|Born||October 12, 1919|
Waco, Texas, U.S.
|Died||November 24, 1943 24) (aged|
USS Liscome Bay, off Makin Atoll, Gilbert and Ellice Islands
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/||United States Navy|
|Years of service||1939–1943|
|Rank||Cook Third Class|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
Doris "Dorie" Miller (October 12, 1919 –November 24, 1943) was a United States Navy cook third class who was killed in action during World War II. He was the first black American to be awarded the Navy Cross, the highest decoration for valor in combat after the Medal of Honor.
Miller served aboard the battleship West Virginia, which was sunk by Japanese torpedo bombers during the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. During the attack, he helped several sailors who were wounded, and while manning an anti-aircraft machine gun for which he had no training, he shot down several Japanese planes.Miller's actions earned him the medal, and the resulting publicity for Miller in the black press made him an iconic emblem of the fight for civil rights for black Americans. In November 1943, Miller was killed while serving aboard the escort carrier Liscome Bay when it was sunk by a Japanese submarine during the Battle of Makin in the Gilbert Islands.
The destroyer escort/Knox-class frigate USS Miller (reclassified as a frigate in June 1975), in service from 1973 to 1991, was named after him.On January 19, 2020, the Navy announced that a Gerald R. Ford-class nuclear powered aircraft carrier, CVN-81, would be named after Miller. The ship is scheduled to be laid down in 2023 and launched in 2028.
Miller was born in Waco, Texas, on October 12, 1919, to Connery and Henrietta Miller. He was named Doris, as the midwife who assisted his mother was convinced before his birth that the baby would be a girl. 6 feet 3 inches (1.91 m) tall and weighed more than 200 pounds (91 kg). Miller worked on his father's farm until shortly before his 20th birthday,He was the third of four sons and helped around the house, cooked meals and did laundry, as well as working on the family farm. He was a fullback on the football team at Waco's Alexander James Moore High School. He began attending the eighth grade again on January 25, 1937, at the age of 17 he repeated the grade the following year due to poor performance, so he decided to drop out of school. He filled his time squirrel hunting with a .22 rifle and completed a correspondence course in taxidermy. He applied to join the Civilian Conservation Corps, but was not accepted. At that time, he was
Miller's nickname "Dorie" may have originated from a typographical error. He was nominated for recognition for his actions on December 7, 1941, and the Pittsburgh Courier released a story on March 14, 1942, which gave his name as "Dorie Miller".Since then, some writers have suggested that it was a "nickname to shipmates and friends".
Miller enlisted in the U.S. Navy as a mess attendant third class at the Naval Recruiting Station in Dallas, Texas, for six years on September 16, 1939.Mess attendant was one of the few ratings open at the time to black sailors. He was transferred to the Naval Training Center, Naval Operating Base, Norfolk, Virginia, arriving on September 19. After training school, he was assigned to the ammunition ship Pyro (AE-1) and then transferred on January 2, 1940, to the Colorado-class battleship West Virginia (BB-48). It was on the West Virginia where he started competition boxing, becoming the ship's heavyweight champion. In July, he was on temporary duty aboard the Nevada (BB-36) at Secondary Battery Gunnery School. He returned to the West Virginia on August 3. He advanced in rating to mess attendant second class on February 16, 1941.
Miller was a crewman aboard the West Virginia and awoke at 6 a.m. on December 7, 1941. He served breakfast mess and was collecting laundry at 7:57 a.m. when Lieutenant Commander Shigeharu Murata from the Japanese aircraft carrier Akagi launched planes that fired the first of seven torpedoes that hit West Virginia. The "Battle Stations" alarm went off; Miller headed for his battle station, an anti-aircraft battery magazine amidships, only to discover that a torpedo had destroyed it.
