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.