Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Captain Merryl David
AN AUTHENTIC AMERICAN HERO.The First and Only Black Woman to Fly the Air Forces Elite U-2 Spy Plane
When it comes to stories of espionage and intrigue, Hollywood rarely casts a sister in the starring role. But in real life one Black woman has accomplished what once seemed like mission impossible: Last October Major Merryl David, 34, became the first Black female pilot of a U-2--the legendary stealth planes the U.S. Air Force deploys for risky reconnaissance missions, such as identifying terrorist activities in foreign countries.
David, a former naval officer, is one of only five women and three African-Americans to be accepted into the Air Force's elite First Squadron, where U-2 pilots get their training. Now she'll have to withstand the pressure--literally. Solo flights can exceed 70,000 feet and last nine hours, and U-2s, with their tremendous wingspan, are one of the toughest crafts to land.
But David has had her sights set high since childhood. Growing up in The Bronx, New York, the Star Trek fan dreamed of being an astronaut. Since then she has boasted an impressive flying career, operating combat helicopters and airplanes for the Navy in the Middle East and South America. In July she'll leave her Lincoln, California, home and be deployed as part of the Ninety-Ninth Squadron to Korea. "You don't see many Black females flying in any service," she says. "I hope this will show young girls that this is an option they can have."

Generally, a hero is defined in mythology and legend, is a man, often of divine ancestry, who is endowed with great courage and strength, celebrated for his bold exploits, and favored by the gods.
Also, a person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life, as soldiers and nurses who are heroes in an unpopular war.
Today, too many celebrities are marketed as heroes.

Major Merryl David is a real hero.
Courtesy of Essence MagazineDiane Weathers, Editor in Cheif

Alexander Palmer Haley.

Alex Haley was a Coast Guard shoeshine boy who had to shine the captain's shoes. He searched for his Black roots and found himself the recipient of a Coast Guard promotion to a new rating of Photo-Journalist. It would not have been seemly to have Norman Lear's premier Black writer and the director of the Television series "Roots" known as a Coast Guard shoe-shine boy.

Captain Michael Healey. Was he really a Black man or was he racially kidnapped from the Irish. He was three-fourths white Irish catholic and one-fourth Black. Notwithstanding the "One-Drop Rule", was he really a Black Coast Guard hero? Did the Coast Guard kidnap white men with a scintilla of Black ancestry and annoit them as Coast Guard heroes, because there were not Blacks in the Coast Guard, neither heroes nor otherwise. Some Irish scholars are demanding that Mike Healey and his entire family be returned to the Irish pantheon of heroes. They allege that Michael Healey and Francis Healy were the victims of "racial kidnapping".

Francis Patrick Healey.



Blogger ichbinalj said...

HEROES versus Celebrities.

Captain Lisa Nowak, a 43-year-old Navy captain who flew last summer on the space shuttle Discovery, was arrested early 5 February on suspicion of attempted kidnapping, attempted burglary on a vehicle and assault.
Celebrities are often marketed as heroes. When celebrities climb to the top they are paraded out as role models. More and more frequently these media made heroes are falling from grace.
Fallen stars like Nowak are becoming more and more common in America. Maybe it’s the media, maybe it’s the culture, maybe it’s the family, and maybe it’s the genes. But whatever the reason, criminal behavior from America’s stars is a major problem.
Florida police filed attempted first degree murder charges against shuttle astronaut Lisa Nowak, saying she intended to kidnap and kill her rival in a love triangle involving another astronaut. Noway is a NASA astronaut, and she is charged with attacking her rival for another astronaut's attention at Orlando International Airport.
"I really believe that NASA goes overboard in promoting how heroic and super all these people are. They themselves have forgotten these are ordinary people and in that kind of celebrity culture, there's a sense of entitlement." said Dr. Patricia Santy, a former NASA psychiatrist and author of the book “Choosing the Right Stuff”.
Lisa Nowak clearly has some serious personal issues to deal with. She clearly crossed the line of acceptable behavior and she needs to deal with the consequences.
The unfortunate emotional problems one person has - and perhaps one coworker's indiscretion - should not be used to impugn the entire agency any more than is the case with similar situations which happen every day across the country.
However, the one possible issue to take up with NASA is how someone with such obvious problems could have been allowed any where near a space shuttle so recently.
When such personal tragedies are discussed in the "NASA family" it is important to bring the astronauts back to Earth - i.e. reality. They are actually rather normal people (despite the NASA-manufactured Right Stuff aura) and, as such, they are as vulnerable to life's temptations and susceptible to illnesses as anyone else.
Of course, the next time a movie studio tries to get NASA PAO to cooperate on a wild story, PAO can't say "oh that would never happen at NASA".

11:27 AM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

First Black Navy Diver Dies
Associated Press | July 26, 2006
RICHMOND, Virginia - Carl M. Brashear, the first black U.S. Navy diver, who was portrayed by Cuba Gooding Jr. in the 2000 film "Men of Honor," died Tuesday. He was 75.

Brashear died at the Naval Medical Center Portsmouth of respiratory and heart failure, the medical center said.

Brashear retired from the Navy in 1979 after more than 30 years of service. He was the first Navy diver to be restored to full active duty as an amputee, the result of a leg injury he sustained during a salvage operation.

"The African-American community lost a great leader today in Carl Brashear," Gooding said of the man he played alongside Robert DeNiro, who was Brashear's roughneck training officer in "Men of Honor." "His impact to us as a people and all races will be felt for many decades to come."

In 1966, Brashear was assigned to recover a hydrogen bomb that dropped into waters off of Spain when two U.S. Air Force planes collided.

During the mission, Brashear was struck below his left knee by a pipe that the crew was using to hoist the bomb out of the water. Brashear was airlifted to a naval hospital where the bottom of his left leg was amputated to avoid gangrene. It later was replaced with a prosthetic leg.

The Navy was ready to retire Brashear from active duty, but he soon began a grueling training program that included diving, running and calisthenics.

"Sometimes I would come back from a run, and my artificial leg would have a puddle of blood from my stump. I wouldn't go to sick bay because they would have taken me out of the program," Brashear said in 2002 when he was inducted into the Gallery of Great Black Kentuckians. "Instead I'd go hide somewhere and soak my leg in a bucket of hot water with salt in it - that's an old remedy I learned growing up."

Brashear faced an uphill battle when he joined the Navy in 1948 at the age of 17, not long after the U.S. military desegregated.

"I went to the Army office, and they weren't too friendly," Brashear said in 2002. "But the Navy recruiter was a lot nicer. Looking back, I was placed in my calling."

Brashear, the son of poor sharecroppers in Sonora, Kentucky, quickly decided after boot camp that he wanted to become a deep-sea diver.

"Growing up on a farm in Kentucky, I always dreamed of doing something challenging," he said. "When I saw the divers for the first time, I knew it was just what I wanted."

In 1954, he was accepted and graduated from the diving program, despite daily battles with discrimination, including having hate notes left on his bunk.

He went on to train for advanced diving programs before his 1966 incident.

"He kept to himself personally, but his military life was an open book," said Junetta Brashear, his first wife, who lives in Portsmouth, near Brashear's home in Virginia Beach.

She said Brashear's health started to deteriorate about three years ago, but that he had experienced problems ever since the amputation.

Brashear married childhood friend Junetta Wilcox in 1952, and had four children - Shazanta, DaWayne, Phillip and Patrick - before their divorce in 1978. He later married Hattie R. Elam and Jeanette A. Brundage.

1:34 PM  

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