Pearl Harbor Hero From Waco Honored by Navy

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The name Doris Miller is not widely known. On Monday, a large step was taken to change that with the Navy's announcement that its next aircraft carrier would be named in his honor.

The Waco native -- better known as ‘Dorie’ -- heroically fought back against the Japanese when they attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

Miller faced segregation and intense discrimination in the Navy of the 1940s. He was assigned to the battleship U.S.S. West Virginia as a mess attendant and did not receive training to operate the ship's weaponry. But as Japanese planes attacked, he manned an anti-craft gun and fought back, later recalling he believed he shot down one of the attacking planes.

In his hometown of Waco, while tributes have existed in the past, there was no memorial until 2018.

“By doing this we have brought Doris’ story into the public eye and today it is in the limelight,” said Doreen Ravenscroft, Cultural Arts of Waco president.

Ravenscroft and treasurer Steve Cook watched the ceremony in Pearl Harbor on a cellphone, standing not far Miller’s statue.

“As a black person it’s a history in itself, there are so many firsts that he did and he achieved and this is just another one,” Cook said.

Members of Miller’s surviving family traveled to Pearl Harbor for the ceremony, including his niece Henrietta Bledsoe, who told NBC 5 over the phone that among her uncle’s lasting legacies is that of a man of action.

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