An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : Article Display
NEWS | July 12, 2017

Son shares memories of ‘Men of Honor’ legacy

By Staff Sgt. Teresa J. Cleveland 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

“What is meant for you, is for you, and no one can take that away from you.”

That’s the message U.S. Army Reserve Chief Warrant Officer Phillip Brashear, 11th Aviation Command CH-47 Chinook helicopter pilot, portrayed to Soldiers as he shared stories and advice given to him by his father during the Fort Eustis Diamond Council’s leadership luncheon, June 28, 2017, at Joint Base Langley-Eustis.

Phillip’s father, Carl, who passed away in 2006, was the first African American graduate from the U.S. Diving and Salvage School in Bayonne, New Jersey and the first African American U.S. Navy diver. In 2000, the film ‘Men of Honor’ told Carl Brashear’s story. In 2008, the USNS Carl Brashear, a dry cargo ship named in his honor, was launched by the Navy in San Diego, California.

During the luncheon, Phillip discussed the difficulties that both he and his father faced and overcame throughout their lifetimes. Phillip retired from the Army National Guard in 2007. After looking through his father’s records and realizing he still had a lot to give, he joined the Army Reserve.

“My father had to overcome racism, poverty, illiteracy, physical disability, as well as drug and alcohol abuse, but he didn’t let any of that stop him,” said Phillip. “I sat around for eight months during my retirement and realized if my dad could overcome all of that and keep going, I could keep going too and continue to give back.”

Brashear went on to share advice that his father gave to him about education, work ethic and having something to believe in.

“One thing my father taught me is education never stops, so don’t think if you didn’t do it back then, that you can’t do it now,” said Phillip. “He also taught me that you have to have a belief in something greater than yourself and our country is a great entity to believe in.”

The quarterly leadership luncheons, hosted by the FEDC, are open to NCOs of all services, to learn and network across the branches of service and units in the local area.

“We’re so grateful that Chief Brashear was able to come speak with us today because his family has an amazing story,” said U.S. Army Master Sgt. Melissa White, FEDC president. “Hosting these events gives us the opportunity to network with other NCOs and provide mentorship and camaraderie regardless of their branch of service, unit, assigned base or career field.”

Phillip also shared photos and stories about his father’s life and the opportunities he has been given to share his father’s legacy worldwide with leaders and young U.S. service members alike.

“I can’t go anywhere without mentioning my dad because there is no way I would be able to do 36 years of military service without following in my father’s footsteps,” said Phillip. “He proved to the world that, regardless of your race and background, you can always make something of yourself if you believe in yourself and because of him, I have been able to spread that message to teenagers, young Soldiers and leaders worldwide.”

For more information about Carl Brashear and the continued sharing of his legacy, visit