March 24, 2006
OOTW: Desmond T. Doss, Sr., Medal of Honor winner, dies at age 87
In an age in which the term "hero" is overused to the point of absurdity, this man was a true hero:
Desmond T. Doss, Sr., the only conscientious objector to win the Congressional Medal of Honor during World War II, has died. He was 87 years old.
Mr. Doss never liked being called a conscientious objector. He preferred the term conscientious cooperator. Raised a Seventh-day Adventist, Mr. Doss did not believe in using a gun or killing because of the sixth commandment which states, “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13). Doss was a patriot, however, and believed in serving his country.
During World War II, instead of accepting a deferment, Mr. Doss voluntarily joined the Army as a conscientious objector. Assigned to the 307th Infantry Division as a company medic he was harassed and ridiculed for his beliefs, yet he served with distinction and ultimately received the Congressional Medal of Honor on Oct. 12, 1945 for his fearless acts of bravery.
According to his Medal of Honor citation, time after time, Mr. Doss’ fellow soldiers witnessed how unafraid he was for his own safety. He was always willing to go after a wounded fellow, no matter how great the danger. On one occasion in Okinawa, he refused to take cover from enemy fire as he rescued approximately 75 wounded soldiers, carrying them one-by-one and lowering them over the edge of the 400-foot Maeda Escarpment. He did not stop until he had brought everyone to safety nearly 12 hours later.
The story of Doss' life was truly amazing. While I personally do not believe in prayer, I began to wonder about that after reading about his experiences on Okinawa in May 1945. Here are some interesting links:
- Desmond Doss: A War Hero Without a Gun by Matthew C. Soper
- The Soldier and his Sword
- Official CMH citation
- The Conscientious Objector, a 2004 documentary about his life.
- AP obituary
Hat tip to Taranto's Best of the Web Today.
March 24, 2006 at 11:36 PM | Permalink
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Desmond T. Doss visited Broadview Academy (LaFox, IL) in 1962 for a weekend. He was the paragon for young Seventh-day Adventists males who would be called to serve in the US military in the medical corps. Adventists were opposed to the taking of human life and refused to bear arms, but would serve as medics. His military service was exemplary of his faith that God truly watched over those who obeyed Him, even in the most dire of circumstances, and the power of prayer. He told us that one time in the heat of battle he encouraged many of those with him to pray to God for protection, and there was not one casualty that day.
He wrote a paragraph in my Bible and included the text which he believed was God's promise to guard those to believed in Him. He was an extremely humble human being, and an inspiration for others. His life was a testament to his belief. His legacy will always be a paradigm for others who seek to live their life according to God's precepts, especially Seventh-day Adventists who will always memorialize his example.
Posted by: Michael M. Yugovich | Mar 27, 2006 3:53:54 PM
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