History

Doris Miller

Doris Miller, born on October 12, 1919, was an American sailor who served in the United States Navy during World War II. He is best known for his heroic actions during the attack on Pearl Harbor, where he saved the lives of many of his fellow sailors and became the first African American to be awarded the Navy Cross. Miller was born in Waco, Texas, and grew up in a time of racial segregation and discrimination. Despite these challenges, he excelled in sports and was known for his strength and athleticism. In 1939, he enlisted in the Navy and was assigned to the USS West Virginia.

On December 7, 1941, the Japanese launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, and Miller found himself amid the chaos. When the alarm sounded, he rushed to his battle station, only to find it destroyed by enemy fire. Undeterred, he took up arms and began firing at the attacking planes. Despite having no formal training as a gunner, Miller showed remarkable skill and bravery. He manned an anti-aircraft machine gun and fired at the enemy planes with precision and accuracy. He continued to fight until he ran out of ammunition, at which point he helped to move wounded sailors to safety.

Miller’s actions that day saved countless lives and inspired his fellow sailors. He was hailed as a hero and received numerous accolades, including the Navy Cross, the third-highest award for valor in the U.S. Navy. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Miller continued to serve in the Navy and was later assigned to the USS Liscome Bay. In November 1943, while serving in the Pacific Theater, the Liscome Bay was hit by a torpedo and sank. Miller was one of over 600 sailors who lost their lives in the attack.

Despite his untimely death, Miller’s legacy lives on. He is remembered as a trailblazer who broke down racial barriers and paved the way for future generations of African Americans in the military. In 1973, the Navy named a frigate after him, the USS Miller (FF-1091), making him the first African American to have a U.S. Navy ship named in his honor.

In conclusion, Doris Miller was a true American hero who embodied the values of courage, selflessness, and service. His actions during the attack on Pearl Harbor will forever be remembered as a testament to his bravery and dedication to his country. His legacy serves as an inspiration to all those who seek to make a difference in the world and make it a better place for future generations.

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