The Coast Guard held a ceremony honoring the services first African American diver Tuesday morning.
In 1979, Ralph 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. Mr. Berry was also attached to the Coast Guard Cutter Basswood in Guam, and the Coast Guard Cutter Sassafras in Hawaii. Altogether his family has over 400 years of combined service in the Coast Guard, which includes Richard Etheridge, the first African American to command a Life-Saving Station.
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.