A great Story for This Fourth of July—DESMOND T. DOSS—a Hero of WWII


A great Story for This Fourth of July—DESMOND T. DOSS—a Hero of WWII

By Kevin Stoda

Tonight, after watching a History Channel special on “the American Revolution”, I switched over  (this holiday weekend) to TBN, a Christian broadcast network.  There, I watched one of the more important documentaries of the past few decades:  THE CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mk-pX4LIyU

The movie is the story of Desmond T. Doss, a man of faith who refused to kill or even touch a weapon but saved hundreds across the Pacific Isles of WWII as a volunteer medic.

http://desmonddoss.com/

After WWII, Harry Truman stated he was very very honored to be able to make Desmond the first Conscientious Objector to receive the Medal of Honor.  Desmond is now honored in book form, movie form, and in comic book form.

http://www.homeofheroes.com/profiles/profiles_doss.html

Some have called him “the greatest hero ever”.

http://www.myhero.com/go/hero.asp?hero=Desmond_Doss_HAS_06

Desmond’s faith and fearlessness is appreciated all over the globe, even after he died in 2006.

http://www.blogofdeath.com/archives/001550.html

In his obituary tribute to Desmond T. Doss on his death in 2006, Richard Goldstein wrote the following for the NEW YORK TIMES, “Desmond T. Doss, who as an unarmed Army medic saved the lives of dozens of fellow soldiers under fire on Okinawa in World War II and became the first conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor, died Thursday, 23 March 2006, at his home in Piedmont, Ala. He was 87. His death was announced by his wife, Frances, who said he had recently been hospitalized with breathing difficulties.

“Mr. Doss, a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, was guided all through his years by a framed poster of the Ten Commandments and the Lord’s Prayer that his father bought at an auction when he was growing up in Lynchburg, Va. That poster depicted Cain holding a club with the slain Abel beneath him.”

Doss himsel had stated in an interview, “And when I looked at that picture, I came to the Sixth Commandment, ‘Thou shalt not kill,’ ” Mr. Doss told Larry Smith in “Beyond Glory,” an oral history of Medal of Honor winners. “I wondered, how in the world could a brother do such a thing? It put a horror in my heart of just killing, and as a result I took it personally: ‘Desmond, if you love me, you won’t kill.’ ”

Goldstein continued,“When Mr. Doss was drafted in April 1942 after working in a shipyard, he was given conscientious objector status, having declined to bear arms because of his religious principles. He became a medic, the only way he could adhere to the Sixth Commandment as well as the Fourth Commandment, to honor the Sabbath. Seventh-day Adventists consider Saturday the Sabbath, but Mr. Doss felt he could serve as a medic seven days a week since, as he put it, ‘Christ healed on the Sabbath.’”

Earlier, “[w]hile training at stateside posts, Private Doss faced harassment from fellow soldiers for his devotion to prayer and his refusal to handle weapons or work on the Sabbath. At one point, he recalled, an officer sought to have him discharged on the ground of mental illness.”

The documentary film (noted above) shown on TBN this night did a wonderful job of sharing how persecuted Doss was during his military training due to his faith and practice of “not touching weapons”.  Doss “went overseas with the 307th Infantry, 77th Infantry Division, in the summer of 1944 and served as a combat medic on Guam and at Leyte in the Philippines, receiving the Bronze Star, before taking part in the battle for Okinawa in the spring of 1945. Private Doss was accompanying troops in the battle for a 400-foot-high ridge on Okinawa, the Maeda Escarpment, on Saturday, May 5 — his Sabbath — when the Japanese counterattacked. Many of the Americans were driven off the ridge, but wounded soldiers were stranded atop it.”

In the documenary we discover from various witnessess that “Private Doss remained with the wounded, and, according to his Medal of Honor citation, he refused to seek cover, carrying them, one by one, in the face of enemy fire. He lowered each man on a rope-supported litter he had devised, using double bowline knots he had learned as a youngster and tying the makeshift litter to a tree stump serving as an anchor. Every wounded man was lowered to a safe spot 35 feet below the ridgetop, and then Private Doss came down the ridge unscathed.”

Finally, “[a]fter engaging in additional rescue efforts under fire over the next two weeks, Private Doss was wounded by a grenade that riddled him with shrapnel. He cared for his injuries alone for five hours, rather than have another medic emerge from cover to help him. While he was finally being carried off on a litter, he spotted a soldier who seemed worse off. He leaped off the litter, directing his aid men to help the other soldier.Soon after that, Japanese fire hit him, and he suffered a compound arm fracture. He bound a rifle stock to his shattered arm as a splint, evidently the closest he ever came to handling a weapon, and crawled 300 yards to an aid station.”

“President Harry S. Truman presented him with the Medal of Honor on Oct. 12, 1945, for his actions on Okinawa. The citation credited him with saving 75 soldiers on that ridge, but he later said that the number was probably closer to 50.”  Subsequently, our hero “Mr. Doss spent more than five years in hospitals being treated for his wounds and lost a lung to tuberculosis. Because of his infirmities, he was unable to seek steady work. He devoted himself to his religion and worked with young people in church-sponsored programs, living for many years in Rising Fawn, Ga., before moving to Alabama.”

According to Goldstein, “Only one [ or two] other conscientious objector has received the Medal of Honor: Cpl. Thomas W. Bennett, an Army medic in the Vietnam War who was killed in February 1969 tending to wounded soldiers in Pleiku Province.”

“From a human standpoint, I shouldn’t be here to tell the story,” Mr. Doss  once said, “All the glory should go to God. No telling how many times the Lord has spared my life.”

http://www.helium.com/items/1548570-desmond-doss-medal-of-honor

Sharon Barclay writes, “Often when people think of Medal of Honor recipients, they picture soldiers rushing into battle with their gun blazing. This is not true of Medal of Honor recipient Desmond T. Doss. Sure Desmond rushed into battle, heedless of his own safety, but the brave man never carried or fired a weapon. Desmond Doss was an Army medic during WWII and the first Medal of Honor recipient that was classified as a conscientious objector. Not only was he a brave and willing participant of many battles, but he also saved an untold number of men’s lives. He was truly an American hero.”