He went then to "Times Square" on deck, a central spot aboard the ship where the fore-to-aft and port-to-starboard passageways crossed, reporting himself available for other duty and was assigned to help carry wounded sailors to places of greater safety.Lieutenant Commander Doir C. Johnson, the ship's communications officer, spotted Miller and saw his physical prowess, so he ordered him to accompany him to the conning tower on the flag bridge to assist in moving the ship's captain, Mervyn Bennion, who had a gaping wound in his abdomen where he had apparently been hit by shrapnel after the first Japanese attack. Miller and another sailor lifted the skipper but were unable to remove him from the bridge, so they carried him on a cot from his exposed position on the damaged bridge to a sheltered spot on the deck behind the conning tower where he remained during the second Japanese attack. Captain Bennion refused to leave his post, questioned his officers and men about the condition of the ship, and gave orders and instructions to crew members to defend the ship and fight. Unable to go to the deck below because of smoke and flames, he was carried up a ladder to the navigation bridge, where he died from blood loss despite the aid from a pharmacist mate. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
Lieutenant Frederic H. White had ordered Miller to help him and Ensign Victor Delano load the unmanned number 1 and number 2 Browning .50 caliber anti-aircraft machine guns aft of the conning tower.Miller was not familiar with the weapon, but White and Delano instructed him on how to operate it. Delano expected Miller to feed ammunition to one gun, but his attention was diverted and, when he looked again, Miller was firing one of the guns. White then loaded ammunition into both guns and assigned Miller the starboard gun.
Miller fired the gun until he ran out of ammunition, when he was ordered by Lieutenant Claude V. Ricketts to help carry the captain up to the navigation bridge out of the thick oily smoke generated by the many fires on and around the ship; Miller who was officially credited with downing at least two enemy planes. mm) aircraft torpedoes into her port side. When the attack finally lessened, Miller helped move injured sailors through oil and water to the quarterdeck, thereby "unquestionably saving the lives of a number of people who might otherwise have been lost"."I think I got one of those Jap planes. They were diving pretty close to us," he said later. Japanese aircraft eventually dropped two armor-piercing bombs through the deck of the battleship and launched five 18-inch (460
The ship was heavily damaged by bombs, torpedoes, and resulting explosions and fires, but the crew prevented her from capsizing by counter-flooding a number of compartments. Instead, West Virginia sank to the harbor bottom in shallow water as her surviving crew abandoned ship, including Miller;the ship was raised and restored for continued service in the war. On the West Virginia, 132 men were killed and 52 were wounded from the Japanese attack. On December 13, Miller reported to the heavy cruiser Indianapolis (CA-35).
On January 1, 1942, the Navy released a list of commendations for actions on December 7. Among them was a single commendation for an unnamed black man. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) had asked President Franklin D. Roosevelt to award the Distinguished Service Cross to the unknown black sailor. The Navy Board of Awards received a recommendation that the sailor be considered for recognition. On March 12, an Associated Press story named Miller as the sailor, citing the African-American newspaper Pittsburgh Courier ; S.Res. 2392] to award Miller the Medal of Honor, and Representative John D. Dingell, Sr. (D-MI) introduced a matching House bill [H.R. 6800].additional news reports credited Lawrence D. Reddick with learning the name through correspondence with the Navy Department. In the following days, Senator James M. Mead (D-NY) introduced a Senate bill [
Miller was recognized as one of the "first US heroes of World War II". He was commended in a letter signed by Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox on April 1, and the next day, CBS Radio broadcast an episode of the series They Live Forever, which dramatized Miller's actions.
Black organizations began a campaign to honor Miller with additional recognition. On April 4, the Pittsburgh Courier urged readers to write to members of the congressional Naval Affairs Committee in support of awarding the Medal of Honor to Miller.The All-Southern Negro Youth Conference launched a signature campaign on April 17–19. On May 10, the National Negro Congress denounced Knox's recommendation against awarding Miller the Medal of Honor. On May 11, President Roosevelt approved the Navy Cross for Miller.
