DESMOND T. DOSS, A CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR WHO WON THE CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR

DESMOND T. DOSS, A CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR WHO WON THE CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR

I hadn't head of Desmond Doss (1919 – 2006)- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desmond_Doss - who was the first conscientious objector to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor until I came across a note about him. He was one of only three who was so honored. He was a Private first class at the time of his actions. As a Seventh Day Adventist Doss refused Doss to carry a weapon into combat and served in the Pacific theater of World War II as a medic. He received the medal of honor because of the risks he took to himself while saving the lives of dozens of fellow soldiers. An award-winning documentary was made about him, The Conscientious Objector.

At first the men made fun of him for his praying, refusal to drill on Saturday’s, carry a rifle and his religious beliefs. However, in time, they began to admire his faith and determination.

His actions occurred in the Pacific at Leyte and Okinawa. The citation he received said that in the battle, enemy fire caused seventy five casualties. Doss refused to seek cover and remain in the area with many of the injured carrying them one by one to the edge and then lowering them on a rope litter down the face of the cliff. On another occasion he rescued a wounded man, who was some 200 yards ahead of the lines. This was done in the face of heavy fire and mortar fire. Two days later he treated four men who had been hit while assaulting a defended cave. He advanced through a shower of grenades and gun fire to within 8 yards of the cave mouth where he dressed his comrades wounds. He made four separate trips under fire to evacuate them to safety. Three days later he advanced under enemy shelling and small arms fire to assist an officer who had been wounded. He applied bandages and moved him to a place of protection while under fire where he Doss.2administered plasma. Later that same day he crawled under enemy fire to within 25 feet of the enemy position to administer first aid and carried the wounded some 100 yards back to safety while continually under enemy fire. On another occasion, during a night attack, he remained in the exposed territory while the rest of the company had taken cover. He gave aid to the injured until he himself was seriously injured by an explosion of a grenade. Rather than call for aid, he cared for his own injuries and waited five hours before litter bearers could reach him. As they headed back under enemy fire Doss saw a more critically wounded man nearby. He crawled off the litter and directed the bearers to get attention to the other man. While waiting for the litter bearers to return, he was again wounded when struck by a sniper bullet. This time he suffered a compound fracture of his arm. He bound a rifle stock to the shattered arm as a splint and crawled 300 yards over rough terrain to the aid station. For his outstanding bravery and unflinching determination in the face of desperately dangerous conditions, he 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.

Doss also received the Bronze Star for his actions. By coincidence, he died on the same day another Medal of Honor recipient died, David Bleak. One has to admire the faith, determination and bravery of people like Desmond Doss.

2 thoughts on “DESMOND T. DOSS, A CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR WHO WON THE CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR

  1. I never heard of himeither till a few years back. I was impressed with his story and the way our country repayed him. I have at least on a yearly basis tried to read the story or remind my grandchildren of this man and others who have stood by tier faith and were men of Great Courage and Faith. In our world today there needs to be more Desmond T. Doss’s and others to give our Children True Hero’s and not this movie actor or sports hero’s. Not saying that they are bad necessarily. However, with Mr. Doss’s story it continued he lived the life of a Christian and kept his faith and never let the recognition as it were go to his head. Yet the only other big war story Hero of similar recognition was Audy Murpy –I learned of his Heroic episodes and was amazed at such a young life he was able to accomplish so much and be so brave and courageous–then to find out that he died in disgrace as it were–nothing like his days of glory. so many of the sports Hero’s also come under the gun with steroid use etc. I am sure there are others like Mr. Doss but I am not familiar with them. so Where ever they may be in history and in the future. May God Bless You and Reward You for your Faithfulness to God and Country.

  2. Ha. Our paths cross again. I’ve been watching the movie “The Conscientious Objector” and was running searches on this great man Desmond Doss, seeing if I could find any scanned newspapers articles (of course) from when he returned to a hero’s welcome – and voila, there you were. If you haven’t seen the movie you’d love it. I am so impressed. He makes the world a better place for having been here with us. What a sweet man. And after everything he went through his biggest concern was losing his little Bible. He said that book had gotten him through everything. The soldiers heard about it and went back into the combat zone retracing his steps and found it. You’d think that’s just lore but they show the actual letter where he’s writing his wife about losing it! He talks about how much it meant to him – how very very much – and how it made him both so happy and so sad that those men would risk doing that for him to have his Bible back. Aw.

    What I did NOT appreciate much was that although in the movie there is much talk of his “religion,” that he is “Seventh Day Adventist,” and his “faith,” when they played the old film footage from just after he received the medal of honor, they cut it off when Desmond begins to tell WHY he is a conscientious objector. I want to hear him, back then, explaining it at this president-attended regal ceremony.

    I am thankful this filmmaker (Terry L. Benedict) went and got the story from Desmond before the time had passed to be able to do so.

    Where am I going to find that footage (she asks herself)? 🙂

    My favorite thing he said was that he could not compromise or he would be in trouble. He said if he compromises once he’d be expected to compromise over and over again.

    Much love to you Mr. Luvera,
    Deon

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