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Carl Brashear (T-AKE-7)


Named for Carl Maxie Brashear (19 January 1931-25 July 2006). For additional information see and

(T-AKE-7: displacement 42,528; length 689; beam 106'; draft 30'; speed 20 knots; complement 197; armament up to 6 .50 caliber or 7.62 millimeter machine guns, aircraft 2 Sikorsky MH-60S Knighthawks or 2 Eurocopter (Aérospatiale) AS332 Super Pumas; class Lewis and Clark)

Carl Brashear (T-AKE-7) was laid down on 2 November 2007 at San Diego, Calif., by General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Co.; launched on 18 September 2008; sponsored by Ms. Lauren Brashear, the late Master Chief Brashear’s eldest granddaughter; and was placed in service with the Military Sealift Command on 3 March 2009.

Carl Brashear (T-AKE-7) 2009-crest


Dark blue and gold are the colors traditionally associated with the Navy. Red denotes fearlessness. The red fess is higher to signify Brashear’s determination to triumph over racial prejudice and become the first African-American deep-sea diver and the first certified and recertified amputee in the U. S. Navy. The triangular gads, heraldic symbols for steel, suggest the prow of a ship, denoting the three major vessels that Brashear served as a diver, early in his career: escort aircraft carrier Tripoli (CVE-64), and salvage ships Opportune (ARS-41) and Hoist (ARS-10). The sea lion with the separated caudal fin represents his death-defying courage to continue naval service as a diver, confronting all obstacles after losing his left leg during the mission to retrieve a USAF Mk 28 hydrogen bomb off the coast of Palomares, Spain, on 23 March 1966. The anchor symbolizes his persistence in overcoming the racial obstacles to serve as the first African-American Master Diver, in June 1970. The stars above the anchor reflect a modification of grade achieved during his career. The gold border honors Brashear’s accomplishments.


The diver’s Mark V helmet bearing the shield memorializes Brashear’s distinguished naval diving profession, and acknowledges his struggles to become a diver and remain in the vocation. The colors of the shield illustrate his award of the Navy-Marine Corps Medal for heroism during the Palomares incident.


The tridents symbolize sea prowess, emphasizing the ship’s mission to transport supplies and dry cargo.


"Audentes Fortuna Iuvat" that translates as “Fortune Favors the Bold.”

A magnitude 9.0 (Mw) undersea megathrust earthquake occurred off the Tōhoku region of Honshū, Japan, at 1446 on 11 March 2011. The earthquake triggered tsunami waves that reached more than 100 feet in height at places, and caused nearly 25,000 casualties, including more than 15,000 killed. The United States initiated Operation Tomodachi (from the Japanese Tomodachi Sakusen—Operation Friend(s) to provide humanitarian relief to the victims. A total of 24,000 U.S. servicemembers, 189 aircraft, and 24 ships served in Tomodachi (12 March–4 May 2011).

Carl Brashear loaded more than 800 pallets of humanitarian cargo at Sasebo’s Juliet pier on 20 March 2011, and then sailed to rendezvous with other ships operating in northern Japanese waters. While the ship closed aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) during a replenishment, she encountered dangerous debris spread by the tsunamis. “Drifting shipping containers are difficult to see,” Capt. Michael Grogan, her master, succinctly summarized. Carl Brashear completed 17 replenishments, delivering more than 1 million gallons (3,800 m³) of fuel, during Operation Tomodachi.

Carl Brashear pulls alongside Curtis Wilbur (DDG-54) to replenish the guided missile destroyer during Operation Tomadachi, 24 March 2011. (Mass Communication Specialist 2d Class William Pittman, U.S. Navy Photograph 110324-N-8288P-467, Navy NewsStand)

Detailed history under construction.

Mark L. Evans


Published: Mon Jun 29 15:34:48 EDT 2015