The second and third wave of the Japanese surprise attack arrived nearly at the same time to Pearl Harbor. The sky was thick with planes, smoke, fumes, and anti-aircraft fire which crossed the sky with impunity and smashed into Japanese aircraft, punching holes and sending some crashing into the water or ground in fiery wrecks. This wave of bombers and fighters had smashed the rest of the buildings still standing, including the hospital. They were now targeting the ships still in the bay and the airfield, taking down the airfield was of importance and made sure the US Navy couldn't launch any planes to fight against them.
Before any of this even happened though, somewhere on the USS West Virginia at seven-thirty in the morning, US Navy Sailor Messman Third Class Doris Miller was attending to the ship's laundry. He was a bald six-foot-three tall black man with powerful muscles stretched impressively across his body. He couldn't be described as handsome, but he was loyal to the country and his family. He loved America, which is why he decided to enlist in the first place. He attended to the laundry for another twenty or so minutes when the ship shuddered twice. A few bottles of laundry detergent fell to the floor from a shelf and Doris quickly grabbed onto a machine to steady himself. The klaxon alarm in the ship wailed as all the lights turned red, Captain Mervyn Bennion sounded over the ship's speakers.
"All hands to Battlestations! I repeat! All hands--"
Whatever came next was suddenly cut off as an explosion rocked the ship again, Doris knew what he had to do. He ran through the metal hallways of the ship, he was midship and he needed to get aft to the anti-aircraft batteries. He ran up a series of stairs past other sailors who were hurrying around to their battle stations, some of them were carrying hatches and fire extinguishers. Doris was rapidly ascending, he got to the first deck and turned down a few hallways past a couple more sailors who were running in the opposite direction. An explosion rocked the ship and part of the hallway exploded as Doris was thrown to the ground. Luckily there was only a pipe blowing steam that was hanging down from the wall, but he couldn't chance crossing it, that steam was incredibly hot. He turned back and ran down a few more hallways, he passed the Captain's Quarters and the XO's Cabin. They weren't inside, he didn't expect them to be.
He turned two more hallways and arrived at his station, but the AA batteries were completely destroyed, a piece of a plane's propeller was stuck against the wall, completely jamming a door shut. Someone was banging on the door, muffled and inaudible yelling could be heard. Doris made a quick decision, he knew this part of the ship as he personally delivered the Captain's meals sometimes. He ran back down the hallways and on the wall to his left was a glass case containing a Firefighter's Hatchet. He broke the casing and took the hatchet in hand, it's heavyweight was nothing for the man who prided himself as the Heavy Weight Boxing Champion on the West Virginia. He ran back to the door jammed by the propeller and used the hatchet as a wedge to try to get it out of the handle. It budged a little bit and he yelled as he put more force into it. He almost got it! The hatchet forced the propeller loose, but it broke in the process. Doris gripped the propeller and pulled, it came free but it sliced his hand in the process. A thin line of blood welled up across his palm, but he didn't care as he yanked on the door handle. The door popped open with only the slightest resistance.
"Thanks!" A white sailor with a Corpsman identification greeted him, there was a ton of smoke in the room that floated out as he said so. If he had waited any longer he most likely would have suffocated to death. Doris saved one person, but now it was time to save the ship, he needed to find someone with authority who knew what was going on. Doris turned and ran topside towards the Conning Tower. As soon as he arrived on the bridge, he spotted Lieutenant Commander Doir Johnson, the ship's Communication Officer. The Lieutenant waved him over and said, "Sailor, the Captain's been injured, we need to get him somewhere safer!"
They quickly entered the Conning Tower intending to take the Captain, Mervyn Bennion, to safety on a stretcher, but that didn't work. He had a bleeding hole in his abdomen that had stained his entire uniform red, in the hole, was a bunch of metal shrapnel. The bridge itself was also a mess, wires dangled everywhere and most of the consoles were just piles of scrap now. There was even a large hole in the side of the Conning Tower where a plane wing was just dangling there. The two men didn't need to say anything, they just nodded and both grabbed a side of the Captain and escorted him to just outside the Conning Tower, putting him down in a relatively safe spot on the side. The Captain was conscious enough to continue issuing orders. Lieutenant Frederic White also came by and ordered Doris to load the two unmanned Browning Fifty-Caliber Machine Guns on the conning tower along with an Ensign he brought. Doris wasn't familiar with the weapons so he fumbled with the ammunition as he loaded it, Frederic was about to issue new orders when he turned and saw that Doris was already on the gun firing at the strafing aircraft.
Japanese Zeroes tried to zero in on Doris and take him out of the fight with strafing runs, but each aircraft that turned was shot by Doris. One of the aircraft came diving out of the sky with the sun reflecting on it, making it hard to see and harsh to look at, but Doris didn't care. With each pull of the trigger, the gun jumped in his hands, delivering a lead death to any aircraft that flew near. One of the aircraft he shot blew up in mid-air as the fuselage took three consecutive hits. Another aircraft lost total flight capability and crashed into the nearby USS Minnesota, opening a hole in it. Doris fired and fired until his powerful arms started to feel numb from the gun. He chivalrously defended the Captain and his officers until a plane was able to get past his gunfire. The plane opened up on Doris and one of the rounds hit him in the left leg, which turned into a bloody mess. Doris screamed in pain and held onto the gun for dear life as he used it to keep himself held up. His leg furiously dripped blood, but he didn't care. The bone was also showing, a pure white interspersed with specks of red. He still didn't care. His face became pale and sweat dripped profusely down from his forehead, he knew his life was needing quickly but he still didn't care. All that mattered was the men around him and keeping the Captain safe. He screamed with fury and his barrage became laser straight and more furious as he shot down plane after plane. Long after all the rest of the planes refused to come near the USS West Virginia he kept firing until the last plane left for the horizon. Everyone around him was shocked and the Captain had already died from his wounds, but he had a smile on his face as his open eye gaze was directed at Doris. The rest of the officers quickly approached Doris, but he didn't respawn to any of their calls. When they turned him around they had discovered that he already had died, a fierce expression was frozen on his face, full of determination and willpower. The blood that was dripping from his leg had already slowed down his pace. Doris Miller was a hero to those around him and an inspiration to future generations.