Junetta Wilcoxson is notable for being the ex-wife of Carl Brashear, a United States Navy sailor. Carl Brashear’s life is the inspiration behind the Hollywood movie Men of Honor, which stars Cuba Gooding Jr. and Robert De Nero. Brashear is also known for being the first African-American to attend and complete the U.S. Navy Diving & Salvage training. He was also the first African-American U.S. Navy diver. Despite his leg getting amputated in 1966, Carl Brashear became a master diver in 1970.
There may not be much information on Junetta Wilcoxson, but we can cover a lot about his husband, who was ranked a Master Chief Petty Officer. Keep reading to learn more about the navy hero.
Junetta Wilcoxson Personal Life
Junetta was born in 1933. She married Carl Brashear, with whom they had four children, including Phillip M. Brashear, Shazanta Brashear, DaWayne Brashear, and Patrick S. Brashear. They divorced in 1978 after a 26-year marriage. No other information regarding Junetta is available on the web.
Carl Brashear Early Life
Brashear was born on 19 January 1931 in Tonieville, Kentucky. He was the sixth of the 16 children of McDonald and Gonzella Brashear. In 1935, Brashear’s family moved to a farm in Sonora, Kentucky, where he attended Sonora Grade School from 1937 to 1946.
Carl Brashear Career
In 1948, Brashear enlisted in the United States Navy. He graduated from the United States Navy Diving & Salvage School in 1954. Brashear faced racial hostility while in the institution, where he would find threatening notes on his bunk. He received encouragement to finish from Harry M. Rutherford, graduating 16 out of 17.
He first worked as a diver to retrieve an estimated 16.000 rounds of ammunition that fell off a broken and sunk barge. His first tour of shore duties included salvaging airplanes and recovering dead bodies from the sea.
Brashear escorted the presidential yacht, Barbara Anne, to Rhode Island, where he met President Eisenhower. The president gifted him a small knife with a thank-you inscription. He became chief in 1959 and stayed at Guam doing demolition dives.
In January 1966, Brashear was one of those assigned to retrieve the missing bomb during the Palomares incident. He got awarded the Navy and Marines Medal for his service in helping recover the bomb.
Brashear suffered a leg injury during the bomb recovery, and he remained at the Naval Regional Medical Center to recover and rehabilitate. His lower left leg had suffered severe injuries; it had to be amputated. Brashear became the first amputee diver to return to active duty in April 1968. He became a master diver in 1970 and served nine more years to become a master chief. Brashier lived by two beliefs: “I ain’t going to let nobody steal my dream,” and ”It’s not a sin to get knocked down: it’s a sin to stay down.”
Brashear married and divorced three times but only had children with his featured ex-wife Junetta Wilcoxson. He died of respiratory and heart failure on 25 July 2006.
Brashear lived his life to the fullest, receiving several honors and awards for his services. However, the best recognition he got was the movie Men of Honor, inspired by Brashear’s life.