It will likely be more than a decade until the USS Doris Miller (CVN-81), the fourth Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier is commissioned into the US Navy, but recently the first significant milestone occurred when the First Cut of Steel ceremony was held in Newport News.
The event signaled the formal start of construction for the new warship, with six members of Messman Second Class Doris Miller were in attendance. Miller, the ship’s namesake, became the first African-American to receive the Navy Cross, which he earned for his actions during the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Read more
Miller served aboard the battleship West Virginia, which was sunk by Japanese torpedo bombers during the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. During the attack, he helped several sailors who were wounded, and while manning an anti-aircraft machine gun for which he had no training, he shot down several Japanese planes. Miller’s actions earned him the medal, and the resulting publicity for Miller in the black press made him an iconic emblem of the war for black Americans. In November 1943, Miller was killed while serving aboard the escort carrier Liscome Bay when it was sunk by a Japanese submarine during the Battle of Makin in the Gilbert Islands. – Wikipedia