Doris (Dorie) Miller enlisted in the Navy as a cook, being assigned to non-combat duties because he was Black. While serving on the USS West Virginia at Pearl Harbor, he found himself and 2 other crew mates commanding two 50-caliber Browning anti-aircraft machine guns after their aircraft carrier was attacked and critically damaged by Japanese planes on December 7, 1941. He was awarded the Navy Cross in 1942. Doris Miller unfortunately died in 1943 while serving in the Pacific theater.
His valor and recognition helped launch the integration of the races in the US Military.
Though Doris Miller secured his place in history among U.S. sailors, his story often went overlooked. But in 2020, nearly 80 years after he proved himself a hero, he won a whole new level of recognition unlike anything in American history.
On Martin Luther King Day, 2020, the U.S. Navy honored Miller by making him the first Black man in U.S. history to have an aircraft carrier named after him. The USS Doris Miller is now officially scheduled to launch in 2028.
The family of Doris Miller unveils a plaque commemorating the aircraft carrier named in his honor at Pearl Harbor on Jan. 20, 2020.
DORIS MILLER, AN AMERICAN TO BE PROUD OF!