Corporal Desmond T. Doss
Medal of Honor Winner
(February 7, 1919–March 23, 2006)
The President of the United States
Desmond T. Doss
Place and date: Near Urasoe Mura, Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands, 29 April-21 May 1945.
Entered service at:
G.O. No.: 97, 1 November 1945.
As our troops gained the summit, a heavy concentration of artillery, mortar and machinegun fire crashed into them, inflicting approximately 75 casualties and driving the others back.
Pfc. Doss refused to seek cover and remained in the fire-swept area with the many stricken, carrying them 1 by 1 to the edge of the escarpment and there lowering them on a rope-supported litter down the face of a cliff to friendly hands.
On 2 May, he exposed himself to heavy rifle and mortar fire in rescuing a wounded man 200 yards forward of the lines on the same escarpment; and 2 days later he treated 4 men who had been cut down while assaulting a strongly defended cave, advancing through a shower of grenades to within 8 yards of enemy forces in a cave’s mouth, where he dressed his comrades’ wounds before making 4 separate trips under fire to evacuate them to safety.
On 5 May, he unhesitatingly braved enemy shelling and small arms fire to assist an artillery officer. He applied bandages, moved his patient to a spot that offered protection from small arms fire and, while artillery and mortar shells fell close by, painstakingly administered plasma.
Later that day, when an American was severely wounded by fire from a cave, Pfc. Doss crawled to him where he had fallen 25 feet from the enemy position, rendered aid, and carried him 100 yards to safety while continually exposed to enemy fire.
On 21 May, in a night attack on high ground near Shuri, he remained in exposed territory while the rest of his company took cover, fearlessly risking the chance that he would be mistaken for an infiltrating Japanese and giving aid to the injured until he was himself seriously wounded in the legs by the explosion of a grenade.
Rather than call another aid man from cover, he cared for his own injuries and waited 5 hours before litter bearers reached him and started carrying him to cover.
The trio was caught in an enemy tank attack and Pfc. Doss, seeing a more critically wounded man nearby, crawled off the litter; and directed the bearers to give their first attention to the other man. Awaiting the litter bearers’ return, he was again struck, this time suffering a compound fracture of 1 arm. With magnificent fortitude he bound a rifle stock to his shattered arm as a splint and then crawled 300 yards over rough terrain to the aid station.
Through his outstanding bravery and unflinching determination in the face of desperately dangerous conditions Pfc. Doss saved the lives of many soldiers. His name became a symbol throughout the 77th Infantry Division for outstanding gallantry far above and beyond the call of duty.
I just watch this documentary on Desmond Doss last night, and what an awesome testimony of courage that was inspired by this man’s faith in God. Corporal Doss was a medic during WW II, who because of his religious beliefs, as a Seventh Day Adventist, he wouldn’t carry a gun.
He went through such persecution and out and out hatred and prejudice from officers and fellow enlisted personal alike, and boy did he show them all.
Not only that, but one of his chief critics, an officer, whom I believe is Captain Glover, whose voice you hear in the second video clip; he actually tried to get Doss drummed out of the service, and didn’t even want him in to serve in his unit; and as God would have it, Pvt. Doss eventually ended up rescuing him and saving his life, while still under fire.
As you can read in the above citation, there was even one time when he was seriously wounded himself, and was waiting to be carried out on a stretcher; and seeing another soldier more seriously wounded than himself, he crawled over to him and began rendering first aid to him; and then he gave up his stretcher so that this other soldier could be taken out first.
In addition to his own wounds, he also had a broken arm; and so he proceeded to form a splint out of a rifle that was shot in half, and again while still under fire, he crawled out under his own effort, to safety.
This man was even known for retendering first aid to the enemy, when he ran across Japanese soldiers who had been wounded.
On a side note, the man whose voice you hear, doing the voice over in the first video clip, is a personal friend of mine, and also a brother in the Lord. His name is Casey Hayes; and this reminds me of a note I once saw posted on his refrigerator door, that was a quote from a John Wayne war move, which said: “All wars are filled with brave men who are scared, and would rather be somewhere else!”
I don’t think truer words where ever spoken; and therein lies a message for all of us, in that it is not the absence of fear that makes a hero; but rather it is how we react in the face of it. Selah