December 7, 2005

Remember Pearl Harbor, 07 DEC 1941

USS MILLER FF-1091 photo

Destroyers Online USS Miller (FF-1091)

USS MILLER (FF-1091) named in honor of Dorie Miller

MILLER, a KNOX Class Frigate (FF), was originally commissioned June 30, 1973 as a Destroyer Escort (DE). These ships were redesignated as Frigates (FF) in June 1975, but retained their original hull numbers. US Navy destroyers, frigates, and destroyer escort are traditionally named in honor of Navy and Marine Corps combat heroes. MILLER justly honored the memory of Ship's Cook Third Class Doris Miller, USN. The ship proudly served our US Navy until decommissioning October 15, 1991. I served in USS CAPODANNO (FF-1093) and USS BAGLEY (FF-1069), both sister ships to MILLER.

It wasn't hard. I just pulled the trigger and she worked fine. I had watched the others with these guns. I guess I fired her for about fifteen minutes. I think I got one of those Jap planes. They were diving pretty close to us.
—Ship's Cook, Third Class Doris (Dorie) Miller, USN aboard USS WEST VIRGINIA (BB-48) describing his firing the machine gun during the battle, a weapon which he had not been trained to operate.

He was serving in that battleship when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. Miller had arisen at 6 a.m., and was collecting laundry when the alarm for general quarters sounded. He headed for his battle station, the antiaircraft battery magazine amidship, only to discover that torpedo damage had wrecked it, so he went on deck. Because of his physical prowess, he was assigned to carry wounded fellow Sailors to places of greater safety. Then an officer ordered him to the bridge to aid the mortally wounded Captain of the ship. He subsequently manned a 50 caliber Browning anti-aircraft machine gun until he ran out of ammunition and was ordered to abandon ship.

Miller was commended by the Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox on 1 April 1942, and on 27 May 1942 he received the Navy Cross, which Fleet Admiral (then Admiral) Chester W. Nimitz, the Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet personally presented to Miller on board aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6) for his extraordinary courage in battle. Speaking of Miller, 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."

On 13 December 1941, Miller reported to USS Indianapolis (CA-35), and subsequently returned to the west coast of the United States in November 1942. Assigned to the newly constructed USS Liscome Bay (CVE-56) in the spring of 1943, Miller was on board that escort carrier during Operation Galvanic, the seizure of Makin and Tarawa Atolls in the Gilbert Islands. Liscome Bay's aircraft supported operations ashore between 20-23 November 1943. At 5:10 a.m. on 24 November, while cruising near Butaritari Island, a single torpedo from Japanese submarine I-175 struck the escort carrier near the stern. The aircraft bomb magazine detonated a few moments later, sinking the warship within minutes. Listed as missing following the loss of that escort carrier, Miller was officially presumed dead 25 November 1944, a year and a day after the loss of Liscome Bay. Only 272 Sailors survived the sinking of Liscome Bay, while 646 died.

In addition to the Navy Cross, Miller was entitled to the Purple Heart Medal; the American Defense Service Medal, Fleet Clasp; the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; and the World War II Victory Medal.

Source: US Naval Historical Center's Ship's Cook Third Class Doris Miller, USN
See also:
1. Consider this one year ago: December 7, 2004

Posted by niganit at December 7, 2005 8:06 PM
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