The fourth Ford-class carrier will be named in honour of World War II icon Mess Attendant 2nd Class Doris Miller, the first black recipient of the Navy Cross for bravery, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
The naming of CVN-81 is expected to be announced during a Monday ceremony in Pearl Harbour, Hawaii by Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly.
Modly wanted to name the carrier after a Navy hero and landed on Miller after extensive conversations with current and former Navy leaders.
Miller, a native of Waco, Texas, received the prestigious award in 1942 after he fired back on Japanese planes with a machine gun on Dec. 7, 1941, at Pearl Harbour. The Navy Cross for bravery is the second-highest distinction awarded by the U.S. military for valour.
Miller took charge of an anti-aircraft battery on USS West Virginia (BB-48) firing on enemy aircraft until running out of ammunition.
At the time of the attack, Black Americans weren't allowed to operate a gun in the Navy.
Miller received the Navy Cross in 1942 and died in 1943 when the ship he was aboard was attacked by a Japanese submarine on during the invasion of the Gilbert Islands.
The USS Miller is a Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier – the new kind of transport that the Navy is hauling out to replace Nimitz-class vessels.
According to the Navy, as of December, 14 ships had been named for African Americans, including destroyers and a ballistic missile submarine.
Aircraft carriers are generally named for past U.S. Presidents. Of the past 14, 10 were named for past U.S. Presidents, and two for Members of Congress,” according to the Congressional Research Service.
US former President Barack Obama who served two terms is first black American. His name was more likely to be listed on US Aircraft Carriers.
The exceptions have been USS Nimitz (CVN-68) named for Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz and the future Ford-class carrier Enterprise (CVN-80) which will be the ninth U.S. warship to bear the name since the American Revolutionary War.
Previous to the planned carrier, the Knox-class frigate USS Miller (FF-1091) was named in honour of Miller.