GOD BLESS CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS

I recommend that Americans take time to learn about  Desmond Doss and many other great conscientious objectors this Fourth of July—and in future years.  Learn that not all heroes act violently.

Here are some links to get you started thinking about this topic:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desmond_Doss

http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?29395-Famous-conscientious-objectors

http://cornellsun.com/node/26167

http://objector.org/Notable_CO_s.html

http://www.pbs.org/perilousfight/social/objectors/

http://everything2.com/title/conscientious+objector

http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/91/a5856591.shtml

http://www.historynet.com/a-conscientious-objectors-medal-of-honor.htm

http://www.military.com/NewContent/0,13190,Gomulka_Objectors,00.html

http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/272588

http://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php?PHPSESSID=1r2e2l73kr8lpc1vo41js7vt86&topic=34794.15

http://www.wou.edu/las/socsci/history/keady499paper.doc

http://peace.maripo.com/p_peacemakers.htm

http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/121480234/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0

http://www.famouswhy.com/List/c/English_conscientious_objectors/

https://kb.osu.edu/dspace/bitstream/1811/45723/1/Marcus_Yoder_Thesis.pdf

Who do you know that should be on a famous conscientious objector list?  Tell us why?

Oh, yeah, here are some YouTube bits to watch, too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Zv9XAl9Xgg&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9xAWSXXsPY&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fM8jjqxtSpY&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMkbaXVlDls&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sha0LRjTNDo&feature=fvw

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About eslkevin

I am a peace educator who has taken time to teach and work in countries such as the USA, Germany, Japan, Nicaragua, Mexico, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman over the past 4 decades.
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38 Responses to A great Story for This Fourth of July—DESMOND T. DOSS—a Hero of WWII

  1. kim says:

    hey where is all the info on Desmond Doss I am doing a reort on him and I need info!

    • eslkevin says:

      Desmond Doss
      From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
      Desmond T. Doss

      Desmond Thomas Doss, Medal of Honor recipient
      Born February 7, 1919
      Lynchburg, Virginia
      Died March 23, 2006 (aged 87)
      Piedmont, Alabama
      Allegiance United States of America
      Service/branch United States Army
      Years of service 1942 – 1946
      Rank Corporal
      Unit 77th Infantry Division
      Battles/wars Battle of Okinawa
      Awards Medal of Honor
      Bronze Star (2)
      Purple Heart (3)
      Desmond Thomas Doss (February 7, 1919 – March 23, 2006) was the first conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor and one of only three so honored (the others are Thomas W. Bennett and Joseph G. LaPointe, Jr.). He was a Corporal (Private First Class at the time of his Medal of Honor heroics) in the U.S. Army assigned to the Medical Detachment, 307th Infantry, 77th Infantry Division. He died the same day as another Medal of Honor recipient, David Bleak.
      Drafted in April 1942,[1] Desmond Doss refused to kill, or carry a weapon into combat, because of his personal beliefs as a Seventh-day Adventist. He thus became a medic, and by serving in the Pacific theatre of World War II helped his country by saving the lives of his comrades, while also adhering to his religious convictions. Shortly before leaving the Army, Desmond was diagnosed with tuberculosis.[2] He left the Army in 1946.[3]
      His Medal of Honor was earned by the risks he took to save the lives of so many comrades.
      He is the subject of The Conscientious Objector, an award-winning documentary,[4] and an upcoming feature film by the same name. The project has been developed and financed by Walden Media, and will be produced by Bill Mechanic, David Permut, Steve Longi, Gregory Crosby, and Terry Benedict.
      Contents [hide]
      1 Medal of Honor citation
      2 Other Honors and Recognition
      3 See also
      4 References
      5 Further reading
      6 External links
      [edit]Medal of Honor citation

      Rank and organization: Private First Class, United States Army, Medical Detachment, 307th Infantry, 77th Infantry Division.
      Place and date: Near Urasoe Mura, Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands, April 29, 1945 – May 21, 1945.
      Entered service at: Lynchburg, Virginia
      Birth: Lynchburg, Virginia
      G.O. No.: 97, November 1, 1945.
      Citation:

      Doss receiving the Medal of Honor from President Harry Truman
      He was a company aid man when the 1st Battalion assaulted a jagged escarpment 400 feet (120 m) 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. Pfc. Doss refused to seek cover and remained in the fire-swept area with the many stricken, carrying all 75 casualties 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 May 2, he exposed himself to heavy rifle and mortar fire in rescuing a wounded man 200 yards (180 m) 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 (7.3 m) 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 May 5, 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 (7.6 m) from the enemy position, rendered aid, and carried him 100 yards (91 m) to safety while continually exposed to enemy fire. On May 21, 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, by a sniper bullet while being carried off the field by a comrade, 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 (270 m) 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.[2]
      [edit]Other Honors and Recognition

      On July 10, 1990, a section of Georgia Highway 2 between US Highway 27 and Georgia Highway 193 in Walker County was named the “Desmond T. Doss Medal of Honor Highway.”[5]
      In July 2008, the guest house at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. was renamed Doss Memorial Hall.[6]
      On August 30, 2008, a two-mile stretch of Alabama Highway 9 in Piedmont was named the “Desmond T. Doss, Sr. Memorial Highway.”[7]
      He is buried in Chattanooga, Tennessee’s National Cemetery.
      He was a resident of Lynchburg, Virginia for which a portion of US Route 501 near Peaks View Park is named in his honor. Local veterans of the area still honor this hero by decorating the signs marking this portion of road several times during the year particularly around patriotic holidays and especially Memorial Day.
      [edit]See also

      Biography portal
      United States Army portal
      World War II portal
      List of Medal of Honor recipients
      List of Medal of Honor recipients for World War II
      Medical Cadet Corps
      Thomas W. Bennett
      Joseph G. LaPointe, Jr.
      [edit]References

