Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Celebrating Black History Month: Doris (Dorie) Miller, Pearl Harbor hero

Doris (Dorie) Miller is the first black recipient of the Navy Cross for his acts of bravery during the attack on Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941. Stationed on the West Virginia, Miller had finished serving breakfast and was collecting laundry when the first torpedo hit.  He reported to his battlestation but it had been destroyed.  Reporting for other duty, he was ordered to help load ammunition into the .50 caliber anti-aircraft machine guns in the conning tower.  Although he was unfamiliar with the weapon, he began firing at enemy aircraft until the ammunition was depleted.

He helped rescue injured sailors through oil and water to the West Virginia's quarterdeck, saving countless lives.

On May 27, 1942, Miller was recognized by Admiral Chester Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet aboard the Enterprise.  He received the Navy Cross for gallantry during combat:
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.[9]
He was assigned the position of Petty Officer, Ship's Cook Third Class, June 1, 1943 on the Liscome Bay.  Miller died when the ship was destroyed by the Japanese during the Battle of Makin Island, November 24, 1943.

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