The Murray Center located in downtown Norfolk was the venue for a celebration honoring the First African-American Navy Seal, William “Bill” Goines (United States Navy, Retired). After watching “a film about an underwater demolition which occurred during World War II, Goines stated that “his fate was sealed right there.” Although the pool in his home town was for whites only, Bill would not let that deter him from reaching his goal. He taught himself to swim in the local creek and was ready to meet the challenge to become a Navy Seal. When President Kennedy, in 1962, formed Navy Seal teams on the East and West coasts, Bill Goines was the only African-American, out of 40 men, selected to join the team of trainees. During his journey to become a Navy Seal, in the early sixties, William had to face a myriad of military challenges and the racism of the times. Master Chief Petty Officer Bill Goines retired after spending 32 years, of his life, serving our country in the military. Following his retirement, from the Navy, Goines served as chief of police, for 14 years, for the Portsmouth school system; and, after that, he recruited persons to become NAVY SEALS.
The program celebrating Bill Goines, The First African-American Seal, who was honored at the opening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture in the presence of THE First African-American President – Barack H. Obama was called to order by Mary Redd Nelson/Board Chair of Oakmont Community Development Corporation (OCDC). Members of the Dias were also introduced by Nelson. This was followed by the singing of “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” The Mistress of Ceremonies for this auspicious affair was Barbara Ciara, Managing Editor of WTKR News 3 and WGN TV channel 27. Melvin Walker, Treasurer of OCDC, did the welcome; Board Member of OCDC, Arthur Jarrett gave the occasion. “Let Us Bread Together” was sung by Dr. James Howell. Following the invocation by Rev. Dr. Joseph P. Lee, Pastor of Bank Street Memorial Baptist Church, guests ate a delicious buffet breakfast prepared by Bernard Green and the Murray Center Staff. After breakfast, Dr. James Howell sang in his melodious voice “To God Be the Glory.”
The Honorable Matthew James the 80th District Delegate of the Commonwealth of Virginia, introduced the speaker for the celebration The Honorable Robert “Bobby” Scott, Congressman 3rd District of Virginia. Congressman Scott gave brief and inspiring remarks. Because there are unsung heroes, Scott quoted Yogi Berra, and I paraphrase, “Days or occasions like these are necessary.” Rev. William Collins, Jr. brought the audience to their feet with his rendition of “America the Beautiful.”
Master Corpsman (Navy Seal Retired) Fred “Doc” McCarty a personal friend of the honoree, since 1962, gave very personal expressions of friendship and gratitude. State Delegate, representing the 90th District of the Commonwealth of Virginia The Honorable Joseph C. Lindsey read a Resolution from the General Assembly which was passed on February 15, 2017. William D. Sessoms, Jr., Mayor of Virginia Beach, sent a Certificate of Appreciation. Prior to the Benediction by Rev. Joseph P. Lee, Stacy Darden and Mary Redd Nelson representing Oakmont Community Development Corporation presented Master Chief Petty Officer Goines (United States Navy, Retired) with a trophy that listed his accomplishments and the name of his church. Because of her steadfast caring and love of Bill, his wife of 52 years, Marie Davis Goines was also given an award.
Thank you Master Chief Petty Officer William “Bill” Goines (United States Navy, Retired) for your service to mankind. You not only served your country as an “Officer” you are what we consider a “true gentleman!!!”