      ^ WWII Army Enlistment Records
      ^ Herndon, Booton (1967). The Unlikeliest Hero. Boise, Idaho: Pacific Press Publishing Association. pp. 182. ISBN 0-8163-2048-9.
      ^ Service Profile
      ^ [1]
      ^ “Medal of Honor recipient Desmond Doss, 87, dies”.
      ^ Guest House named after Medal of Honor recipient, WRAMC News Releases, July 17, 2008. Retrieved on 2008-08-31.
      ^ Piedmont Medal of Honor recipient honored with state highway designation, The Anniston Star, Michael A. Bell, August 31, 2008. Retrieved on 2008-08-31.
      ^ Medal of Honor recipients World War II (A-F) at the United States Army Center of Military History
      The Chattanoogan: Burial Set April 3 At National Cemetery For Medal of Honor Winner Desmond Doss (retrieved March 28, 2006)
      [edit]Further reading

      Herndon, Booton (2004). The Unlikeliest Hero: The Story of Desmond T. Doss, Conscientious Objector Who Won His Nation’s Highest Military Honor. Mountain View, California: Pacific Press Publishing Association. ISBN 978-0-8163-2048-6..
      Doss, Frances M. (2005). Desmond Doss: Conscientious Objector. Pacific Press Publishing Association. ISBN 978-0-8163-2124-7.
      Doss, Frances M. (1998). Desmond Doss: In God’s care: The unlikeliest hero and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient. The College Press.
      [edit]External links

      “Desmond Doss”. Find a Grave. Retrieved September 2, 2010.
      “The Conscientious Objector (2004 film)”. Retrieved September 29, 2010.
      “The Documentary”. Retrieved September 29, 2010.
      “North America: Filmmaker Documents Story of Desmond Doss”. Claim to Fame: Medal of Honor recipients. Adventist News Network. 18 November 2003. Retrieved 8 January 2010.
      “Desmond T. Doss Junior Academy, a Seventh-Day Adventist school in Lynchburg, Virginia”. Retrieved September 29, 2010.

  2. eslkevin says:

    at http://www.opednews.com/articles/Vets-Ask-Mourn-For-Those-by-Jay-Janson-120526-392.html
    (Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Associate Member, or higher).
    May 27, 2012

    Vets Ask “Mourn For Those Killed By Americans in Battle in US Wars of Aggression!”

    By Jay Janson

    “On this Memorial Day, Veterans For Peace asks you to mourn not only for Americans killed in battle, but also for those killed by Americans in battle, to accept that these war deaths did not have to happen–that they are actually in vain. Hundreds of thousands of innocent people have died in American wars of aggression. That is a tragedy and is a truth that must be accepted and for which we must take responsibility.” VFP Pres

    ::::::::

    Worthington Memorial Day Parade 2009 by From marada

    For the Memorial Day 2012 celebrations the Veterans For Peace web site features a posting by VFP President Leah Bolger titled Memorial Day: Pick Your Perversion. The final paragraph is highlighted in bold print:
    http://www.veteransforpeace.org/

    “On this Memorial Day, Veterans For Peace asks you to mourn not only for Americans killed in battle, but also for those killed by Americans in battle. We ask you to be willing to accept the fact that these war deaths did not have to happen–that they are actually in vain. Hundreds of thousands of innocent people have died in American wars of aggression. That is a tragedy and is a truth that must be accepted and for which we must take responsibility.”

    “For which we must take responsibility” sounds like Martin Luther King Jr.’ outcry in his world shaking 1967 sermon “Beyond Vietnam – a Time to Break Silence. King demanded that we take responsibility for and bring these atrocities to an end

    But King was quickly silenced with a bullet to the head, and his condemnations of America’s wars to maintain predatory investments in poor countries has been blacked-out in media for the forty-four years since his assassination.

    Last summer, Veterans For Peace was one of the first to endorse the Campaign for International Awareness that King Condemned US Wars as “meant to maintain unjust predatory investments.” [see King Condemned US Wars]
    http://kingcondemneduswars.blogspot.com/

    For Veterans now better than anyone else that King’s condemnations, once well known, will arouse widespread desire to prosecute all who were and are criminally involved in illegal undeclared wars since 1945. When it becomes fashionable to be moral and decent rather than depressed and self-centered, the wealthy, investing in and arranging wars, instead of ruling us, will find themselves in prison until no longer a danger to society and themselves.

    If Leah Bolger’s truthful words could be read by half of the millions of Americans that will be subjected to corporate media war adulation this Memorial Day, elected politicians signing deadly orders pursuing what Republican candidate for President Ron Paul calls “illegal and undeclared wars,” would find themselves defendants in court proceedings indicted under the US constitution and the Nuremberg Principles for crimes against humanity.

    Her article:

    “Memorial Day … was created in the aftermath of the Civil War and … later broadened to include the theme of reconciliation … it evolved from simply decorating the graves and solemn memorization of those killed, to opportunities for flag-waving, nationalistic displays with parades, marching bands and political speeches. Today, it has become a perversion of its original intent.

    Perversion #1 -Commercialism/Consumerism/Entertainment

    Nearly all American holidays have been transformed from their original intents and into opportunities for economic profits, and Memorial Day is arguably the best example. Memorial Day has turned into Memorial Day weekend–a time for shopping, watching the Indianapolis 500, and kicking-off the summer.

    Perversion #2 –
    American Exceptionalism
    This perversion of Memorial Day is typified by the glorification of war and everyone who participated in it. God is always on our side (which means we are always right). Politicians try to outdo each other in their effusive thanks for the military, and refer to everyone who has ever worn a military uniform as a hero. God, guns and glory are wrapped up in the flag, and the whole package is given the credit for all that is good: liberty, freedom, justice, and the American Way of Life. Perversion #2 is of much more concern because of the ideology that it represents.

