Waco in McLennan County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
October 12, 1919 - November 25, 1943
Doris (Dorie) Miller was reared on a farm in McClennan County, Texas, and attended Waco’s A.J. Moore High School. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was assigned to the battleship “USS West Virginia” in 1940. The “West Virginia” was docked in Pearl Harbor when it was struck by a Japanese torpedo on December 7, 1941.
Moments after the torpedo hit, an explosion on a nearby ship showered the “West Virginia” deck with burning debris and flaming oil. Miller helped move his wounded captain to safety, then maneuvered through the flame-swept deck and took over a machine gun position. Though never trained as an aerial gunner, he confidently shot down four enemy aircraft.
Miller reacted with such extraordinary skill and bravery in the defense of his ship that he became the first African American to receive the Navy Cross. Fellow Texan, Admiral Chester Nimitz awarded him the Navy Cross on May 7, 1942. Miller died when his ship, the “USS Liscombe Bay,” was torpedoed in 1943. The destroyer “USS Miller” was named in his honor in 1973.
Miller, posthumously awarded
Erected 1993 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 1255.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Civil Rights • War, World II • Waterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Distinguished Service Cross/Navy Cross/Air Force Cross Recipients, and the Historically Black Colleges and Universities series lists.
Location. 31° 34.313′ N, 97° 7.31′ W. Marker is in Waco, Texas, in McLennan County. Marker is on Garrison Street east of Chestnut Street. Marker is at the northeast corner of the Doris Miller Family YMCA facility at "Quinn Campus". Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1020 Elm St, Waco TX 76704, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Going Up The Chisholm Trail (approx. 0.7 miles away); The Waco Suspension Bridge (approx. ¾ mile away); Jacob de Cordova (approx. 0.9 miles away); Waco Spring (approx. 0.9 miles away); a different marker also named The Waco Suspension Bridge Gerald-Harris Shooting (approx. 1.1 miles away); Brann-Davis Shootings (approx. 1.1 miles away); The Courthouses of McLennan County (approx. 1.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Waco.
More about this marker. Note that the marker was moved from its original location (outside the YMCA's former East Waco facility at 1021 E. Live Oak St.) to its present site in 2005.
Also see . . . Doris Miller. (Submitted on August 20, 2010, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
Additional keywords. messman, YMCA of Central Texas; Paul Quinn College.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 12, 2017. It was originally submitted on August 20, 2010, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,925 times since then and 31 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on August 20, 2010, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. 5. submitted on August 22, 2010, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.