"Dorie Miller stood for everything that is good about our nation," Modly said. "His story deserves to be remembered and repeated wherever our people continue to stand the watch today."
The aircraft carrier to be named after Miller will also be the first one named after an enlisted sailor, Modly added.
Miller fought in the Pacific Theater until November 1943, when the ship he was assigned to was sunk by a Japanese submarine torpedo. He was listed as missing for a year and a day before being presumed dead on November 25, 1944, according to his biography.
In addition to the Navy Cross, Miller also received the Purple Heart Medal and the American Defense Service Medal, Fleet Clasp, as well as the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal and the World War II Victory Medal, according to the Navy. In 1973, a Knox-class frigate was named in honor of Miller, but was later decommissioned in the 1990s.
This story has been updated with additional information from the ceremony Monday.
CNN's Caroline Kelly, Andy Rose and Zach Cohen contributed to this report.