On May 27, Miller was personally recognized by Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet, aboard the aircraft carrier Enterprise (CV-6) at anchor in Pearl Harbor.Nimitz presented Miller with the Navy Cross, at the time the third-highest Navy award for gallantry during combat, after the Medal of Honor and the Navy Distinguished Service Medal; on August 7, 1942, Congress revised the order of precedence, placing the Navy Cross above the Distinguished Service Medal in precedence.
Nimitz said of Miller's commendation, "This marks the first time in this conflict that such high tribute has been made in the Pacific Fleet to a member of his race and I'm sure that the future will see others similarly honored for brave acts."
Miller advanced in rating to mess attendant first class on June 1, 1942. ... Keeps Mop" next to a photo of a white survivor of the Pearl Harbor attack receiving an officer's commission. The photo caption stated that the Navy felt that Miller was "too important waiting tables in the Pacific" for him to return to the United States.On June 27, the Pittsburgh Courier called for him to be allowed to return home for a war bond tour along with white war heroes. On July 25, the Pittsburgh Courier ran a photo of Miller with the caption "He Fought
On November 23, Miller returned to Pearl Harbor and was ordered on a war bond tour while still attached to Indianapolis.In December, and January 1943, he gave presentations in Oakland, California, in his hometown of Waco, in Dallas, and to the first graduating class of black sailors from Great Lakes Naval Training Station. He was featured on the 1943 Navy recruiting poster "Above and beyond the call of duty", designed by David Stone Martin.
In February 1943, "mess attendant" was changed to the "steward's mate" rate title by the Navy.On May 15, Miller reported to Puget Sound Navy Yard at Bremerton, Washington assigned to the newly constructed escort carrier Liscome Bay (CVE-56). He was advanced in rating to cook third class on June 1. The ship had a crew of 960 men, and its primary functions were to serve as a convoy escort, to provide aircraft for close air support during amphibious landing operations, and to ferry aircraft to naval bases and fleet carriers at sea. The Liscome Bay was the flagship for Carrier Division 24 which was under the command of Rear Admiral Henry M. Mullinnix. On October 22, Liscome Bay set sail for Pearl Harbor.
After training in Hawaii waters, Liscome Bay left Pearl Harbor on November 10, 1943, to join the Northern Task Force, Task Group 52. I-175 (which fired four torpedoes at Task Group 5312). The carrier's own torpedoes and aircraft bombs, including 2,000-pounders, detonated a few moments later causing the ship to sink in 23 minutes. There were 272 survivors from the crew of over 900, but Miller was among the two-thirds of the crew listed as "presumed dead". His parents were informed that he was missing in action on December 7, 1943. Liscome Bay was the only ship lost in the Gilbert Islands operation. Rear Admiral Mullinnix and the carrier's captain, Irving Wiltsie, also died aboard the Liscome Bay. Mullinnix was in command of Task Group 52.3 (Air Support Group of Northern Attack Force (Makin), Task Group 52) at the time.Miller's carrier took part in the Battle of Makin (invasion of Makin by units of the Army's 165th Regimental Combat Team, 27th Infantry Division) which had begun on November 20. On November 24, the day after Makin was captured by American soldiers and the eve of Thanksgiving that year (the cooks had broken out the frozen turkeys from Pearl Harbor), the Liscome Bay was cruising near Butaritari (Makin Atoll's main island) when it was struck just before dawn in the stern by a torpedo from the Japanese submarine
A memorial service was held for Miller on April 30, 1944, at the Second Baptist Church in Waco, Texas, sponsored by the Victory Club.On May 28, a granite marker was dedicated at Moore High School in Waco to honor him. Miller was officially declared dead by the Navy on November 25, 1944, a year and a day after the loss of Liscome Bay. One of his brothers also had served during World War II.
