PEARL HARBOR, UNITED STATES
PEARL HARBOR - The rain sprinkled down as the visitors to the rededication ceremony for the Doris Miller bust for the Pearl Harbor 75th Anniversary overflowed the boundaries of the tent cover in the housing area named after Miller.
The Doris Miller bust, donated by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., was first dedicated on Oct. 11, 1991, during the 50th Anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack.
Doris “Dorie” Miller was the first African-American to be awarded the Navy Cross. Miller, a Mess attendant 2nd class petty officer aboard USS West Virginia (BB-48), selflessly lent his assistance to injured shipmates and fired the anti-aircraft machine gun during the attack on Pearl Harbor. He had no previous knowledge of how to fire the weapon, but was able to fire upon enemy planes.
The ceremony celebrating his heroic actions began with the presentation of colors by the Radford High School NJROTC followed by the “Harbor Brass” brass quintet playing the national anthem.
Miller, of Waco, Texas, was a football player in high school and became a Navy boxing champ when he served on a previous duty with USS West Virginia (BB-48).
West Virginia sustained damage when Japanese aircraft launched five torpedoes into the port side and dropped two bombs through the deck.
“It’s a real privilege and honor to be here to recognize the first African-American to receive the Navy Cross award," said Chief Petty Officer Aneulena Candelaria, a cryptologic technicians interpretive assigned to the Center for Information Warfare Training Site, Hawaii.
Candelaria talked about what the rededication and recognition of Doris Miller means to future generations.
“I think it’s an opportunity for some people to see that somebody like them did something big during that time and get to see how far we come as a Navy and see the progress that we’ve made,” said Candelaria.
Captain Stanley Keeve, Jr. commander, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, also touched on what the remembrance of Doris Miller means to him.
“I would say Dorie Miller inspires me because he went beyond what was given to him,” said Keeve. “It was not a position he could excel from, but he didn’t accept that. The moment came upon him and he was able to go forward and perform historic actions.”
Miller continued his service after the Pearl Harbor attack and was sent to USS Liscome Bay (CVE-56) in 1943. He was killed Nov. 24 of that year when the Liscome Bay was hit by a torpedo.
Capt. Keeve, Jr. spoke on the character of Miller in relation to his actions.
“He’s an outstanding example for anyone as far as military service to go forth with honor, courage and commitment,” said Keeve, Jr.
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This work, Pearl Harbor rededicates Doris Miller bust for 75th Anniversary, by PO2 Tracey S Bannister, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.