History will be made when the aircraft carrier USS Doris Miller, sails for the first time. The USS Doris Miller is named after World War II mess attendant Doris “Dorie” Miller. The naming of the Ford-class carrier will be one of several firsts: It will not just be the first carrier named after an enlisted sailor, but more importantly, the Doris Miller will also be the first carrier named after a black sailor.

In April, acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly had asked a small group of retired black admirals to recommend him a name for the new supercarrier being built. He had asked them, if possible, to try to find an African American enlisted sailor, believing that the service was long overdue for such an honor. And they chose Miller.

Miller was born in Waco, Texas in October of 1919. He was named Doris because the midwife who assisted his mother had convinced her that the child would be female. He joined the Navy in 1939 and was assigned to USS West Virginia in January 1940.

Miller’s job was to take care of the ship’s officers. He would be tasked with laying out their clothes, shinning their shoes, and serving their meals. (The MOS mess attendant doesn’t even exist anymore.) It must be noted that during the days of the segregated military, black sailors weren’t allowed to serve in combat roles and weren’t even allowed to fire weapons. Although, black leaders were pressuring President Roosevelt to allow black troops to fight for their country like white troops.