Miller's decorations and awards:
|1st Row||Navy Cross|| Purple Heart |
|2nd Row|| Combat Action Ribbon |
|Good Conduct Medal|| American Defense Service Medal |
with "FLEET" clasp (bronze star)
|3rd Row||American Campaign Medal|| Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal |
with two bronze stars
| World War II Victory Medal |
For distinguished devotion to duty, extraordinary courage and disregard for his own personal safety during the attack on the Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, by Japanese forces on December 7, 1941. While at the side of his Captain on the bridge, Miller, despite enemy strafing and bombing and in the face of a serious fire, assisted in moving his Captain, who had been mortally wounded, to a place of greater safety, and later manned and operated a machine gun directed at enemy Japanese attacking aircraft until ordered to leave the bridge.
USS Indianapolis (CL/CA-35) was a Portland-class heavy cruiser of the United States Navy, named for the city of Indianapolis, Indiana. Launched in 1931, the vessel served as the flagship for the commander of Scouting Force 1 for eight years, then as flagship for Admiral Raymond Spruance in 1943 and 1944 while he commanded the Fifth Fleet in battles across the Central Pacific during World War II.
USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) is the seventh Nimitz-class nuclear-powered supercarrier in the United States Navy, named for Senator John C. Stennis of Mississippi.
The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service upon the United States against the naval base at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii, just before 08:00, on Sunday morning, December 7, 1941. The attack led to the United States' formal entry into World War II the next day. The Japanese military leadership referred to the attack as the Hawaii Operation and Operation AI, and as Operation Z during its planning. Japan intended the attack as a preventive action to prevent the United States Pacific Fleet from interfering with its planned military actions in Southeast Asia against overseas territories of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and those of the United States. Over the course of seven hours there were coordinated Japanese attacks on the U.S.-held Philippines, Guam, and Wake Island and on the British Empire in Malaya, Singapore, and Hong Kong.
Pearl Harbor is a 2001 American romantic war drama film directed by Michael Bay, produced by Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer and written by Randall Wallace. It stars Ben Affleck, Kate Beckinsale, Josh Hartnett, Cuba Gooding Jr., Tom Sizemore, Jon Voight, Colm Feore, and Alec Baldwin. The film presented a heavily fictionalized version of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, focusing on a love story set amid the lead up to the attack, its aftermath, and the Doolittle Raid.
Gordon Paiʻea Chung-Hoon was an admiral in the United States Navy, who served during World War II and was the first Asian American flag officer. He received the Navy Cross and Silver Star for conspicuous gallantry and extraordinary heroism as commanding officer of USS Sigsbee from May 1944 to October 1945.
USS Lexington (CV/CVA/CVS/CVT/AVT-16), nicknamed "The Blue Ghost", is an Essex-class aircraft carrier built during World War II for the United States Navy. Originally intended to be named Cabot, the new aircraft carrier was renamed while under construction to commemorate the recently-lost USS Lexington (CV-2), becoming the fifth U.S. Navy ship to bear the name in honor of the Battle of Lexington.
USS Casablanca (AVG/ACV/CVE-55) was the first of fifty Casablanca-class escort carriers built for the United States Navy during World War II. She was named after the Naval Battle of Casablanca, conducted as a part of the wider Operation Torch, which pitted the United States Navy against the remnants of the French Navy controlled by Vichy France. The American victory cleared the way for the seizure of the port of Casablanca as well as the Allied occupation of French Morocco. The ship was launched in April 1943, commissioned in July, and served as a training and transport carrier throughout the war. Postwar, she participated in Operation Magic Carpet, repatriating U.S. servicemen from throughout the Pacific. She was decommissioned in June 1946, when she was mothballed in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. She was sold for scrap in April 1947.
USS Franklin, nicknamed "Big Ben," was one of 24 Essex-class aircraft carriers built during World War II for the United States Navy, and the fifth US Navy ship to bear the name. Commissioned in January 1944, she served in several campaigns in the Pacific War, earning four battle stars. She was badly damaged by a Japanese air attack in March 1945, with the loss of over 800 of her crew, becoming the most heavily damaged United States aircraft carrier to survive the war. Movie footage of the actual attack was included in the 1949 film Task Force starring Gary Cooper.
