U.S. Navy To Honor Doris Miller With Future Aircraft Carrier, Will Be First Named After An African American

The United States Navy used the early morning hours of Martin Luther King Jr. day to announce that they would be honoring Dennis Miller, a cook who heroically helped defend Pearl Harbor in 1941, by naming a future aircraft carrier after him.

The Navy described the future USS Doris Miller as the “premier forward asset for crisis response and humanitarian relief, and early decisive striking power in a major combat operations,” ABC News.

Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly revealed the Monday announcement the day before, saying it will formally coincide with the Monday holiday.

“Doris Miller stood for everything that is good about our nation, and his story deserves to be remembered and repeated wherever our people continue the watch today,” said, per the report.

ABC News reports:

This will be the second ship named in honor of Miller for his actions during the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. When the attack from the Japanese began, Miller was collecting laundry on the West Virginia battleship. Miller headed to his battle station, but found it destroyed by torpedo damage. Miller helped move injured sailors to safety before he was ordered to help the captain of the ship, who was mortally wounded.

After that, Miller manned an anti-aircraft machine gun, a weapon he had not been trained to operate, until it was out of ammunition.

When the ship was ordered to be abandoned because of fires and flaming oil from another destroyed ship, Miller again helped move injured sailors.

At the time, then-commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz commended Miller’s brave actions, saying: “This marks the first time in this conflict that such high tribute has been made in the Pacific Fleet to a member of his race and I’m sure the future will see others similarly honored for brave acts.”

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Miller received a Purple Heart Medal and other medals, including the American Defense Service Medal, Fleet Clasp, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal and the World War II Victory Medal.

In addition to these, Miller had the USS Miller, a frigate, named after him.

Miller was killed in action in 1943.