    It is very dangerous when the people of a nation believes it can do no wrong; that it can operate outside of international law; and that God is on its side. Because when a nation is so confident in its righteousness, it loses any capacity for objectivity. On Memorial Day we remember the American war dead, but never question the necessity for the battle. We cannot bear to think that American lives lost in war might have been in vain, and so we continue to insist that we are on the side of right. We never second guess our country, because if we come to the realization that the war is wrong, for whatever reason, then we have to accept responsibility for all of those killed in our wars–not just our own. In the cases of Iraq and Afghanistan, that seems way outside the capacity of the American public, who are only now starting to question whether the sacrifice of more U.S. troops is “worth it.” We have not even thought to question whether the sacrifice of Iraqis and Afghans is worth it–more than 90% of whom were non-combatants. The media is starting to describe us as “war weary” but we haven’t the slightest clue.

    On this Memorial Day, Veterans For Peace asks you to mourn not only for Americans killed in battle, but also for those killed by Americans in battle. We ask you to be willing to accept the fact that these war deaths did not have to happen–that they are actually in vain. Hundreds of thousands of innocent people have died in American wars of aggression. That is a tragedy and is a truth that must be accepted and for which we must take responsibility.”
    Leah Bolger
    Bio: Leah Bolger spent 20 years on active duty in the U.S. Navy and retired in 2000 at the rank of Commander. She is currently a full-time peace activist and serves as the National President of Veterans For Peace.

    Submitters Bio:

    Archival research peoples historian activist, musician and writer, who has lived and worked on all the continents and whose articles on media have been published in China, Italy, England and the US, and now resides in New York City.

  3. eslkevin says:

    Hero Without a Gun
    The Biography of Desmond T. Doss

    by Matthew C. Soper
    May 2000
    Desmond T. Doss, the only noncombatant ever to have won the Congressional Medal of Honor, was hardly considered a hero as a child. He did learn many valuable lessons during his childhood though that shaped his thinking and perhaps caused him to react the way he did during his time in the army. Some of the stories he recalled actually would have branded him a clutz rather than a smart, practical, and honorable leader. Included below are a few of the stories he thought about as he made the long trip across the ocean to where he would be marked as a hero. Before Desmond was even born in 1919, his parents had purchased a framed picture of the Ten Commandments and the Lord’s Prayer in illustrated form. As a small child, he would drag his chair over to where the picture hung on the wall. He was so fascinated by the pictures, especially the one of Cain standing, with a club in his hand, over the dead body of his brother, Abel. He later commented that he was sure that it was this picture that made him determined never to harm another person. When he was school age, Desmond went to a small church school where the students were expected to help the teacher, Miss Ketterman, with the janitorial chores. When it was his turn to clean the erasers, he figured that he could just rub the erasers together to make it look like they had been cleaned. His teacher caught him and the statement she made to him helped the molding process that would make him a hero. She said, Desmond, anything that is not worth doing right to start with, is not worth doing at all. One time, during the depression, Desmond’s mother sent him next door to get a quart of milk. While walking across some cobblestones, he tripped and fell. He did not want to break the bottle so he tightly held on to it. It shattered. When his mother got to him, he was bleeding badly so she rushed him to the hospital. The doctor there stitched him up, but told them he would never have the use of his hand again. His mother, was a God-fearing woman, so they prayed. Then she told Desmond to work those fingers and she massaged them until they hurt, but, within days, Desmond was able to move his fingers. Desmond seemed to be accident prone. One evening, while playing with friends on a rock wall, he slipped and fell off. His leg hurt, but he didn’t want to upset his mother so he didn’t tell her. Two days later he couldn’t even get out of bed. He was again taken to the hospital where the doctor told them that it was so badly infected that he thought the only answer was to amputate it. Again they prayed and started putting hot packs on his leg. Within a few days, he was up and about again. He learned that you can never give up. Desmond also learned at a young age that you have to do things for yourself. His family had very little money so there was no possible way that he was going to get a bike. He and his friend went to the dump and scrounged enough bicycle parts that he was able to have a bike. He learned to make do with what he had, a trait that would help him while in Okinawa. After World War II broke out, Desmond was working in the shipyard, which was considered an essential industry to the military, so he had no worries of being drafted. On December 7, 1941 he and a friend who was in the service, were driving down a winding road to the base where the friend was stationed. He recalled going to sign up for the draft when he was 18. His minister had gone with him to establish his status as a non-combatant. The officer in charge told him there was no such thing, but that he could register as a conscientious objector. He said he wasn’t that because he would gladly serve his government, wear a uniform, salute the flag and help with the war effort. He just would not work on Saturday because he was a Seventh-day Adventist, and he would not carry a gun because he believed all killing was wrong. (He wouldn’t even eat meat – especially after seeing a chicken flopping around with its head cut off.) He would gladly help tend sick or hurt people on any day. He finally was convinced to take the 1AO classification so he could join the army without fear of court-martial. On April 1, 1942 he was inducted into the U.S. Army. He was 23 years old. He was headed for Ft. Jackson in South Carolina for basic training. From the beginning the men made fun of Desmond for his beliefs. Even though he worked long hard hours to make up for not working on Saturday, the men cursed, ridiculed and taunted him. Each night as he knelt beside his bunk to pray to his God, the men swore at him and threw their boots at him. When Desmond regularly read the small Bible his new wife had given him for a wedding present, the men cursed him. One man even went so far as to tell Doss that he would personally kill him when they got into combat. Not only did the men not like Desmond, but the Army didn’t know what to do with someone who would not work on Saturday, who wouldn’t carry a gun and who didn’t eat meat. They finally decided to give him a Section-8 discharge, but Doss wouldn’t agree to that because he said he really did want to serve his country, he just didn’t want to kill. He refused the discharge so the Army was stuck with him. Shortly after that, the men saw their first combat in Guam. It was here that Desmond began to prove his courage and care for his fellow soldiers. Next came combat at Leyte. Here Doss braved enemy gunfire to go to the wounded and remove them to safety. Some of his company looked on in horror as they saw a Japanese snipe take aim at Desmond as he helped a wounded soldier. They could do nothing to stop the sniper because other soldiers were in the line of fire. Miraculously, the sniper did not fire. (Years later a missionary in Japan told this story. After the service, a Japanese man told the missionary the sniper could have been him. He could remember having a soldier in his sites, but he couldn’t pull the trigger.) Desmond proved his courage over and over. Without regard for his own safety, he would help the wounded to safety. His fellow soldiers were used to him reading the Bible and praying by now, so it didn’t seem unusual when he suggested that they might want to pray before facing the 400 foot sheer cliff that split the island of Okinawa. On that April 29th morning in 1945, everyone felt that perhaps prayer was in order. This cliff was know as the Maeda Escarpment and was filled with caves, tunnels and enemy guns. It would be necessary to take this area. The men of Company B bowed their heads as Doss offered a prayer for safety. Then they began to struggle up the sheer cliff face along with Company A. Company A reached to top first and sustained heavy casualties. Company B was told they would have to take the cliff alone. By the end of the day, they did emerge victorious – and not a single life was lost and there were not even any wounded. When an inquiry was made the next day about how this could happen, there was only one explanation given and that was that Doss prayed! Doss proved himself to be a true hero each time there was a battle. However, on May 5th, he showed the true colors of a hero and earned his right to the Medal of Honor. Enemy fire began to assault Company B and almost immediately 75 men fell wounded. The remaining troops had to retreat to the base of the escarpment. The only soldiers still at the top of the cliff were the wounded, the Japanese, and Desmond T. Doss. Doss was determined to help his wounded comrades. Despite the sounds of battle, Doss began to lower man after man to safety by using little more than a tree stump and a rope. For five hours, Doss lowered soldiers down the face of the cliff. He said that he just kept praying that the Lord would let him rescue one more. No one knows for sure how many men Desmond lowered to safety. The Army determined that this medic that no one had wanted in the Army had personally saved 100 lives. Doss said it couldn’t have been more than 50. Because of Doss’s humble estimate, when the citation for his Medal of Honor was written, they split the difference and he was credited with saving 75 of his fellow soldiers. On May 21st, the Americans were under fire when Doss remained in the open to help a wounded soldier. He and three other soldiers had crawled into a hole to wait for the cover of darkness to escape when a grenade was thrown into their hole. The other three men jumped out to safety, but the grenade blew up just as Doss stepped on it. He did not lose his leg, but he sustained many wounds. He didn’t want to endanger anyone else, so he bandaged his own wounds and waited for five hours for daylight and help to arrive. He was being carried off the field when they passed another critically wounded soldier. Desmond rolled off the litter and told the medics to take the other man. He joined another wounded soldier and together they started to hobble off supporting each other. Desmond had his arm across the other man’s neck when he felt a bullet hit his arm. It lodged itself in Desmond’s upper arm, thus saving the other man’s life. These wounds would put Doss out of commission and send him home. When he was being treated, he discovered that the little Bible he always carried in his pocket was no longer there. After the fighting was over, Company B soldiers once again climbed the escarpment. This time they fanned out and searched until they found Desmond’s precious Bible. They had come to respect the man who had fought his way, without compromising his strong beliefs. On October 12, 1945, Desmond Doss was invited to the White House to receive the Medal of Honor from President Harry S. Truman. After the way that Desmond Doss served his country, his fellowman and his God, it is truly fitting that Desmond T. Doss, the only noncombatant in the United State’s history, should receive our nations highest honor, the Congressional Medal of Honor. Desmond Doss is truly an American Hero!

