PEARL HARBOR, HI — A new aircraft carrier will be named after a World War II veteran who defended the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941.
The Acting Secretary of the Navy honored Doris Miller at a ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Monday. He says Miller "stood for everything that is good about our nation."
Miller was stationed aboard the USS West Virginia as a mess attendant, but when a Japanese torpedo struck the ship, he loaded and fired an anti-aircraft machine gun. Not only was this heroic, it was remarkable because he had not been trained on the weapon because the military was still segregated and an African American would not have been authorized to use it. He stayed aboard to help Sailors evacuate, even after an abandon ship order was passed. He survived the attack, and was the first African American to be awarded the Navy Cross.
Two years later he died aboard the USS Liscome Bay when a torpedo stuck and sank the ship.
“Naming CVN 81 for Dorie Miller casts long overdue recognition to a true American hero and icon. It also honors the contributions of African Americans and enlisted Sailors for the first time in the history of American aircraft carriers. The Sailors who will put the USS Doris Miller to sea will be the fortunate ones, as heirs to the mightiest of Navy legends who epitomized the kind of fighting Sailor we need today,” said Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell Smith
This is the first time an aircraft carrier has been named for an African American.
The $15 billion dollar ship is said to be the newest and most advanced in the U.S. fleet.