|Birth name Desmond Thomas Doss|
Name Desmond Doss
Unit 77th Sustainment Brigade
Battles/wars Battle of Okinawa
Years of service 1942–1946
|Born February 7, 1919Lynchburg, Virginia (1919-02-07) |
Awards Medal of HonorBronze Star (2)Purple Heart (3)
Spouse(s) Dorothy (nee Schutte) Doss (m. 1942–1991),Francis (nee Duman) Doss (m. 1993–2006)
Died March 23, 2006, Piedmont, Alabama, United States
Service/branch United States Army
Battles and wars Battle of Okinawa
Allegiance United States of America
Desmond doss medal of honor wwii
Desmond Thomas Doss (February 7, 1919 – March 23, 2006) was a United States Army corporal who served as a combat medic with an infantry company in World War II. He distinguished himself in the Battle of Okinawa by saving 75 men, becoming the first conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor for actions above and beyond the call of duty. He is also the only conscientious objector to receive the medal during World War II.
- Desmond doss medal of honor wwii
- Desmond Doss, Jr. – The True Character of a Hero
- Early life
- World War II service
- Subsequent life
- Awards and decorations
- Medal of Honor citation
- Other honors and recognition
- In popular culture
Desmond Doss, Jr. – The True Character of a Hero
Desmond Doss was born in Lynchburg, Virginia, to William Thomas Doss (1893–1989), a carpenter and Bertha Edward Doss (née Oliver) (1899–1983), a homemaker and shoe factory worker. His mother raised him as a devout Seventh-day Adventist and instilled Sabbath-keeping, nonviolence, and a vegetarian lifestyle in his upbringing. He grew up in the Fairview Heights area of Lynchburg, Virginia alongside his older sister Audrey and younger brother Harold.
Doss attended the Park Avenue Seventh-day Adventist Church school until the eighth grade, and subsequently found a job at the Lynchburg Lumber Company to support his family during the Great Depression.
World War II service
Before the outbreak of World War II, Doss was employed as a joiner at a shipyard in Newport News, Virginia. Doss entered military service, despite being offered a deferment for his shipyard work, on April 1, 1942, at Camp Lee, Virginia. He was sent to Fort Jackson in South Carolina for training with the reactivated 77th Infantry Division. Meanwhile, his brother Harold served aboard the USS Lindsey.
Doss refused to kill an enemy soldier or carry a weapon into combat because of his personal beliefs as a Seventh-day Adventist. He consequently became a medic assigned to 2nd Platoon, B Company, 1st Battalion, 307th Infantry, 77th Infantry Division.
While serving with his platoon in 1944 on Guam and the Philippines, he was awarded a Bronze Star Medal for aiding wounded soldiers under fire. During the Battle of Okinawa, he saved the lives of 75 wounded infantrymen atop the area known by the 96th Division as the Maeda Escarpment or Hacksaw Ridge. Doss was wounded four times in Okinawa, and was evacuated on May 21, 1945, aboard the USS Mercy. He was subsequently awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in Okinawa on October 12, 1945.
After the war, Doss initially planned to continue his career in carpentry, but extensive damage to his arm left him unable to do so. In 1946, Doss was diagnosed with tuberculosis which he contracted in Leyte. He subsequently underwent treatment for five and a half years – which cost him a lung and five ribs – before being discharged from the hospital in August 1951 with 90% disability.
Doss continued to receive treatment from the military but after an overdose of antibiotics rendered him completely deaf in 1976, he was given 100% disability; he was able to regain his hearing after receiving a cochlear implant in 1988. Despite the severity of his injuries, Doss managed to raise a family on a small farm in Rising Fawn, Georgia.
Doss married Dorothy Pauline Schutte on August 17, 1942, and they had one child, Desmond "Tommy" Doss Jr., born in 1946. Dorothy died on November 17, 1991, from a car accident. Doss remarried on July 1, 1993, to Frances May Duman.
Awards and decorations
Doss' awards include:
Medal of Honor citation
Rank and organization: Private First Class, United States Army, Medical Detachment, 307th Infantry, 77th Infantry Division.
Entered service at: Lynchburg, Virginia
Birth: Lynchburg, Virginia
G.O. No.: 97, November 1, 1945.
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, March 3, 1863, has awarded in the name of The Congress the MEDAL OF HONOR to
PRIVATE FIRST CLASS DESMOND T. DOSS
UNITED STATES ARMY
for service as set forth in the following
Citation: Private First Class Desmond T. Doss, United States Army, Medical Detachment, 307th Infantry, 77th Infantry Division. Near Urasoe-Mura, Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands, 29 April – 21 May 1945. He was a company aid man when the 1st Battalion assaulted a jagged escarpment 400 feet high. 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. Private First Class Doss refused to seek cover and remained in the fire-swept area with the many stricken, carrying them one by one 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 two days later he treated four men who had been cut down while assaulting a strongly defended cave, advancing through a shower of grenades to within eight yards of enemy forces in a cave's mouth, where he dressed his comrades' wounds before making four 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, Private First Class 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 five hours before litter bearers reached him and started carrying him to cover. The trio was caught in an enemy tank attack and Private First Class 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 one 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 Private First Class 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.
October 12, 1945
THE WHITE HOUSE
Other honors and recognition
In popular culture
On February 18, 1959, Doss appeared on the Ralph Edwards NBC TV show This Is Your Life.
Doss was also featured in the Medal of Honor Special comic written by Doug Murray and published by Dark Horse Comics. The comic was a special edition of the series Medal of Honor, published April 1, 1994. The title was sanctioned by the United States Congressional Medal of Honor Society. The issue features Corporal Desmond Doss along with another Medal of Honor recipient, Lieutenant Charles Q. Williams.
Doss is the subject of The Conscientious Objector, an award-winning documentary by Terry Benedict in 2004. He is also the subject of the book The Unlikeliest Hero.
The feature film Hacksaw Ridge, based on his life, was produced by Terry Benedict and directed by Mel Gibson. The film was released nationwide in the U.S. on November 4, 2016 to positive reviews. Doss is portrayed by Andrew Garfield, who was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance. Desmond's wife, Dorothy, is played by Teresa Palmer.