Saturday, July 24, 2021
Success On “The Way”… Ask Dr. Jeanette: Dr. Jeanette- “above and beyond the call of duty”: “Dorie” Miller, the Navy Man: Part 1
By Jeanette Grattan Parker, Ph.D.
Published July 5, 2017

Doris Miller Recruitment Poster

Did you see the documentaries about Pearl Harbor and World War II? The most notable person mentioned is Doris “Dorie” Miller, African-American Pearl Harbor hero of World War II, who is exemplary! Hearing the racist rumor that Black military men couldn’t serve in the same as non Black military men, because they were scared and would flee, my interest was sealed! “Dorie’s” life is astounding! Born to Connery and Henrietta Miller, sharecroppers in Waco, Texas, October 12, 1919 [November 24, 1943] Doris was a Messman Third Class that the United States Navy noted for his bravery during the attack of Pearl Harbor. Doris was a big child, at 5′ 9, 200 lbs. playing fullback on his high school football team; expelled from school due to engaging in numerous fights over racial issues. He worked on his father’s farm until he was 20 years when he enlisted in the United States Navy in 1939. He served as a Mess Attendant, Third Class and became the ship’s cook when he was transferred to the USS West Virginia battleship; a mess attendant preparing and serving food to officers and crew, clears the tables, cleans the dishes, makes the bed and cleans the bedroom and bathrooms for the officers. After temporary duty on the USS Nevada at Secondary Battery Gunnery School, he returned to the USS West Virginia on August 3, 1940. He stood 6′ 3″ and weighed over 200 lbs. His size and strength allowed him to compete in boxing competitions on the ships and became the Heavyweight champion of the West Virginia, an impressive feat considering the ship had a crew of approximately 2,000. He was advanced to Mess Attendant Second Class just before USS West Virginia was sent to Pearl Harbor. The morning of December 7, 1941, Dorie was awake at 6:00 AM on the West Virginia. He had volunteered as a room steward making an extra five dollars monthly providing wake-up services to duty officers, and doing their laundry, shining their shoes and making their beds. When the alarm for general quarters was sounded, he headed for his battle station, the anti-aircraft battery magazine amid ship. The ship was under attack by more than 200 Japanese torpedo planes, bombers, fighters and a torpedo had destroyed his battle station. Because of his size and strength he was ordered to run across the deck to retrieve injured shipmates and carry them to the quarterdeck where they were somewhat protected from the attack. He was next ordered to come to the aid of the injured ship’s Captain, Mervyn Bennion. He rushed to the bridge to attempt to carry Bennion to safety but the Captain refused to leave his post (Bennion would die of his wounds)……[to be continued]

Jeanette Grattan Parker, Ph.D.-Founder/Superintendent:Today’s Fresh Start Charter Schools 4514 Crenshaw BL, LA 90043; author; Will You Marry Me/Inquiring Minds want to Know; marriage expert, all writings are copyright. All rights reserved. 323-293-9826 [email protected]; [email protected]

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