Showing posts with label U.S. Coast Guard. Show all posts
Showing posts with label U.S. Coast Guard. Show all posts

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Coast Guard honors service’s first African American diver

The Coast Guard honored Ralph Berry, the service’s first African American diver, Tuesday, in a ceremony at Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina.

In 1979, Berry became the first African American to graduate from the Navy Dive and Salvage Center in Panama City, Florida. He was assigned to the Atlantic Strike Team in Elizabeth City, and dove on the sunken Coast Guard Cutter Blackthorn in 1980. Berry was also attached to the Coast Guard Cutter Basswood in Guam, and the Coast Guard Cutter Sassafras in Hawaii.

Altogether Berry’s family has more than 400 years of combined service in the Coast Guard, which includes Richard Etheridge, the first African American to command a Life-Saving Station.

The ceremony saw active duty members of the Coast Guard, the Coast Guard’s dive program and family and friends of Berry in attendance.

“The Coast Guard is proud to celebrate and recognize a member who continually challenged himself and kept true to the Coast Guard core values of Honor, Respect, and Devotion to Duty,” said Capt. Lamont Bazemore, chief of enlisted personnel for the Fifth District. “In 1994 I was attending Elizabeth City State University when I received a flyer over the Christmas break about the Minority Officer Recruitment Effort program. Chief Berry shepherded me through the recruitment process, but more importantly, seeing a Black man in a leadership position helped me to see myself in the Coast Guard. Chief Berry was always a soft-spoken, supportive leader. It was my honor today to shake his hand and thank him for opening a door to my more than 27 years of service.”

Sunday, December 09, 2018

Olivia Hooker first African American woman to serve in the U.S. Coast Guard laid to rest

The first African-American woman to serve in the U.S. Coast Guard and one of the last survivors of a race riot in Oklahoma has been laid to rest with military honors.

A funeral was held Wednesday in White Plains, New York, for Olivia Hooker. She was 103 years old when she died on Nov. 21.

The Coast Guard says Hooker enlisted in the Coast Guard Women's Reserve in 1945 and rose to the rank of yeoman second class before her discharge in 1946.

Hooker also survived one of the worst race riots in U.S. history. She was 6 years old in 1921 when the late-spring riot destroyed much of a Tulsa neighborhood that had been known as "Black Wall Street."

Hooker was a psychologist and a professor of psychology at Fordham University, where she retired at age 87 in 2002.