Doris “Dorie” Miller (October 12, 1919 – November 24, 1943) was an American Messman Third Class in the United States Navy. During the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Miller manned anti-aircraft guns (despite having no formal training in their use) and attended to the wounded. For his actions, he was recognized by the Navy and awarded the Navy Cross.
He was the first African American to be awarded the Navy Cross, the third highest honor awarded by the US Navy at the time, after the Medal of Honor and the Navy Distinguished Service Medal. The Navy Cross now precedes the Navy Distinguished Service Medal. Miller’s acts were heavily publicized in the black press, making him an iconic emblem of the war for black Americans. Nearly two years after Pearl Harbor, he was killed in action when his ship, Liscome Bay, was sunk by a Japanese submarine during the Battle of Makin.
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