Friday, April 4, 2014

D is for Dorie Miller

I love reading / hearing stories about people who really, really served our great nation.  Yes, I am a veteran myself, but I consider my 8 years to have been very cushy compared to how things used to be.  I'm thankful that it was cushy - for my own selfish self, but on the other hand, I feel that I really didn't DO anything of note. I delivered mail and sold stamps.  Woo.

Doris Miller was born in Texas on October 12, 1919.  He enlisted in the Navy shortly before his 20th birthday as a Mess Attendant (cook).  He did the usual training & tours on ships until he ended up in Pearl Harbor on the USS West Virginia BB-48 on that fateful day of December 7, 1941.

Dorie was going about his day when the alarm for General Quarters sounded.  His battle station had already been damaged by a torpedo, so he was assigned to carry wounded sailors to safety.  He then went to the bridge to assist with his mortally wounded commanding officer.  He ended up manning a 50 caliber Browning anti-aircraft machine gun that he had never been trained to use.  When he ran out of ammo, he was ordered to abandon ship.

Dorie received a Navy Cross (the second highest military decoration awarded for valor) for his extraordinary courage in battle.  Admiral Chester Nimitz remarked "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 then reported to USS Liscome Bay CVE-56 and was on board during the seizure of the Makin and Tarawa Atolls in the Gilbert Islands.  On November 24, 1943, a single torpedo shot from a Japanese submarine hit Liscome Bay's stern and detonated the aircraft bomb magazine, sinking the escort carrier within minutes.  Dorie was officially presumed dead a year and a day later - on November 25, 1944.

Besides the Navy Cross, Dorie was also decorated with a Purple Heart medal, the America Defense Service medal, the Asiatic-pacific Campaign medal and the WWII Victory medal.

June 30, 1973, the USS Miller FF-1091 was commissioned, named in honor of Doris Miller.



  1. As a daughter of a soldier, I have a special place in my heart for the military. Thank you for your service and thanks to those who died in the line of duty protecting us. Do not diminish what you did to serve, even a postal clerk plays an important role in our military operations.

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    1. At least I was a postal clerk in the mid 90s - before the Interwebz got really big, so mail was an important part of crew morale.

  2. I agree with MAJK, just volunteering to serve is a brave choice that most of us don't have the courage to make. I thank you for your service.

    1. It was a spur-of the moment decision. I was planning on going to college & had already been accepted in the progrma I wanted...then I saw a Navy recruiter standing in the hallway at school one day. That was all it took.

  3. I too wish to thank you for serving, in any capacity. I enjoyed your post.
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    1. Thanks for stopping by! I'll be over to visit you, too!


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