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Dorie Miller

World War II Figure / Sailor

Born: 12 October 1919
Died: 24 November 1943
Birthplace: Waco, Texax
Best known as:

African-American naval hero of Pearl Harbor

Doris "Dorie" Miller was an African-American navy man recognized as one of the first national heroes of World War II. From outside of Waco, Texas, Miller was a messman -- and boxing champ -- aboard the USS West Virginia when it was one of the ships attacked by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. During the attack, the untrained Miller grabbed one of the ships guns and fired away; it's unclear if he shot down any Japanese planes, but it's been claimed he downed six. What is clear is that Miller saved the lives of his fellow crewmen, and by the spring of 1942 Miller was an American hero. In May of 1942 he was awarded the Navy Cross by Admiral Chester W. Nimitz. Reassigned to the Liscombe Bay, Miller was killed when a Japanese torpedo sank the ship on 24 November 1943.

Extra credit:

 

The USS Miller (FF-1091), named after Dorie Miller, was commissioned on 30 June 1973.

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