Thursday, December 6, 2012

Remembering Pearl Harbor: Dec. 7, 1941; Doris "Dorrie" Miller: Hero at Pearl

"I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve."  Attributed to Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto

On Dec. 7, 1941, 353 Japanese fighters, bombers and torpedo planes attacked the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The Japanese attacked in two waves from six aircraft carriers. American causalities and losses included 2,402 killed, 1,247 wounded. Of the American casualties, nearly half the total were on the battleship Arizona.  Nineteen ships were either sunk or destroyed including four battleships. In addition 347 aircraft were either destroyed or damaged.

The following day, Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed the attack on Pearl Harbor "a date which will live in infamy."

Doris "Dorrie" Miller: One of Many Heroes

There were many heroes on Dec. 7, 1941 at Pearl. Dorrie Miller stands out among the many.

Dorrie Miller was a cook on the Arizona. During the attack, he pulled his mortally wounded captain of the deck and then manned a machine gun.  Before that morning, Dorrie had never fired a machine gun. During the battle, he shot down four Japanese aircraft before he ran out of ammunition.

For his gallant action, Dorrie was awarded the Navy Cross, the third highest Navy award behind the Medal of Honor. Many believed he should have been awarded the Medal of Honor.

He died in 1944 when his ship, the escort carrier the Liscombe Bay, was struck by a torpedo from a Japanese submarine and sunk.

On June 30, 1973, The USS Miller,was commissioned in Miller's honor. Today, there are also three elementary schools and one high school named in his honor in addition to parks, community centers and several streets throughout the nation.

Dedicated to Heroes honors the heroes of Pearl Harbor.

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