Senate Approves Cornyn-Flores Bill To Name Waco VA Medical Center After WWII Hero Doris Miller

In: All News   Posted 12/10/2014

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Senate has unanimously approved legislation sponsored in the Senate by U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and in the House of Representatives by U.S. Rep. Bill Flores, R-Waco, that would rename the Waco Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center after local World War II hero, Petty Officer Doris Miller.Petty Officer Miller distinguished himself with his bravery aboard the West Virginia during the attack on Pearl Harbor. On the morning of December 7, 1941, Miller was collecting laundry when the first bombs attacked the West Virginia. Miller went to the main deck and began carrying wounded fellow sailors to greater safety. Though African American sailors were not given the gunnery training received by white sailors, Miller began manning an unattended .50 caliber Browning anti-aircraft machine gun until he ran out of ammunition and was ordered to abandon ship. He later recalled, “It wasn’t hard.  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.” Two years later Miller made the ultimate sacrifice aboard the Liscome Bay during the Battle of Makin Island. He was the first African American to be awarded the Navy Cross.  “Naming the Waco VA Medical Center after Doris Miller is a fitting tribute to Waco’s native son and one of the first African American heroes of World War II. Petty Officer Miller broke past racial barriers to answer the call of duty and demonstrate tremendous bravery on a day that would change the course of American history forever. He is a true Texas hero, and it is my pleasure to join Congressman Flores in this worthy effort,” Sen. Cornyn said.“Doris Miller is a great American hero and a distinguished Central Texan who went beyond the call of duty for both his country and fellow man. It is symbolic that the Senate has passed our bill to honor him within a few days of the 73rd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. I look forward to finalizing this tribute to honor the heroism that Doris Miller showed during the day that will forever live in infamy. By naming the Waco VA medical center after such a deserving local hero, we will preserve the memory of his outstanding valor and duty to serve our country,” Rep. Flores said.Rep. Flores introduced H.R. 4199 in March to name the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Waco as the “Doris Miller Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center.” It was approved by the House unanimously on June 17. Sen. Cornyn introduced the Senate companion legislation, S. 2128, which was approved by the Senate unanimously late yesterday. The legislation now awaits the President’s signature.