    Information for this paper was taken from:

    Desmond Doss In God’s Care,

    by Frances Doss ; copyright 1998

    The College Press, Collegedale , Tennessee

    Desmond T. Doss story

  4. eslkevin says:

    DESMOND T. DOSS

    Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Medical Detachment, 307th Infantry, 77th Infantry Division.
    Place and date: Near Urasoe Mura, Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands, 29 April-21 May 1945.
    Entered service at: Lynchburg, Virginia.
    Born: Lynchburg, Virginia.
    G.O. No.: 97, 1 November 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. Pfc. 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 8 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, 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 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 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.

    http://www.worldwariihistory.info/Medal-of-Honor/Okinawa.html

  5. eslkevin says:

    Gospel Nonviolence – 7: Non-combatant Military Service
    Desmond T. Doss, who died just over a year ago at age 87, is the best-known conscientious objector in Adventist history. Yet, he did not like the term, as he explained to the BBC in 2003:

    I was not the kind of conscientious objector that so many were in those times, who would not salute the flag, wear the uniform or cooperate with the army in any way. But my comrades classed me with them. I did not try to tell them different, because they would not have believed me.

    During the era of the world wars and the Cold War, American Adventist church leaders such as Carlyle B. Haynes, promoted the term “conscientious cooperator” to describe the church’s recommended course of action for members drafted by the military: loyal service in uniform without bearing arms; in other words, accepting a non-combatant role, usually that of a medic. Haynes desired “a well-defined separation drawn between ourselves and war resisters, pacifists, conscientious objectors to war, and all others who refuse service to their country” (“Conscription and Noncombatancy,” Review and Herald, 10 October 1940, pp. 17-18).

    While placing emphasis on “cooperation” with the nation’s military agenda may be problematic, nonviolence based on loyalty to God’s government still took priority. Doss embodied the combination of rigorous adherence to biblical principle and patriotic service to the nation that defined the noncombatant, conscientious cooperator position. And, he won it respect with his amazing heroism in saving lives under fire in the Pacific theater, for which he became, in 1945, the first conscientious objector to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

    The lead from Time magazine’s coverage of Doss’s reception of the medal in October 1945, entitled “God & the Other Fellow,” remains an apt thumbnail profile, and tribute.
    Like his Master, he was a carpenter. He was also a Seventh-Day Adventist, and a pacifist. Desmond T. doss, ofLynchburg, Va., refused to bear arms in World War II. He explained simply: “It is right there in the Ten Commandments. Thou shalt not kill.” But Doss did not object to serving as an Army Medical Corpsman. When he was sent overseas he asked for assignments on the front lines. He felt that God would not let him perish by the sword if he did not live by the sword, and he had a deep sense of duty to his fellowman.

