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Title

Table of Contents

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Introduction

THE ANCHOR

CALL IT LIKE YOU SEE IT

THE GO-GETTERS

EYES FOR A SAILOR

THE APPLE DON’T FALL FAR FROM THE TREE

PHYSICAL SCREENING TEST

BUY-IN (DEEP SEA DIVERS SCHOOL)

A MOMENT OF CHOICE

EXPLOSIVE ORDNANCE DISPOSAL

QUIET STRONG

THE GOAT LOCKER IN THE CROSSHAIRS

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING

THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS

CHIEF IN HIS GRASP

BIBLIOGRAPHY

AUTHOR AFFILIATIONS

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

With special thanks:

Oh God, thank you for entrusting me with this divine assignment and giving me the wisdom, strength and patience to accomplish it. To Jesus Christ, my Savior and Lord, I dedicate this book to you.

To my father and mother - without whose unconditional love, integrity, courage, and selflessness I would not have been inspired to write this biography.

To my siblings Sherlyn, Sherman Jr., Azelle, Yolanda, Sandra, Andre, and Laurie - thank you for encouraging me, loving me, and praying for me. I love you more than you may ever know!

To my husband Alton - I remember the words we put on the back of our wedding program, those words still ring true after 34 years; “It is a beautiful thing to know that you are in the will of God, rejoice with us for we know!” I am so glad that God chose to make us one. I love you. Thank you for all of the things that you do!

To my daughter Crystal and my son Maurice - thank you for believing in me. I thank God for blessing me with the two of you. You bring me joy. I love you so much!

To my nieces and nephews - thank you for inspiring me to leave you this legacy with the hope that you will aspire to make your grandparents proud. I love you dearly!

To my Aunts, Uncles, and Mother-in-law, thank you for your unwavering love and guidance along the way. You have taught me so much! I will always love you!

To all of my cousins - the Byrd, Keys, White, Arnold, and Brown clan, I thank God for each and every one of you. There are no family reunions like our family reunions! I pray that God will give us the strength to keep them going so we may continue to pass down our family history from one generation to another. See you soon! Love ya cuz!

To BM3 Sidney Crudup II - thank you for sharing your knowledge and experiences as a Boatswain’s Mate in the United States Navy with me. You were the missing link that I needed to bring Dad’s story full circle. Thank you for your service to our country!

To Sonja Newbill - thank you for your expertise and patience in helping me to complete and publish this book. Your kindness is greatly appreciated. May God continue to bless you to help other authors get to the finish line.

To Charles Collins III, owner of Azure Aesthetics - I am awed by your talent! The book cover is so powerful! Thank you for your vision. My family and I are truly grateful for all you have done for us!

To MMC (EOD) Ret. Mike Coulter - thank you for being the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) subject matter expert for this book. Your knowledge of the history of EOD and your ability to share it in layman’s terms has helped me to grasp the magnitude of the EOD warrior’s sacrifice. Our family greatly appreciates you keeping the memory of our father alive. Last but not least, thank you for your service to our country!

Introduction

A teenager, tired of living by Jim Crow laws in the southern state of Mississippi, seeks to find out God’s purpose for his life. The youngest son of sharecroppers, Sherman Byrd watched and waited for a sign. A series of events pointed him in a direction few Negroes had travelled before. Death loomed all around. Determined to walk by faith and not by sight, Byrd’s journey unexpectedly led him down a path where he became a pioneer in one of the most dangerous jobs known to mankind. Disarming bombs!

A silent oath, a vow unspoken, explosive ordnance disposal divers do not tell war stories. It is the Sovereignty of God that unleashes truth that cannot stay buried beneath the test of time. Selfless sacrifices and epic feats burst forth like lava from a volcano. Now, is the appointed time to share the life story of Master Chief Boatswain’s Mate Sherman Byrd, the first African American Explosive Ordnance Disposal Diver in the United States Navy.