Navy to name aircraft carrier for Pearl Harbor hero Doris Miller

Posted at 7:44 AM, Jan 19, 2020

Just after being presented with the Navy Cross by Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, on board USS Enterprise (CV-6) at Pearl Harbor, 27 May 1942. The medal was awarded for heroism on board USS West Virginia (BB-48) during the Pearl Harbor Attack, 7 December 1941. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

The U.S. Navy will honor a World War II hero when a new aircraft carrier is named for Mess Attendant 2nd Class Doris Miller.

The announcement will be made at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day ceremony, according to the Navy.

Miller was the first African American to receive the Navy Cross for valor. He was recognized for manning a machine gun on the USS West Virginia and returning fire against Japanese planes during the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor.

Miller was collecting laundry on the battleship when the attack from Japanese forces commenced, the Navy said. He aided the ship's mortally wounded commanding officer and manned a .50 caliber Browning anti-aircraft machine gun until he ran out of ammunition, then helped injured sailors escape the damaged ship.

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

This will be the first aircraft carrier named after an African American, and the second ship named in honor of Miller. This will also be the first aircraft carrier to be named in honor of a Sailor for actions while serving in the enlisted ranks, the Navy said.

The carrier will be built at Newport News Shipbuilding, according to the Navy.