    Doss was subjected to much ridicule for refusing to carry a weapon or to engage in routine duties on the Sabbath, so much so that he could have used his eccentricities as a ticket out of the army. “One of my majors tried to have me discharged from the army, saying I was mentally off,” he told the BBC in 2003. “I felt I would be a poor Christian if I would accept a discharge because of my religion.”

    In a battle two weeks after the one during which he dragged 75 wounded GIs to safety, Doss rescued his badly wounded company commander, Jack Glover. Later Glover reflected: “He saved my life. The man I tried to have kicked out of the Army ended up being the most courageous person I’ve ever known. How’s that for irony?”

    Links to:
    “Why I would not kill in war,” BBC News feature
    “God & the Other Fellow,” Time magazine (October 1945)
    The Conscientious Objector, award-winning documentary by Terry Benedict
    “Heroes for Peace,” National Peace Museum

    http://www.adventistpeace.org/templates/System/details.asp?id=39491&PID=465440

  6. eslkevin says:

    Conscientious objectors: Many Seventh-day Adventists have refused to enlist in the army as combatants. Instead, they participate as medics, ambulance drivers, etc.

    In 1864, during the Civil War, they declared their belief that the Bible was contrary to the spirit and practice of war. The fourth of the Ten Commandments required them to cease labor on Saturday. The sixth commandment prohibits the taking of life. In 1865, the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists stated:
    “… we are compelled to decline all participation in acts of war and bloodshed as being inconsistent with the duties enjoined upon us by our divine Master toward our enemies and toward all mankind.”

    However, during World War I, the Seventh-day Adventist church leaders in Germany abandoned the church’s historic position and stated:

    “In all that we have said we have shown that the Bible teaches, firstly, that taking part in the war is no transgression of the sixth commandment, likewise, that war service on the Sabbath is not a transgression of the fourth commandment.”

    They declared:

    “At the beginning of the war our organization was split into two parties. As ninety-eight percent of our membership, by searching the Bible, came to the conviction that they are duty-bound, by conscience, to defend the country with weapons, also on Saturdays, this position, unanimously endorsed by the leadership, was immediately announced to the War Ministry. Two percent, however, did not submit to this resolution, and therefore had to be disfellowshipped because of their unchristian conduct.”

    The disfellowshipped minority organized The Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement General Conference. They first operated from Isernhagen, Germany. They later moved to Basel, Switzerland and finally to the U.S. By 2006, the Reform Movement has reached 114 countries and territories. 4

    During World War II in Nazi Germany, many conscientious objectors were sent to concentration camps or mental institutions; some were executed along with Jews, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Roma, and others.

    Some Seventh-day Adventists volunteered for the US Army’s Operation Whitecoat. The Church preferred to call them “conscientious participants”, because they were willing to risk their lives as test subjects in potentially life-threatening research. Over 2,200 Seventh-day Adventists volunteered in experiments involving various infectious agents during the 1950’s through the 1970’s in Fort Detrick, MD. 5

    Desmond T. Doss Sr. was raised in the Seventh-day Adventist Church and became the first conscientious objector in history — and the only one serving in World War II — to receive the Medal of Honor. While an Army medic on Okinawa he saved the lives of more than 75 wounded soldiers at great personal peril. He carried each wounded soldier to the edge of a cliff and helped lower them by a rope to safety. His citation read:

    “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.” 6
    He died in 2006-MAR at the age of 87.

    References used:

    The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

    Walter Martin, “The Kingdom of the Cults”, Bethany House Pub, (1985), P. 409-500.
    “The Creation Seventh Day Adventist Church,” at: http://csda.us/
    “Creation Seventh Day Adventist Church,” Wikipedia, updated 2009-AUG-22, at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
    “Origin of the Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement, Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement General Conference, (2006), at: http://www.sdarm.org/
    Allen R. Steele, “Loud Let It Ring : Adventist World Radio: Twenty-Five Years of Miracles, Pacific Pr. Pub. Assn., (1996)
    Adam Bernstein, “Lauded Conscientious Objector Desmond T. Doss Sr.,” Washington Post, 2009-MAR-26, at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/

    Copyright © 1997 to 2009 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
    Latest update: 2009-NOV-10
    Author: B.A. Robinson

  7. eslkevin says:

    Memorial Day: Remember the Heroes

    If you’ve read much of my observations in this blog you’ll know I am a firm supporter of our military, regardless of my support for our Commander-in-Chief. But what you don’t know is that my family history until only two generations ago has been populated by conscientious objectors. Not the IDONTWANNADIESOIOBJECTTOKILLINGANYONE cowards but folks who are extremely religious and hold that Jesus told us to “turn the other cheek” therefore, I can do no violence toward another human being.

    (Stick around because there is an amazing hero story in a moment.)

    ARROGANCE vs. SACRIFICE

    In this Republic, we call the United States of America, our leaders serve at the whim of the electorate, yet they rarely understand this. They seize the power granted them, by often slim majorities, and arrogantly lord over us, often abusing that power as though they had a right to do so. Disrespecting those they serve and condescending to those who dare challenge their power.

    On the other hand, those who serve in the military, willing give up power, submitting themselves to the whim of political leadership. Leaders who often have no military experience, and in some cases even lack respect for, or worst despise them. Yet without question or hesitation, these amazing men and women charge into harm’s way, exchanging healthy bodies for mutilated ones and life for death.

    THANK YOU

    In my family political differences abound. However, love of country and respect for those who serve and have died in that service have been core family principles whether left or right, politically. With that I want to thank our military for the extreme danger they brave while defending those who support them as well as those who do not. Following orders unquestioningly and bleeding in obedience to leaders the rest of us question, doubt, and openly oppose. Their sacrifice preserves this sacred right.

