Bill Goines recalls going for a swim in a public pool in Lockland, Ohio, when he heard a whistle blowing. That was a cue for him and other people of color to leave.
As they exited, officials drained the water and refilled it for white people to take a swim. It was that experience that compelled Goines to take swims on his own, eventually learning how to swim in the neighborhood creek where his childhood friend died. He wouldn’t let anything stand in his way.
Goines, 82, believes it was sheer grit and determination in the face of all obstacles that helped him become one of the first original U.S. Navy SEALs, a military team created by President John F. Kennedy in 1962. It wasn’t until later in his career that Goines realized he was the unit’s first African-American. The Navy SEALs are most popularly known for their 2011 raid in Pakistan on the compound housing former Al-Qaeda leader and Sept. 11 mastermind Osama bin Laden, a covert operation conducted by SEAL Team Six.
“I was one of 40 selected to become the nucleus of future Navy SEALs,” Goines said. “I remember asking this lieutenant, ‘what was our mission gonna be? And he said, ‘It’s too secret to talk about.’”
After years traveling the world for the SEAL team and going on secret missions, Bill Goines sees it as his life’s work to diversify the U.S. military’s most elite unit. And the new front line for that mission begins at schools with young people – @NBCBLK https://t.co/prARje5fx3
— NBC News (@NBCNews) March 19, 2019