Doris Miller Memorial
Nestled along the banks of the Brazos River, a 9-foot-tall, 700-pound bronze sculpture of hometown World War II hero Doris Miller greets visitors. The statue sits near the bow of a 170'x30' memorial with two slanted walls shaped like the hull of a battleship.
Miller, the first African-American to win the Navy Cross, served in the kitchen of the USS West Virginia and is known for his immense bravery during the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941.
A dedication ceremony to unveil the art installation took place in December 2017, on the anniversary of the attack.
Waco is proud of Wacoan and World War II hero Doris D. Miller.
Miller was a Cook Third Class that the United States Navy noted for his bravery during the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. He was the first African American to be awarded the Navy Cross, the third highest honor awarded by the US Navy at the time, after the Medal of Honor and the Navy Distinguished Service Medal. Admiral Nimitz personally presented the award to Miller. The Navy Cross now precedes the Navy Distinguished Service Medal.
Miller’s acts were heavily publicized in the press, making him an iconic emblem of the war for black Americans. Nearly two years after Pearl Harbor, he was killed in action when his ship Liscome Bay was sunk by a Japanese submarine during the Battle of Makin.
On January 19, 2020, the United States Navy announced that aircraft carrier CVN-81 would be named after him. The ship is scheduled to be laid down in 2026, launched in 2029 and commissioned in 2032.