Innovators and Pioneers
The following Navy personnel held the strength, tenacity, and courage to overcome obstacles to greatness and leave a path for others to follow in their footsteps.
April D. Beldo
The first woman and the first Black sailor in multiple positions within the ranks of the U.S. Navy.
Carl M. Brashear
First Black master diver in the U.S. Navy.
Jesse L. Brown
First Black aviator to complete the U.S. Navy’s basic flight training program and the first Black naval officer killed in action during the Korean War (1950–53).
Susan Ahn Cuddy
First female aerial gunnery officer in the U.S. Navy. First Asian-American woman to serve as an officer in the U.S. Navy.
Samuel L. Gravely Jr.
First Black officer to command a U.S. Navy ship, USS Theodore E. Chandler (DD-717).
Grace M. Hopper
A naval offier and one of the first three computer programmers to work on the Mark I.
One of the first six women to earn their wings as a naval aviator in 1974.
Bernice R. Walters Nordstrom
First female doctor assigned to shipboard duty in the U.S. Navy.
Georgia Clark Sadler
First woman to serve as a uniformed instructor at the Naval Academy in 1972.
M. Elaine Toms
A WAVE, a naval reservist, and the first female nuclear scientist at the Naval Research Laboratory.
Chancellor Alphonso "Pete" Tzomes
First Black commanding officer of a U.S. submarine, USS Houston (SSN-713) in 1983.