    I realize it is Memorial Day not Veteran’s Day but when remembering the sacrifice of others one cannot help but to think of those laying it on the line today.

    In tribute to those who have sacrificed their lives for the cause of freedom I want to share one unlikely and unsung heroic story.

    AN UNLIKELY HERO: DESMOND T. DOSS

    In April 1942 a young man with deep religious convictions was drafted into the U.S. Army. He was a conscientious objector and thus generally despised by the soldiers. A Seventh Day Adventist, he refused to drill on Saturday, took the commandment against killing personally, and even went so far as to refuse to eat meat. Doss also refused to carry a gun and thus became a Medic in the 77th Infantry Division.

    An unarmed vegetarian, Doss was labelled a coward. Many in his company threatened him, one going so-far as to promise to kill him when they got into battle. Each night when he knelt beside his bed to pray, some of the men tauntingly threw things at him. Desmond undeterred in his convictions, felt no resentment toward these men. He understood that the men believed he was feigning religious objections to avoid the line of fire.

    However, Doss knew better. Engaged in action first at Guam, then in the Philipines, and eventually at Okinawa, Doss placed his life in peril to rescue his wounded brothers while in direct line of fire.

    OKINAWA

    Saturday May 5, 1945 the Japanese counter-attacked the 307th Infantry positioned atop a 400 foot escarpment they had taken the day before at Okinawa. Under heavily concentrated artillery, machine-gun, and mortar fire, 75 infantrymen were killed and the rest driven back. The wounded and dying littered the ground. Forsaking his Sabbath, Doss refused to seek shelter or retreat. He remained in the heat of the battle with the wounded.

    Doss slowly carried each man, one by one, to the escarpment and gently lowered them down its face to safety. He never wavered in his determination not to leave a single survivor on the battlefield. The Army later stated that Doss may have personally saved the lives of 100 men, Doss believed it was 50.

    OTHERS BEFORE SELF

    In the following weeks, the 307th saw action three more times. In each case Desmond Doss braved bullets, grenades, and mortar fire to dress wounds and get the wounded to safety. Finally on May 21st, a grenade tore through Desmond’s legs seriously wounding him. Insisting that no other medics come under fire, Doss tended his own wounds for five hours.

    Finally rescued and riding the litter toward safety, Doss spotted another wounded soldier and hopped off the litter, directing the other man take his place. Finding another wounded soldier, the two men embraced and began hobbling off the battlefield.

    The Japanese fell upon them again. Doss had his arm around the other man’s neck when a bullet shattered his upper arm. Doss’ injury saved the other man’s life by shielding his neck from the bullet’s deadly effect. Binding his arm to a rifle, Doss carried his first and only gun as the two men crawled the remaining 300 yards to safety.

    Bound for the hospital, Doss discovered the Bible he always carried was missing. When word of this reached his battalion, these men who once ridiculed Doss for his religious dogma, combed the battlefield until they found the mud-soaked prize and carefully returned it.

    THE MEDAL OF HONOR

    On October 12, 1945 Private Desmond T. Doss stood before President Harry S. Truman on the White House lawn. It was here that Doss made history, credited with saving 75 men at Okinawa, he became the first conscientious objector to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. A true hero without a weapon.

    I’m certain Desmond received an even greater reward on March 23, 2006. Desmond remained true to his values, true to his country, true to his fellow soldiers, and most importantly, true to his God. And this is why I’m celebrating his service and sacrifice. True he did not die in battle, but he gave his all. His wounds disabled him and his pain lasted a lifetime. Now he has passed into history and his story is one worth remembering.

    Thank you Desmond! And to those who have given their lives in battle for this nation, I thank you too!

    from: http://chroniclesofdelusion.net/2011/05/28/memorial-day-remember-the-heroes/

  8. eslkevin says:

    This past weekend my husband & I sat down to watch the documentary film “The Conscientious Objector.” It was so outstanding, we made my entire family watch it at a family gathering yesterday. Here is a little unknown part of American history for you.
    Desmond Doss was the FIRST Conscientious Objector in American History who has won America’s highest honor She can possibly bestow; the Congressional Medal of Honor (the other one to receive the Medal of Honor was Tom Bennett during Vietnam).

    When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Desmond Doss wanted to serve his country and his freedoms; there was only one slight problem. He did not want to kill because he did not believe in killing. He is a devout Seventh Day Adventist who took the Lord’s Commandment “Thou Shalt Not Kill” seriously. He refused to hold a gun. But he wanted to honor and save life so he joined specifically as a medic, but unlike other medics, he refused to carry a gun. You can imagine what type of abuse he experienced for his belief amongst his Army comrades. His Army Officers were absolutely outraged that Desmond refused to hold a gun and that Desmond would worship on Saturday no matter what. His Officers even tried to kick Desmond out because they felt he was a complete waste of their time and energy since he refused to carry a weapon. As one man said, “I don’t want you at my side if you don’t carry a damn gun!” Desmond prevailed and was allowed to stay in and serve as a Medic Without Arms.

    His Infantry unit was shipped out to the Pacific to fight the Japanese. Desmond soon became beloved by the same men who tried to kick him out because he would save their lives under the craziest, most dangerous circumstances War can possibly make. Under heavy fire and at night, the worst time to go out, Desmond would crawl around healing those wounded, even “the enemy.”

    When Doss prayed, Miracles happened. In one incident, his Company was sent in directly after another Company had been decimated in battle. Doss requested that they all pray, and when they did, not one of them was killed and they were successful in their objective. His Officers even asked if they won the right ridge because they couldn’t believe no one was even injured!

    THE incident, though, that earned him the Medal of Honor, was in a particular vicious battle in Okinawa where the Americans were routed. 50 Americans retreated, and the other 75 men were on top of a mountain injured and dying. Under heavy fire so thick it would cut canteens and men in half, Desmond Doss for the next 12 hours saved all 75 of his men. He carried every single one of them and lowered them 70 feet off the mountain. He was not injured at all. One Japanese soldier reported that every single time he tried to kill Doss his gun would jam. This man’s Faith was so strong, the Lord protected him.

    He is a beautiful human being and this movie is well worth your time and energy. There are many other stories his men tell, as they recount his heroic. One more story to close:

    Desmond was severely injured. As he was being carried off the field, he saw an injured unconscious soldier. Desmond rolled off his stretcher and commanded his men to carry off the other soldier. As Doss put his arm around the other soldier’s neck to give support, a bullet slammed into his arm, shattering it, but saving the other man’s life. In the mayhem, Desmond realized later, he had lost his lifeline–his little pocket Bible that had sustained him through all of his trials. When Company B learned he had lost his Bible, under heavy enemy fire, they searched and searched the ground until they found Desmond Doss’ Bible so that they could return it to him.

    This movie, 1 hour and 20 minutes, will inspire and challenge you. Imagine what can happen when we choose to obey God’s Commandments!

    from http://vox-nova.com/2008/05/19/a-war-hero-without-a-gun/

  9. eslkevin says:

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1263075/posts

    An Unsung Hero
    The American Enterprise Online ^ | Eric Cox
    Posted on Sun Oct 31 2004 02:58:30 GMT+0400 (Arabian Standard Time) by Valin

    The Conscientious Objector

    Released by D’Artagnan Entertainment

    Before the Vietnam era, Hollywood movies celebrated the heroism of America’s fighting men. Films like the Howard Hawks’s classic Sergeant York (1941) told Americans the compelling stories of real-life soldiers against the backdrop of their nation’s destiny. (Alvin C. York was a hero of World War I.)

    William Wyler’s The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) depicted the lives of several American G.I.s after they returned home. One of the characters in the film, Homer Parrish, a young man who lost his hands during the war and finds it difficult to adjust to his old life back home, was played by Harold Russell, who was not an actor but an actual soldier who had in fact lost his hands in the war.

    A marked change took place in the aftermath of the Vietnam War. Francis Ford Coppola intended Patton (1970) as a satire of the WWII general: one of the original titles was Patton: Lust for Glory. Oliver Stone’s Born on the Fourth of July (1989) is an anti-war update of The Best Years of Our Lives.

    But as Vietnam recedes into the history books, a return to positive depictions of U.S. soldiers and veterans has recently produced films such as Forrest Gump (1994), Saving Private Ryan (1998), and the HBO miniseries “Band of Brothers” (2001).

    The latest film in this revival of inspirational stories of true American heroes is The Conscientious Objector, a documentary that tells the remarkable true story of Desmond T. Doss, the only American soldier ever to be awarded the Medal of Honor despite refusing to carry a weapon.

    Desmond T. Doss may be the most amazing American hero of World War II you’ve never heard of.

    Doss, a devout Seventh Day Adventist, did not consider himself a conscientious objector but rather “a conscientious cooperator.” As the film relates, Doss’s entire life was shaped by an illustration of the Ten Commandments that hung on the wall of his childhood home. As a boy, he walked six miles to donate blood to an accident victim when he heard a call for donors announced on the radio. He held life to be a precious gift from God, and took very seriously the admonition “Thou shall not kill.” (On the illustration that hung on the wall, that commandment was represented by an image of Cain standing over the body of his slain brother Abel. In the film, Doss speaks of being horrified by the idea that anyone would kill his own brother.)

    When President Roosevelt declared war on Japan, Doss, who was offered a deferment, signed up for duty. He expected he would be allowed to serve as an Army medic–his goal was to save life rather than take it–but, as Doss says in the film, he quickly learned that the Army was rather uninterested in what he wanted to do.

    When Doss informed military officials that he refused to carry a weapon as a tenet of his faith, he was sent to a conscientious objector camp, which was populated mostly by people who either did not support their country or its objectives or who did not wish to risk their lives on the battlefield.

    Doss objected to being assigned to the camp. He did support his country and its objectives–“we were fighting for our religious liberty and our freedoms,” he says–and he wanted to serve on the frontlines, in harm’s way. He simply did not want to fire a weapon.

    The Conscientious Objector follows Doss’s incredible odyssey as a member of the 77th Infantry Division, from the ostracism he faced in his unit from fellow soldiers who thought Doss was a coward hiding behind his religion, to his courageous and truly miraculous efforts to rescue wounded soldiers during one of the bloodiest battles of the war.

    The film reunites Doss with surviving members of the division for the first time in 56 years. Together, the men revisit the bases, camps, and battlefields where they served side-by-side, evoking painful memories and astonishing stories of heroism in the face of certain death.

    Doss’s remarkable story became the focus of a “True Life Stories” comic book, which just happened to be read by the documentary’s writer-director, Terry Benedict, when he was a young man. Benedict has given his boyhood hero a moving tribute with The Conscientious Objector, one of the most incredible films I have ever seen.

    During the harrowing process of making the movie, Benedict says, his own life was changed.

    “You think you’re living the good Christian life, walking in faith, but when I started the project, I learned what it really meant to walk in faith,” Benedict has said. “[Desmond] is always at peace and I’ve learned how to be at peace when everything is breaking out around you. There was no way I couldn’t be affected [by Doss’ story] and not be a better person.”

    I was fortunate enough to screen the film at the Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis. Heartland is unique among film festivals, devoted to films that tell uplifting stories and affirm abiding values–films like Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan, “Band of Brothers,” and The Conscientious Objector.

    So far the film has not been picked up by a major distributor, but its official launch date is November 11. For more information on the film and to find out when it might be playing in a theater near you, visit the film’s website at http://www.desmonddoss.com./

    Eric Cox is a research fellow at the Sagamore Institute and a movie columnist for TAEmag.com.

  10. karla branen says:

    Any idea where I can find the poster of the Ten Commandments hung in Desmond Doss home.

    I’ve been looking for 3 years, no luck.

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