December 7


Doris "Dorie" Miller

Doris Miller
Doris "Dorie" Miller, US Navy photo

On December 7, 1941 the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.  Thousands of Americans lost their lives in what President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared "A day which will live in infamy."  Dorie Miller was one American who demonstrated unbelievable bravery and courage on that day.   Miller was the first African American awarded the Navy Cross for his bravery in which he has been credited with shooting down at least three Japanese planes and perhaps more aboard the USS West Virginia during the navel attack.  Miller was later assigned to USS Liscome Bay and died at age 24 on November 24, 1943 when the Liscome Bay was sank by a Japanese torpedo.

Nimitz and miller
Admiral Chester W. Nimitz pins Navy Cross on Doris Miller, at ceremony on board the USS Enterprise (CV-6) at Pearl Harbor, May 27, 1942

Citation: "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."

Words That Matter

Michelle Obama

“History has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.”

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