Bridge to be named after Carl Brashear


The Tonieville bridge on Lincoln Parkway will be dedicated Wednesday and named the Master Chief Petty Officer Carl Maxie Brashear Memorial Bridge.

A dedication ceremony is at noon at the LaRue County Courthouse.

Brashear, a native of LaRue County, became the first African-American Master Diver in the U.S. Navy, and was the first Navy diver to be restored to full active duty as an amputee.

After two years working as a first-class diver, Brashear was injured while on a mission recovering a hydrogen bomb off the coast of Spain. He suffered a severe leg injury and had a leg amputated, but refused an offer for honorable discharge and instead continued his service as a Master Diver.

Brashear enlisted in the Navy in 1948, shortly after the desegregation of the military. Having first been denied entrance by the Army, he served as a steward for six years until he was admitted into Navy Diving School after years of applying.

State Rep. Brandon Reed, R-Hodgenville, passed House Joint Re­solu­tion 50 during the 2018 session, which recognizes Brashear’s legacy by naming the bridge in his honor.

“It was a privilege for me to work to get this bridge named for Carl Brashear, who served his country honorably and broke down barriers for all of our citizens to serve in our nation’s military,” Reed said. “I want to thank Magistrate Tony Stewart and LaRue County Historian Gary Gardner for their efforts in helping us make this happen.”

Brashear’s rank of master chief petty officer was the highest designation for Navy enlisted personnel.

Born in Tonieville, Brashear was the subject of the film “Men of Honor,” which stars Cuba Gooding Jr. as Brashear and outlines his journey to become the first black master diver.

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