Doris “Dorie” Miller was a true Texas hero. He was classified as a Navy Messman on December 7, 1941, serving on the USS West Virginia, a battleship. At the time, Messman was one of the few positions open to African American sailors. Miller was solidly built, carrying over 200 lb. on his 6’3” frame. He’d taken up boxing and was heavyweight champion of the West Virginia out of a crew of about 2,000. The West Virginia was on station in in Hawaii at Pearl Harbor. That morning, he woke at 0600, as was his custom. He served breakfast mess and was still below deck collecting soiled laundry when the first torpedo hit the West Virginia just before 0800. He heard and felt the explosion and immediately went to his battle station, an anti-aircraft gun near the heart of the ship.
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Audie Leon Murphy was born in the village of Kingston, Hunt County, Texas (north of Greenville) in 1925 to Emmett Berry and Josie Bell Killian Murphy, a family of sharecroppers. Audie was the sixth of twelve children. His father abandoned the family when Audie was eight and his mother died when he was a teenager. Audie dropped out of school at the elementary level, in order to help support his family. Looking at this humble resume, not much would have been expected of him.