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The US Navy has honored a groundbreaking World War II hero with the naming of a new aircraft carrier after Mess Attendant 2nd Class, Doris Miller, earlier this week. 

The announcement was made on Martin Luther King Day during a ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. The future USS Doris Miller will enter the service in the early 2030s and is the first aircraft carrier in the history of the US Navy to be named after an African American sailor and is also the first to be named in honor of enlisted sailors, rather than the maritime elite. 

Doris “Dorie” Miller was the first AfricanAmerican to receive the Navy Cross for Valor for his actions on the USS West Virginia during the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor, reported Stars and Stripes.

On that day, 22-year-old Miller was collecting laundry when the attack alarm sounded. When he realized his normal battle station in an anti-aircraft battery magazine was destroyed by a torpedo, he went on deck and carried wounded soldiers to safety before being given the order to aid the mortally wounded captain on the bridge. 

“He subsequently manned a 50-cal. Browning anti-aircraft machine gun until he ran out of ammunition and was ordered to abandon ship,” the Navy said, adding that Miller was not trained to operate the gun.

The commander in chief of the Pacific Fleet, Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, presented Miller with the Navy Cross in Pearl Harbor in May 1942. 

Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, the commander in chief of the Pacific Fleet, presented the Navy Cross to Miller in Pearl Harbor in May 1942.

Miller died while serving on a ship that was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in November 1943.


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