Navy To Name Aircraft Carrier For Pearl Harbor Hero Doris Miller

Miller manned a machine gun on the USS West Virginia and returned fire against Japanese planes during the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.

The U.S. Navy will name an aircraft carrier in honor of an African American for the first time on Monday during a Martin Luther King Jr. Day ceremony.

What We Know:

  • Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly said the USS Doris “Dorie” Miller will serve as reminder of the nations ongoing pursuit of justice and as tribute its namesake.
  • Miller, the first African American to receive the Navy Cross for his courage during the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, helped evacuate the West Virginia battleship before it sank and fired a machine gun at Japanese Imperialists until he ran out of ammunition.
  • The Naval History and Heritage Command website quoted Miller recalling the incident saying, “It wasn’t hard, I just pulled the trigger and she worked fine. I had watched the others with these guns. I guess I fired her for about 15 minutes.”
  • Miller served as the ship’s cook at the time and showed initiative, professionalism, and commitment during the attack, according to Modly.
  • Miller died two years later aboard the USS Liscome Bay, when the ship was hit by a Japanese torpedo and sank off Butaritari Atoll, according to the Navy.
  • Along with the Navy Cross, Miller has been awarded the Purple Heart Medal, the American Defense Service Medal, Fleet Clasp, the Asian-Pacific Campaign Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal.

In 2001, actor Cuba Gooding Jr. played Miller in the World War II movie Pearl Harbor. And in 2017, a statue of Miller was unveiled in Waco.

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Dominique Browder is a Digital Intern at UnmutedCo.

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