deep-sea diver." He started sending requests to be a deep-sea diver. Hundreds of them. "I was determined to go places," says Brashear
When Brashear first joined the Navy he was handed a job in steward’s branch where 81% of Blacks filled those positions and were segregated from whites.
With only a 8th grade education and an inspirational experience of seeing a deep sea diver, Brashear saw the Navy as an opportunity to achieve his dream.
Brashear retired on April 1, 1979.