World War II's First Hero: The Story of Doris Miller
Tuesday, July 09, 2019, 06:00pm - 07:00pm
Contact Matt Doyen at 713.225.1688 or mdoyen@houstonmaritime.org

Doris Miller, the son of an impoverished sharecropper, was born in McLennan County, Texas. During the Depression, he took the only job that he could find: the Navy. There, in common with all black recruits, he was assigned to the messman branch, making the beds, shining the shoes, and serving the meals of white officers. In December 1941, he was assigned to the West Virginia, stationed at Pearl Harbor, when the Japanese launched its infamous attack. Although not trained in gunnery, when Miller was ordered on deck to help his wounded captain, he took over an unmanned machine gun and began to fire at the attacking planes. News of the heroic actions of this humble messman spread through the American press, making him the country’s first hero of WWII and earning for him the Navy Cross, the first ever awarded to a black man.Doris Miller, the son of an impoverished sharecropper, was born in McLennan County, Texas. During the Depression, he took the only job that he could find: the Navy. There, in common with all black recruits, he was assigned to the messman branch, making the beds, shining the shoes, and serving the meals of white officers. In December 1941, he was assigned to the West Virginia, stationed at Pearl Harbor, when the Japanese launched its infamous attack. Although not trained in gunnery, when Miller was ordered on deck to help his wounded captain, he took over an unmanned machine gun and began to fire at the attacking planes. News of the heroic actions of this humble messman spread through the American press, making him the country’s first hero of WWII and earning for him the Navy Cross, the first ever awarded to a black man.

Location Houston Maritime Museum
For more information and tickets, please visit World War II's First Hero
8. Elmer Brown, 1942, Dorie Miller in the Act of Manning the Gun during Pearl Harbor, Cleveland Artists' FoundationWebed

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