Rear Admiral Osie V. Combs, (Ret. USN)

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Rear Admiral Osie V. Combs, (Ret. USN)


Rear Admiral Osie V. Combs (Ret. USN) talks about his siblings, parents, extended family and growing up in a neighborhood within a ten-block radius south of Texas Avenue. He discusses Booker T. Washington School and the different teachers that influenced, and pushed him towards excellence especially English instructor, Professor Carter. Combs talks about the recreation center that was adjacent to the school where children could socialize and swim. He discusses the economic makeup of his family and the greater community. He talks about attending Barbour’s Chapel and the strong influence the church had on him. Combs describes the BTU (Baptist Training Union) competitions and how they fostered a competitiveness to succeed. He tells of how his parents encouraged his curiosity and love of science, even after one of his experiments nearly electrocutes him. He discusses attending Prairie View A&M University and then joining the Navy. He states that he was the first African American selected by the Navy to be part of an elite MIT engineering group and receives both a master’s in mechanical engineering and a Degree of Engineering in Naval Architecture. Combs talks about the unwritten rule of not going north of Texas Avenue, and how there were stores that were for Whites Only. He talks about barber shops being a place for political discussion, and his experience with racism for the first time. He talks about Hurricane Carla and the damage done to the community and his family’s home. He details his views on desegregation and the integration of schools telling how Texas City fared better than most southern cities and that his generation helped bridge the transition non-violently.







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Brenda Broussard


Osie V. Combs




“Rear Admiral Osie V. Combs, (Ret. USN),” The Oral History Archive at Moore Memorial Public Library, accessed May 21, 2024,