Showing posts from September, 2016

A Sailor's Story: Vice Admiral Samuel L. Graverly Jr.

Admiral Graverly had an amazing Naval career of firsts.

Born on June 4, 1922, in Richmond Virginia, he attended Virginia Union University, leaving early to join the Naval reserves in 1942.

After basic training at the Naval Station Great Lakes Illinois, he entered V-12 Navy College Training at UCLA and then attended Midshipmen's school at Columbia University.  He was commissioned as Ensign in 1944.

WWII was spent aboard the USS PC-1264, conducting patrols and escorts through the Atlantic.

In 1946, released from active duty, he returned to Virginia Union University and completed his Bachelor's in History, and worked as a railway postal clerk.

He returned to active duty in 1949, as a recruiter in Washington DC, transferring to the USS Iowa as a communications officer.  He converted from the reserves to regular Navy in 1955.

In 1961, he was given his own boat, the USS Theodore E. Chandler, becoming the first African American to command a ship.  His command transferred to the USS …

A Sailor's Story: Ship's Cook 3rd Class Doris Miller

Ship's Cook 3rd Class Doris Miller was born in Waco Texas on October 12, 1919, to parents Connery and Henrietta Miller.

He attended A.J. Moore High School and played fullback on the football team until leaving school to help support his family, both by farming and working part-time at a local diner.

He enlisted in the US Navy on September 16, 1939, and was transferred to the USS West Virginia on January 2, 1940, serving as Mess Attendant.  He was also the heavyweight boxing champion of the ship.

On December 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, he manned a Browning 50 caliber anti-aircraft gun in defense of the ship, despite having received no weapons training (the US Navy did not allow African Americans in combat roles at that time)

After running out of ammunition, and with orders to abandon ship, he assisted in moving injured sailors off of the ship, including mortally wounded Captain Mervyn Bennion.  He received the Navy Cross for his actions, the first African Ame…