[Screenshot from U.S. Navy, https://twitter.com/USNavy/status/1218905809880522754?]
Just in time for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
And from a time when love of country was the status quo.
On Monday, the White House will honor a black World War II hero.
In a huge way.
I mean extremely large.
As per Trump-appointed Navy Undersecretary Thomas B. Modly’s decision, Ship’s Cook Third Class Doris Miller will enter the history books in a manner very few have.
But first, a look at who Doris is, courtesy of (trigger warning) NPR:
In 1941, Miller was a 22-year-old mess attendant on the USS West Virginia. At the time, black sailors were consigned to roles in the messman branch — work that entailed swabbing decks, cooking and shining officers’ shoes.
He had awoken at 6 a.m. and was collecting laundry when the Japanese attack began and an alarm sounded on the ship, according to the Navy. Miller headed to the antiaircraft battery magazine, but it had already been destroyed by torpedo damage. He proceeded to the deck, where he was assigned to carry his wounded comrades, including the ship’s captain. Miller was strong: a former high school football player in Waco, Texas, he was the ship’s heavyweight boxing champion.
Sounds like an amazing movie. Maybe someday it will be.
“Miller went topside, carried wounded on his shoulders, made several trips up and down, wading through waist-deep water, oil-slicked decks, struggling uphill on slick decks,” Navy Rear Adm. John Fuller said in 2016.
The young sailor then took over a .50-caliber anti-aircraft machine gun and fired it until the ammunition ran out. No matter that he’d never been trained on the weapon.
“It wasn’t hard,” he remembered, according to a Navy history. “I just pulled the trigger and she worked fine. I had watched the others with these guns. I guess I fired her for about 15 minutes. I think I got one of those [Japanese] planes. They were diving pretty close to us.”
The ship’s communications officer, Lt. Cmdr. Doir C. Johnson, said that Miller was “blazing away as though he had fired one all his life,” according to the Navy Times.
The West Virginia was heavily damaged in the attack. Japanese planes had dropped armored bombs and launched multiple torpedoes on the vessel. The ship slowly sank, and more than 100 of the men aboard the ship died that day.
In May of 1942, Doris received the Navy Cross — one of the service’s highest honors — for his heroism. He was the first black sailor to ever do so.
Tragically, he was killed — along with roughly 650 others — by a Japanese torpedo the following year aboard the USS Liscome Bay.
But how’s this for seeing your name in big letters: Looking down Monday, Doris will see his in giant ones; he’s getting an aircraft carrier named after him.
From the press release:
This will be the second ship named in honor of Miller, and the first aircraft carrier ever named for an African American. This will also be the first aircraft carrier to be named in honor of a Sailor for actions while serving in the enlisted ranks.
After firing the anti-aircraft machine gun ’til it ran out of ammo, “Miller then helped move many other injured Sailors as the ship was ordered abandoned due to her own fires and flaming oil floating down from the destroyed Arizona (BB-33). ”
Congrats to the young sailor for the honor.
As reported by The Daily Wire, “The Navy’s new Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers are the largest and most powerful naval vessels in the world.”
More from the Navy:
The Gerald R. Ford-class is the future aircraft carrier replacement class for Enterprise and Nimitz-class aircraft carriers,” the Navy said in a statement. “The lead ship, Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), was commissioned in 2017. The Gerald R. Ford-class will be the premier forward asset for crisis response and early decisive striking power in a major combat operation. Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers and carrier strike groups will provide the core capabilities of forward presence, deterrence, sea control, power projection, maritime security and humanitarian assistance. The class brings improved warfighting capability, quality of life improvements for our Sailors and reduced total ownership costs.”
Let’s pause to remember Doris — a man who lived during a very different time, when men had a very different courage:
In a historic moment just in time for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, @SECNAV announces that the newest #USNavy aircraft carrier will be named USS Doris Miller #CVN81. Miller was the first African American to receive the Navy Cross.
— U.S. Navy (@USNavy) January 19, 2020
See 3 more pieces from me:
Find all my RedState work here.
Thank you for reading! Please sound off in the Comments section below.