Meet Doris Miller, The Amateur Boxer Who Saved Lives At Pearl Harbor 75 Years Ago


You might not know who Doris “Dorie” Miller was, but you soon will.

Miller, a former amateur boxer, was at Pearl Harbor 75 years ago Wednesday when Japan attacked the United States’ naval base, resulting in thousands of American casualties.

Miller, who was a cook and laundry attendant on the USS West Virginia, helped bring the ship’s captain to safety and later used a .50 caliber machine gun, a weapon with which he had no prior training, according to his bio on

“It wasn’t hard,” Miller said of using the machine gun, via History.Navy.Mil. “I just pulled the trigger and she worked fine. I had watched the others with these guns. I guess I fired her for about fifteen minutes. I think I got one of those (Japanese) planes. They were diving pretty close to us.”

He became the first African-American man to win the Navy Cross, according to He died in a 1943 torpedo attack on the Liscome Bay.

So, as you remember Pear Harbor on the 75th anniversary, make sure you think of all the American heroes from that day and every day, including Miller.

Thumbnail photo via Stew Milne/USA TODAY Sports Images

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