Doris Miller enlisted in the Navy in 1938 as a Mess Attendant Third Class. Following his initial training at Naval Station Norfolk, Miller was ultimately assigned to the USS West Virginia. On December 7, 1941, he was aboard the West Virginia which was in Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked. He awoke that day an average sailor, but he ended that day a hero.
When the alarm sounded he headed for his battle station, only to find that it had been destroyed by torpedoes. He then headed to the deck where he was assigned to carry wounded fellow sailors to places of greater safety. Soon after, officer ordered him to the bridge to aid their mortally wounded Captain of the ship. Amidst the chaos, he then manned a 50 caliber Browning anti-aircraft machine gun until he ran out of ammunition and was ordered to abandon ship.
In May 1942, he was awarded the Navy Cross for his devotion to duty, extraordinary courage and disregard for his own personal safety during the attack on the Fleet in Pearl Harbor. But in 1943 During the battle of the Gilbert Islands, his ship, the USS Liscome Bay was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine and was sunk in the Pacific Ocean and he perished with the ship. During his time on the Liscome Bay, he had been promoted to Cook Third Class.
Because of his amazing bravery and dedication to our country, Doris Miller now has an aircraft carrier named after him. The USS Doris Miller (CVN 81) is scheduled to be laid down in 2026 and to be commissioned in 2032. It will be the first aircraft carrier named for an enlisted Sailor and the first named for an African American.
For more information about Doris Miller, visit: https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/biographies-list/bios-m/miller-doris.html