The U.S. Navy is expected to name a new aircraft carrier after Pearl Harbor hero Mess Attendant 2nd Class Doris Miller, Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Friday.
According to the report, the announcement is expected to be made in Pearl Harbor on Monday, Jan. 20 which also marks Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The aircraft carrier will be the second vessel named after Doris Miller after USS Miller (DE-1091), a Knox-class destroyer escort. The vessel was later reclassified as a frigate and redesignated FF-1091.
Doris “Dorie” Miller was born in Waco, Texas, on 12 October 1919. He enlisted in the Navy in September 1939 as a Mess Attendant Third Class.
During the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Miller manned anti-aircraft guns (despite having no formal training in their use) and attended to the wounded. For his actions, he was recognized by the Navy and awarded the Navy Cross. He was the first African American to be awarded the Navy Cross, the third-highest honor awarded by the U.S. Navy at the time.
At the time, Miller was serving aboard USS West Virginia (BB-48), a Colorado-class dreadnought battleship. The vessel was badly damaged by torpedoes during the attack and sank in the shallow water. She was later refloated, extensively rebuilt and returned to service.
Doris Miller later served aboard USS Indianapolis (CA-35) from December 1941 to May 1943. He was then assigned to the escort carrier Liscome Bay (CVE-56). Cook Third Class Miller was lost with that ship when she was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine I-175 on 24 November 1943, during the invasion of the Gilbert Islands (Battle of Makin).
Listed as missing following the loss of Liscome Bay, Miller was officially presumed dead on 25 November 1944, a year and a day after the loss of Liscome Bay. Only 272 Sailors survived the sinking of Liscome Bay, while 646 died.
In addition to the Navy Cross, Miller was entitled to the Purple Heart Medal; the American Defense Service Medal, Fleet Clasp; the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; and the World War II Victory Medal.
The U.S. Navy has so far announced five new Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers – USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79), USS Enterprise (CVN-80) and two yet-to-be-named carriers (CVN 81 and CVN 82). There are expected to be ten ships of this class in total.
The Gerald R. Ford-class (or Ford-class; previously known as CVN-21 class) aircraft carriers are being built to replace USS Enterprise (CVN-65) (USS Gerald R. Ford) and eventually the U.S. Navy’s existing Nimitz-class carriers (the remaining vessels of the class).
The new vessels have a hull similar to the Nimitz carriers, but introduce technologies since developed such as the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS), Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG), as well as other design features intended to improve efficiency and capability, and reduce operating costs, including sailing with smaller crews.