The U.S. Navy will honor a sailor who overcame racism to become a hero during the Pearl Harbor attack.
Doris Miller was the first African-American in U.S. history to receive the Navy Cross for Valor. Monday morning, he will become the first African-American to have an aircraft carrier named in his honor.
Despite his lack of training and Jim Crow laws that prevented him from even carrying a gun, Doris Miller risked his life to defend his ship and save countless crewmen during the Pearl Harbor attacks.
Miller who was a cook at the time ran above deck and took control of an abandoned machine gun, aiming for the sky and shooting down Japanese fighter planes.
After the battle, stories run by segregated papers didn’t even print his name, only calling him an unknown hero.
His identity didn’t become widely known until months later when a senior naval officer put in for Miller to receive a formal letter of commendation.
President Franklin Roosevelt decided a letter simply wasn’t enough, saying Miller deserved the Cross of Valor, which was the third-highest honor at the time.
Miller was killed in the Pacific Theater in 1943 when his ship was struck by a torpedo.