MAN OF AFRICAN DESCENT: THE HERO DURING THE PEARL HARBOR ATTACK

8 Jun

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

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. 

He was a cook on the battleship West Virginia. 

He had watched the Caucasian gunners drilling on the use of the 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, 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 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.

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.”

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 for any combat related positions.

DM Dorian Miller Dorie-Millerimages
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