The First American Military Hero, of World War II, was an African American Man

8 Jun

Doris “Dorie” Miller, the first American military hero of WWII. 

He was a cook on the battleship, West Virginia.

He was not trained to use the machine gun, because African Americans were only allowed to be cooks, janitors and butlers in the Navy at that time. 

During his breaks on the ship, he had watched the Caucasian gunners drilling on the use of the machine gun. 

When Pearl Harbor was attacked on 7 December 1941 he manned the gun and shot down 4 Japanese aircraft. 


I guess the Caucasian sailors who had been trained to use the gun had either been on shore leave, or they took  cover during the bombing or were too frightened to do what they had trained to do or they had been killed. 

Whatever the reason why; they were not present to do what they had been trained for. 

But a man who belonged to a despised race; a race who Caucasian Americans branded as cowards (as we are stilled labeled even now); a race that Caucasian Americans claimed had no intelligence; a race that Caucasian Americans claimed had no patriotism; ran to the guns and did what he saw the Caucasian soldiers do during their training.

He also moved the Captain of the ship who had been wounded to a safe place.

He received the Naval Cross for his act of bravery.

Because he had received the Navy highest medal; they claimed that he was ineligible to receive the Medal of Honour.

This is from Wikipedia:

“On May 27, 1942, Miller was personally recognized by Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet, aboard the aircraft carrier Enterprise.

Nimitz presented Miller with the Navy Cross, the third-highest award for gallantry during combat that the Navy awarded at the time.

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, 1941.”

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.”

dorie I

Dorie returned to the kitchen

But, even after his heroic behaviour on 7th December 1941; the Navy returned him to his job in the kitchen.

They still refused to train African Americans in the Navy, for any combat related positions.

According to their belief, African American were only good for menial service jobs in the Navy.

DM Dorian Miller Dorie-Millerimages


USCT 111
“The American Civil War
It is unfortunate that an historical event, that is so very important in the history of African Americans, and in which their ancestors played a very significant military role; which led to the defeat of the Confederate States of America; has been so neglected by the majority of African Americans today.
Not only African Americans, but the majority of Americans don’t know anything about the American Civil War; other than, the North fought against the South, and President Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves by signing the Emancipation Proclamation (EP).
By the end of the Civil War, roughly 179,000 men of African descent (10% of the Union Army) served as soldiers in the U.S. Army and another 19,000 served in the Navy. Nearly 40,000 African American soldiers died over the course of the war—30,000 of infection or disease.
Click to ‘read’ the article below.

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