Forced to repeat the grade the following year, Miller decided to drop out of school.
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Miller applied to join the Civilian Conservation Corps , but was not accepted. Miller worked on his father's farm until shortly before his 20th birthday.
Dorie Miller (1919-1943), Hero of World War II
On September 16, , he enlisted in the United States Navy. It was on the West Virginia where he started competition boxing, becoming the ship's heavyweight champion. He returned to the West Virginia in August It is speculated that Miller's nickname "Dorie" originated from a typographical error.
After he was nominated for recognition for his actions on December 7, , the Pittsburgh Courier released a story on March 14, , that gave his name as "Dorie Miller". On December 7, , Miller was a crewman aboard the West Virginia and awoke that morning at 6: When the " Battle Stations " alarm went off, Miller headed for his battle station, an anti-aircraft battery magazine amidship, only to discover that a torpedo had destroyed it.
He went then to Times Square, a central spot where the fore to aft and port to starboard passageways crossed, and reported himself available for other duty.
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Johnson, the ship's communications officer, spotted Miller and, seeing the potential of his powerful build, ordered him to accompany him to the bridge to assist with moving the ship's captain, Mervyn Bennion , who had a gaping wound in his abdomen, where he had apparently been hit by shrapnel. Miller and another sailor lifted the skipper and, unable to remove him from the bridge, carried him from his exposed position on the damaged bridge to a sheltered spot behind the conning tower.
Black History Month: Doris Miller, American Hero
Delano expected Miller to feed ammunition to one gun, but his attention was diverted, and when he looked again, Miller was firing one of the guns. White then loaded ammunition into both guns and assigned Miller the starboard gun. Miller fired the gun until he ran out of ammunition, when he was ordered by Lieutenant Claude V. Siewart, to help carry the captain up to the navigation bridge out of the thick oily smoke generated by the many fires on and around the ship.
Bennion was only partially conscious at this point and died soon afterward. When the attack finally lessened, Miller helped move injured sailors through oil and water to the quarterdeck, thereby "unquestionably saving the lives of a number of people who might otherwise have been lost. The ship was heavily damaged by bombs, torpedoes and resulting explosions and fires, but the crew prevented her from capsizing by counter-flooding a number of compartments.
Instead, West Virginia sank to the harbor bottom as her surviving crew, including Miller, abandoned ship. On December 15, Miller was transferred to the heavy cruiser Indianapolis. On January 1, , the Navy released a list of commendations for actions on December 7.
Among them was a single commendation for an unnamed Negro. Roosevelt to award the Distinguished Service Cross to the unknown Negro sailor. The Navy Board of Awards received a recommendation that the sailor be considered for recognition. On March 12, , an Associated Press story named Miller as the sailor, citing the African-American newspaper Pittsburgh Courier ;  additional news reports credited Dr.
Reddick with learning the name through correspondence with the Navy Department. D-MI introduced a matching House bill [H. Negro organizations began a campaign to honor Miller with additional recognition.
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The citation reads as follows:. 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, 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.
Nimitz said of Miller's commendation, "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 that the future will see others similarly honored for brave acts. Keeps Mop", next to a photo of a Caucasian survivor of the Pearl Harbor attack receiving an officer's commission. On November 23, , Miller returned to Pearl Harbor and was ordered on a war bond tour while still attached to Indianapolis. Miller was featured on a Navy recruiting poster — "Above and beyond the call of duty" — designed by David Stone Martin.
The aircraft bomb magazine detonated a few moments later, causing the ship to sink in 23 minutes. Had this newspaper not been on the case, Dorie Miller probably would never have been identified.
Doris Miller - Wikipedia
The ship was operating in the Pacific near the Gilbert Islands. The torpedo detonated the bomb magazine on the carrier; the bombs exploded, and the ship sank within minutes. Today there is a Dorie Miller park in Hawaii and a good number of schools and buildings throughout the U. He was also one of four Naval heroes featured on U. However, many officers and men in the Navy felt that for his actions on the West Virginia at Pearl Harbor, Miller deserved more—that he should have been awarded the Medal of Honor.
Following the anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, I heard from many people who would like to show their support for Dorie Miller being given the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously. The National Coalition of Black Veterans Organizations has prepared a document that can be printed, shared with friends, and sent to the White House.
Call her office for information on how to help: And to read a story about World War I soldier whose family overcame all the resistance to honoring him properly, read about World War I veteran, Henry Lincoln Johnson, a proud member of the Harlem Hellfighters: Great story on one more unsung American Hero. President Obama referenced Dorie Miller in his comments at the Memorial Day recognition yesterday, but a more fitting tribute, however late, would be to honor him with the Medal of Honor. Thank you so much for mentioning this… and you are right about further honors.
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I was fortunate to be one of the first to be billeted in that beautiful barracks. One of his Family was there for the dedication and ribbon cutting. I did not know that. And how terrific that a family member was there. Thank you for posting! I have known of his story for years. He certainly deserves to be posthumously awarded this coveted medal!!