New U.S. Navy Aircraft To Be Named After African American WWII Hero


January 22, 2020

An honor well deserved.

The United States Navy will name a new aircraft carrier after Doris “Dorie” Miller, an African American World War II hero, CNN reports. 

Miller is a highly decorated World War II veteran who fought in Pearl Harbor in 1941. During the attack, he manned his post aboard battleship USS West Virginia until the very end, fighting “until he ran out of ammunition and was ordered to abandon ship,” a Navy biography reports. 


The Navy aircraft carrier is the first to be named after an African American and the first to be named after an enlisted sailor. Miller garnered a number of awards over the years including the Purple Heart Medal, the American Defense Service Medal, Fleet Clasp, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, and the World War II Victory medal. When he was alive, he became the first African American to receive the Navy Cross, the highest medal awarded by the Navy. 

He was known for his bravery and heroism. Miller fought in the Pacific Theater until November 1943, when his ship was sunk. He was listed as missing for an entire year before being presumed deceased on November 25, 1944. 

The announcement of the new aircraft carrier in his honor came from Acting Secretary of the Navy, Thomas Modly. “Dorie Miller stood for everything that is good about our nation. His story deserves to be remembered and repeated wherever our people continue to stand the watch today,” Modly told a crowd during a ceremony at Joint Base Pearl-Harbor Hickam on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. 


There are currently 11 aircraft carriers in the U.S. Navy’s fleet, the last being commissioned in 2017 and named in honor of former United States President Gerald Ford. Miller’s aircraft carrier makes number 12. 

Photo Courtesy of the U.S. Navy

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