Why is one hero still forgotten?

By Dave Culmer

As we honor this day in tribute to those Sailors, Solders, and Marines lost sixty nine years ago at Pearl Harbor on this day, try to remember what it must have been like for those brave military Souls who desperately and vainly fought for their lives and their country.

When we leave here today let’s take these memories with us. Let’s not go the “Business as usual route”. That is, to go and have a twenty six dollar ham sandwich (like in Manhattan) or have a few glasses of Tattingers Champagne, making that, the biggest part of your day. Forgetting why we are here.

One Sailor at Pearl Harbor did not die on December seventh; he died two years later on November twenty fourth nineteen forty three still aboard ship. The ship was torpedoed by a submarine in the Gilbert Islands. Well over two hundred men were lost of the eight hundred on board. He was reported, ”lost at sea.”


The Sailor was awarded the Navy Cross at Pearl Harbor for his actions above and beyond the call of duty. The Sailor was also awarded the Purple Heart medal for wounds received. The action of that Sailor included the shooting down an attacking Japanese Aircraft without any gunnery training what so ever. He was called upon to carry the mortally wounded ship’s Captain from the bridge to more secure quarters.

You see, this Sailor was a fullback on his high school football team and the heavyweight boxing champion on his ship. He was big, strong, and capable. And he was Black. This was an African American Sailor. He was Doris Miller most often called Dorie Miller.

Had Dorie Miller not been African American, there is little doubt by most Military personnel that his award would have been the Congressional Medal of Honor and not the Navy Cross, which was the third highest military decoration at that time. It is now the second highest.

In nineteen forty one African Americans were not allowed in the US Marine Corps. This was unfortunately the racial posture of the country at this time.

Stephen E. Sherman is eighty nine years old. He is the only living person that knew Dorie Miller. He is the founder and CEO of the non-profit, Dorie Miller Foundation. Stephen is a WWII disabled Veteran.

Dave Culmer USMC (Ret), Board Chairman, National Veterans Foundation; Commissioner. Veterans Advisory Commission; Service Director, American Legion of the Los Angeles County Council; Past Chairman, GLA (Greater Los Angeles) Mental Health Consumer Advocacy Council

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Posted by on December 6, 2010, With Reads Filed under Government. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


  1. David A. White  December 6, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    Great article Dave, I visited the Arizona Memorial friday and the Navy transported hundreds to the site in just the short period that I was there. People tend to forget after a period of time, but I am glad that you and Stephen are keeping Dorie Miller’s name alive.

  2. Robert Rosebrock  December 6, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    Dave Culmer’s well-written article is a timely reminder of how embarrassing it is that Dorie Miller has been forgotten. However, Stephen Sherman, a Disabled World War II Veteran has not forgotten his friend, and selflessly and bravely fights against our government bureaucrats (domestic enemy) the way Dorie fought against the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. It’s long past due, so President Obama, do the right thing and award the Medal of Honor Posthumously to Dorie’s descendants.

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