Ensign George Henry Gay Jr. was a Douglas TBD Devastator pilot in United States Navy Torpedo Squadron 8 operating from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet in the Pacific Theater of Operations during World War II. Of the 30 VT-8 aircrew from Hornet that participated in the pivotal Battle of Midway, Ensign Gay was the sole survivor.
USS Bunker Hill was one of 24 Essex-class aircraft carriers built during World War II for the United States Navy. The ship was named for the Battle of Bunker Hill in the American Revolutionary War. Commissioned in May 1943 and sent to the Pacific Theater of Operations, the ship participated in battles in the Southwest Pacific, Central Pacific and the drive toward Japan through Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and air raids on the Japanese homeland.
USS Liscome Bay (ACV/CVE-56) was the second of fifty Casablanca-class escort carriers built to serve the United States Navy during World War II. Launched in April 1943 and commissioned the following August, she was named for Liscome Bay in Dall Island in the Alexander Archipelago of Alaska. On 24 November 1943, her munitions were catastrophically detonated by a torpedo attack by the Japanese submarine I-175 while she was acting as the flagship of Carrier Division 24, which was supporting operations on Makin. She quickly sank with the loss of 644 men. Her loss is the deadliest sinking of a carrier in the history of the United States Navy.
USS Richard S. Edwards (DD-950), named for Admiral Richard Stanislaus Edwards USN (1885–1956), was a Forrest Sherman-class destroyer built by the Puget Sound Bridge and Dredging Company at Seattle, Washington and launched on 24 September 1957 by Mrs. W. B. Franke; and commissioned 5 February 1959, Comdr. Richard R. Law in command.
The Gerald R. Ford class is a class of nuclear powered aircraft carriers currently being constructed for the United States Navy. The class, with a planned total of ten ships, will replace the Navy's current carriers on a one-for-one basis, starting with the lead ship, Gerald R. Ford replacing Enterprise (CVN-65), and then eventually taking the place of the existing Nimitz-class carriers. The new vessels have a hull similar to the Nimitz class, but introduce technologies since developed with the CVN(X)/CVN-21 program, such as the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS), as well as other design features intended to improve efficiency and reduce operating costs, including sailing with smaller crews. This class of aircraft carriers is named after former US President Gerald R. Ford.
USS Hoel (DD-533) was a World War II-era Fletcher-class destroyer in the service of the United States Navy, named after Lieutenant Commander William R. Hoel.
The Battle of Makin was an engagement of the Pacific campaign of World War II, fought from 20 to 24 November 1943, on Makin Atoll in the Gilbert Islands.
John William Finn was a sailor in the United States Navy who, as a chief petty officer, received the United States military's highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his actions during the attack on Pearl Harbor in World War II. As a chief aviation ordnanceman stationed at Naval Air Station Kaneohe Bay, he earned the medal by manning a machine gun from an exposed position throughout the attack, despite being repeatedly wounded. He continued to serve in the Navy and in 1942 was commissioned an ensign. In 1947 he was reverted to chief petty officer, eventually rising to lieutenant before his 1956 retirement. In his later years he made many appearances at events celebrating veterans. At the time of his death, Finn was the oldest living Medal of Honor recipient, the last living recipient from the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the last United States Navy recipient of World War II.
Irving Day Wiltsie was a United States Navy captain who was killed in action in 1943 while commanding an escort carrier in the Gilbert Islands location, in the Central Pacific during World War II. He was awarded the Navy Cross posthumously, the second highest combat decoration for valor after the Medal of Honor.
USS Doris Miller (CVN-81) is a future Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier of the United States Navy. Doris Miller is scheduled to be laid down January 2026, launched October 2029 and commissioned in 2032. The ship will be built at Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries in Newport News, Virginia.
Elvin Bell was a decorated African-American hero who served with the US Navy during the Second World War. When the USS Lexington (CV-2) was damaged in battle on May 8, 1942, he distinguished himself by rescuing three men.
Doris Miller (1919–1943) was a U.S. Navy sailor, awarded the Navy Cross for actions at Pearl Harbor in WWII.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Dorie Miller .|