That Such Men Lived

At the Doris Miller Memorial in Miller’s native Waco, Texas.

by baldilocks

Doris “Dorie” Miller has always been my favorite Pearl Harbor hero. Is it because he was black? Partially.

Simply, it’s impossible to separate his race from his heroism, considering that the US. Military was segregated back then, that black servicemen and women were mostly assigned to segregated units, and that most were tasked with servant and “menial” jobs. Miller, himself, was a cook — Messman Third Class and Ship’s Cook Third class — aboard the USS West Virginia. Way back when I was in kindergarten, he was the first war hero to enter into my consciousness.

Miller was the recipient of the Navy Cross – at that time, the third highest award behind the Medal of Honor and the Navy Distinguished Service Medal  — for the following:

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Miller was doing laundry below decks on the USS West Virginia. When the alarm called the ship’s crew to battle stations, Miller headed a gun  magazine amidships [sic]. A torpedo had damaged the magazine, so the physically strong Miller began carrying the wounded to safety. Among those he attended to was the ship’s commander, Capt. Mervyn Bennion, who was mortally wounded. Miller then manned a .50-calibre antiaircraft gun, for which he had no training, and continued firing on the enemy until he ran out of ammunition and received the order to abandon ship.

Admiral Chester Nimitz himself pinned the Navy Cross to the young man’s chest. Miller died in 1943 when his subsequent ship, the USS Liscome Bay, was sunk by the Japanese. He was 24.

There was a Navy destroyer escort/frigate named in Miller’s honor – the USS Miller, service date 1973 to 1991.

What I love about Doris Miller’s existence is that the man was here for only a short time and was merely playing the cards that life dealt him when he performed the action that will long outlive him. When the challenge came, he stepped to it and met it — something intrinsic in heroes and heroism.

And this may seem like a change of topic, but it isn’t. Back when Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV; ironically) passed away in 2010, I remembered writing — prior to his passing — about his actions during WWII:

Byrd refused to serve in World War Two due to blacks being a part of the force, even in their lowly status before the desegregation of the US Armed Forces in 1948.  I cited that here using Wiki, but the reference has been cleaned up.

If, by some chance Byrd got to go to Heaven, I hope he gets to be Dorie Miller’s butler.

Whoever Miller’s Heavenly Cook and Messman is, I’m sure he’s just happy to be there serving a great man and is doing so with a smile.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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Investing in Active Shooter training

From Twitter

It’s been a bad week for the Navy. The bad news of two dead in a shooting in Pearl Harbor, HI, followed by three dead from a Saudi flight student in Pensacola is simply devastating. In a less publicized case, a Sailor died after a person ran a gate, traveling 81 miles per hour before he slammed into Petty Officer Oscar Temores’ car, killing him. This follows a string of other shootings in previous years, from the NOSC at Chattanooga, TN in 2015, to the USS Mahan (in Norfolk at the time) in 2014. These aren’t particularly dangerous areas of the country, so what, exactly, is going on?

First, some militarizes in the cases. Most don’t involve legal private firearms. They are either US Navy firearms (Pearl Harbor, Mahan) or illegally obtained weapons (Pensacola). And in all cases, its still illegal to have private firearms on a Navy installation.

Second, there were some warning signs that weren’t followed. The Pearl Harbor shooter was about to go to Mast (equivalent of a court hearing), but was issued a firearm for his watch station. The Virginia Beach gaterunner had multiple law violations before he ran the Little Creek Gate. I’m guessing we’ll find the Pensacola shooter had mental health issues as well.

Lastly, where were the Navy’s police (called Master at Arms)? In all cases, they responded pretty quickly. Nobody can respond instantly though. The Pearl Harbor shooting was over in less than 60 seconds. Police quickly engaged the Pensacola shooter, limiting his damage to 11 people, but if you’re in a big auditorium space with hundreds of people and no instant police, the sad reality is it will take time to lock down, time a shooter can use to murder more victims.

It doesn’t help that the Navy is struggling to recruit young MAs (see the low 2019 numbers here), most of whom are doing the day-to-day “beat” jobs. Less young MAs in cars and at gates, less police presence, and increased police response time. MA jobs have decent promotion chances compared to other ratings, but part of this is likely due to a lack of candidates.

The Navy is spending a lot of effort in conducting active shooter exercises. They’ve become more frequent and more realistic. However, they are always focused on training the police force. But past experience shows a shooting might not last very long, and most people are injured or killed in the initial seconds to minutes. In that case, the quick response by bystanders makes or breaks the encounter. Attacking the shooter in those critical first few seconds may mean the difference between a mass shooting and a few injuries.

Shootings will continue to happen, and given the number of weapons on a base, we can’t stop them. But we can out-think shooters. They’ll expect passive victims that don’t fight back. We shouldn’t give them that.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

Saudis in Florida or Palestinians in Israel It’s the same Inconvenient Reality

“But,” said Moses to God, “when I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ if they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what am I to tell them?”

God replied, “I am who am.” Then he added, “This is what you shall tell the Israelites: I AM sent me to you.

Exodus 3:13-14

It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.

Richard P. Feynman

One of the most profound things about God is his name, which is I AM. God gives his name not as a conventional name but as a statement of fact. Some might deny that I exist, but I AM. This is why when Christ uses the term both to the crowds and at the time of his arrest it is so profound, you may not know what you are doing but I AM.

In a non-theological context it’s an excellent statement of how reality actually works, it doesn’t matter how much you spin, it doesn’t matter how much you pretend, it doesn’t matter even if you change the way people behave in the face of a reality, reality IS.

There is no better example of this then how the left reacts to Islamic terror in general and Palestinian Terror in particular.

I had a long discussion on the subject on twitter yesterday with folk dedicated to the proposition that Israel is an oppressor of the poor Palestinians who simply want peace this exchange was typical:

And then there is this:

The denial here is familiar to anyone who lived thorough the cold war. It rather ironically sounds like the East Germans who publicly declared how wonderful their nation while putting up a wall to keep people in and shooting those who try to cross it.

That’s the double irony of course, because since Israel built their wall in the west bank terror attacks from that direction dropped like a rock. Or hat once Israel withdrew from Gaza it immediately went from a greenhouse of plants to a base for terror.

The innocence of the Palestinians is a safe thing to claim if you are a leftwing jew in congress or in the Labor party, but Jews living in Israel don’t have the luxury of such a pretense as it can be fatal.

And that of course brings us the terror attack in Florida:

Four people are dead including the suspect after an active shooting incident at a naval base in Pensacola, Florida, police said.

The shooter was identified as Mohammed Alshamrani, a Saudi national [oops, I guessed wrong — RSM] and member of the country’s air force who was in the U.S. for flight training, law enforcement officials familiar with the investigation told ABC News. Investigators are trying to determine whether the shooting was terror-related, the officials said.

Authorities responded to reports of a shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola at 6:51 a.m. on Friday, officials said. ATF and FBI also responded to the scene.

emphasis via RSM

All the emphasis via RSM who says the following:

Y’know, if this shooter had been some kind of white nationalist alt-right extremist, CNN would be 24/7 on this story all weekend, and every liberal blog would be blaming Trump for this terrorist act. Instead what you will see is that the mainstream media and liberal bloggers will quickly bury this story, except perhaps to call out “right-wingers” as “racists” for daring to suggest that some Muslims might be dangerous.

The fact that six Saudi’s were arrested including three that filmed the attack doesn’t matter. As far as the press is concerned this is a one off incident, a one day story and says nothing about Islam.

However the victims of this attack are no less dead and no amount of pretense will keep the next set of Americans alive.

I’ll close with two more tweets that illustrate this reality: