Born in Waco, Texas, Doris (Dorie) Miller occupies a unique place among those who sacrificed their lives for our nation in WW2. After working on his family’s farm, dropping out of school in the 8th Grade, and unsuccessfully applying for FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps, Miller enlisted in the United States Navy in 1939. After training in secondary battery gunnery school aboard the USS Nevada, he returned to the USS West Virginia and was serving aboard her when she was attacked and sunk by 7 torpedoes from Japanese torpedo bombers during their surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. During the attack, he helped several sailors who were wounded.
While subsequently manning an anti-aircraft .50 caliber machine gun aft of the ship’s conning tower for which he had no training, he was officially credited with shooting down two attacking Japanese planes. On May 27, Miller was personally recognized with the Navy Cross (the second highest Navy award for valor in combat after the Medal of Honor) by fellow Texan Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet, aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6) at anchor in Pearl Harbor.