USNS Carl Brashear (T-AKE 7)

USNS Carl Brashear Crest
Transfer of ownership from NASSCO to the Navy took a major step in February 2009. The USNS Carl Brashear had to undergo performance testing to prove the vessel's seaworthiness. The Carl Brashear passed and has been sold to the Navy (March 3rd,2009) to start its mission of supplying the fleet. Lauren Brashear, along with Sandra and Linda Brashear, took the ride of a lifetime by being members of the crew for the Sea Trials. Fred Harris, President of NASSCO, made this opportunity available for the ladies.

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Phillip Brashear had a wonderful opportunity to board the USNS Carl Brashear for a trip from Portland, Oregon, to Seattle, Washington, in September 2009. Phillip accepted an invitation from the Ship's Master, Michael Grogan, to cruise this mighty vessel from Portland via the Columbia River, to the Pacific Ocean, and back into Puget Sound to Manchester Fuel Depot in Washington. Phillip interacted with the crew and learned of the many different functions they perform onboard the vessel. Phillip was also given full access to the ship and her many passageways and compartments. What a wonderful and priceless adventure for the son of a Navy Legend to enjoy.

Click here for pictures from this event. For the internet story, check out this website.

NASSCO launches the newest Auxiliary Dry Cargo Ship, USNS Carl Brashear

On September 18, 2008, more than 3000 people visited the NASSCO Shipyard in San Diego, California to witness history. The seventh Lewis and Clark class Auxiliary Dry Cargo ship was officially given the name of Carl Brashear.

Lauren Brashear, eldest grand-daughter of the late Carl Brashear, served as the ship's sponsor as she ceremoniously broke the champagne bottle across the strike-plate on the bow. She is the daughter of Dawayne Brashear, (Carl's #2 son) and her mother Linda Watkins-Brashear. She works as a courtroom clerk typist in the Department of Code Enforcement for the city of Newark, New Jersey. Her Matron of Honor court consisting of her mother, Linda Watkins-Brashear, Sandra Brashear, and Joy Harris cheered as she commenced the official birth of this great vessel. It is a Navy tradition that either a spouse or down line female relative serve as the sponsor of a Naval vessel for its namesake.

Two of Carl's sons, Dawayne and Phillip were present and participated in various local engagements centered around the launch of their father's ship. Also in attendance was Carl Brashear's brother, Edward-Ray from Indiana. Other family members in attendance were Tia Young and Tyler Brashear, daughter and son of Phillip Brashear (Carl's #3 son), brothers Tim, Farley, and H. Ron Brashear who are the sons of Haskell Brashear, (Carl's older brother) and Helen Brashear-Hughues, daughter of another one of Carl's older brothers named Leo. Many high-ranking officials were among the crowd to include the Chief of Naval Operations, Adm Gary Roughead and the Master Chief of the Navy Joe Campa Jr. who also spoke at the christening ceremony.

Academy Award winning Actor Robert DeNiro was on hand to show his respects for the christening ceremony. He was present at the Sponsor's Dinner, Christening Ceremony, and the Christening Luncheon. Along with him were other Hollywood notables from the movie, Men of Honor, in the persons of the screen-writer, Scott Marshall Smith and the producer, Bob Tietel.

Legendary Navy figures, fellow Master Divers, and friends of Master Chief, Master Diver Carl Brashear also came to celebrate in the persons of Lamont King, JJ Fenwick, and Mike Washington.

Video of the christening and launch

USNS Carl Brashear is christened and launched from Navy Visual News Service on Vimeo.

Some of the photos donated by the Wounded Marine Careers Foundation,

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This is Lauren with the official hardhat during her ship inspection tour. This is Lauren with the official hardhat during her ship inspection tour. This is the christening court (left to right): Sandra Brashear, Lauren Brashear, Linda Watkins-Brashear, and Joy Harris Christening court flanked by MCPON Campa (left) and CNO ADM Roughead (right), and NASSCO president Fred Harris, 4th from left USNS Brashear pre-ceremony inspection USNS Carl Brashear T-AKE 7 beside sister ship T-AKE 8 Wally Schirra USNS Carl Brashear looking regal and majestic The initial push from Lauren, Sandy and Joy Countdown to launch Going . . . Going . . . Going . . . Going . . . Water bound!!! Water bound!!!


Navy Secretary Names Two New Auxiliary Dry Cargo Ships

Secretary of the Navy, Dr. Donald C. Winter, announced the naming of the seventh and eighth Military Sealift Command ships of the Lewis and Clark-class Auxiliary Dry Cargo ships (T-AKE) as Carl Brashear and Wally Schirra.

The selection of Carl Brashear, designated T-AKE 7, honors Master Chief Boatswain's Mate (Master Diver) Carl M. Brashear, who joined the United States Navy in 1948. He was a pioneer in the Navy as the first black deep-sea diver, the first black Master Diver and the first U.S. Navy diver to be restored to full active duty as an amputee, the result of a leg injury he sustained during a salvage operation. After 31 years of service, Brashear officially retired from the U.S. Navy on April 1, 1979. Brashear was the subject of the 2000 movie "Men of Honor" starring Cuba Gooding Jr.

The selection of Wally Schirra, designated T-AKE 8, was chosen in honor of Captain Walter "Wally" Schirra. Schirra was a U.S. Naval Academy graduate and former Navy test pilot who served in both World War II and Korean War.

USNS Carl Brashear being worked on at Nassco-General Dynamics in San Diego, CA. USNS Carl Brashear stern block designation. Rear-view of the USNS Carl Brashear as work is being done. Rear-view of the USNS Carl Brashear as work is being done. View of the bow

He is one of the original seven Mercury astronauts. He holds the distinction of being the only astronaut to fly in each of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs. Schirra officially retired from the U.S. Navy and NASA in 1969. Schirra and the other original Mercury 7 astronauts are the subject of the 1983 movie "The Right Stuff". In 1962, Schirra became the fifth American in space.

The naming of Carl Brashear and Wally Schirra continues the tradition of the T-AKE Lewis and Clark-class of honoring legendary pioneers and explorers. The ship's design is 689 feet in length, has an overall beam of 106 feet, a navigational draft of 30 feet, and displaces approximately 42,000 tons. Powered by a single-shaft diesel-electric propulsion system, the ship can reach a speed of 20 knots. As part of the Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force, the ship will be designated USNS. The term stands for United States Naval Ship. Unlike their United States Ship (USS) counterparts, USNS vessels are manned primarily by civil service and civilian mariners working for the U.S. Navy Military Sealift Command.

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