Pearl Harbor: The cook who took up a machine gun and put it to good use (PHOTOS)
By Chris Eger
Dorie Miller received the Navy Cross for heroism during the Pearl Harbor Attack, December 7, 1941, and his actions– one man with a machine gun– echo in history.
Texan Doris “Dorie” Miller did not let the fact that he wasn’t trained on a machine gun stop him when he saw Japanese aircraft come in low over Pearl Harbor.
Born in Waco, Texas, Miller volunteered for the Navy in 1939, “to travel, and earn money for his family.” With career fields limited due to segregation, he was a mess specialist assigned to the mighty battleship USS West Virginia, part of the Pacific Fleet.
On the morning of Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941, West Virginia was moored at a berth along Pearl Harbor’s Battleship Row. Shortly after 8 a.m., although the two countries were at peace, waves of Japanese carrier-borne aircraft swooped in over Oahu and within minutes of the first wave, Miller’s ship was hit by at least six torpedoes and two bombs, sparking fires that would last 30 hours, leave the ship on the bottom of the harbor, and at least 106 members of her crew dead.
Miller, a former high school athlete recognized as a powerful man, during the attack was assigned to carry