April 27, 2006 by

Desmond T. Doss


Categories: Military

Desmond T. Doss, Sr., a conscientious objector who won a Congressional Medal of Honor during World War II, died on March 23. Cause of death was not released. He was 87.
As a Seventh-day Adventist, Doss maintained a pacifistic view of the world. He refused to eat meat and abhorred killing of any kind. However, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941, Doss didn’t wait to get drafted. He enlisted in the U.S. Army as a conscientious objector.
The Lynchburg, Va., native was assigned to the 307th Infantry, 77th Infantry Division as a company medic. At first, the other soldiers ridiculed Doss for his unwillingness to work on Saturdays or fire arms at the enemy. They mocked his habit of constantly praying and threw shoes at his head for spouting words of faith and peace in the middle of a war. But Doss soon earned his unit’s respect by putting his own life at risk.
While serving a tour of duty in Okinawa, Doss single-handedly rescued 75 injured men over a 12-hour period. Under enemy fire, he carried his fellow countrymen one-by-one to the 400 ft. Maeda Escarpment and lowered them over the edge to safety on a rope-supported litter. For bravery under fire, Doss received the Congressional Medal of Honor from President Harry S. Truman on Oct. 12, 1945.
After World War II ended, Doss built a home in Rising Fawn, Ga. Much of his post-war years were spent suffering from health issues related to his time in the Pacific. Although he didn’t work, Doss still donated the $100/mo. stipend he received for being a Medal of Honor recipient to the Civilian Defense Rescue Service.
Doss’ life was chronicled in the 1998 biography, “Desmond Doss, In God’s Care,” which was written by his second wife Frances, and in the 2004 documentary, “The Conscientious Objector.” A statue of Doss also resides in the National Museum of Patriotism in Atlanta, alongside statues of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., President Jimmy Carter and retired Marine Corps General Gray Davis.
Approximately 500 people attended his funeral on April 3 at the Chattanooga National Cemetery. Doss was buried with full military honors, including a 21-gun salute and a military helicopter flyover.

26 Responses to Desmond T. Doss

  1. Allison.

    I have just finished watching part of Desmond’s story on the Hope Channel. Sabbath is just ending here in Australia. I wish He was still alive to tell him I love him..for how much he loved God and his fellow man. I would love to hug him tight and tell him that although people think Sabbathkeepers are nuts..crazy people etc…and unpatriotic..Desmond showed that all things are possible when you love God. He loved those men no matter what. He wanted to do as God asks but he wanted to do something for his country and its peoples. We need more people like Desmond..in fact we need a whole world of them. The whole key to being a Christian is Love…Desmond showed it all.
    Thank you Desmond for your service to God and to your country. Thank you for the lives you saved. Thank you for showing love and perseverance and not compromising your beliefs….I could go on..but thank you for everything. Your life has touched my heart greatly and I will share a little of your story to others.
    Thank you Father for this amazing child of yours..thank you for others that are unknown to us. Perhaps Desmond was an angel sent by you..I don’t know..I have no doubt that he will be there with you in heaven after Jesus returns..I sure would like to be there someday to to meet him. Thank you Father for your love that shone through him.

    • John

      I believe everything you said about Desmond Doss! However, I’ll add just one more thing! All people of faith who believe in the one and same God as he did – should be just like him! All faiths! Forget the doctrines – just Love God & follow (trust) him the same way he did! A lot easier said then done.

  2. Harlow Reynolds

    We here in Lynchburg,Va. are working to have a road named in Honor of Desmond Thomas Doss and its going to city council Sept 26. It looks good.He lived on the same street that I do here in Lynchburg,Va.
    Harlow Reynolds
    1980 Easley Ave

  3. Jill Harvey

    What an impact Desmond has had on my life. He is a true, life-like super hero. His TV documentary touched me so much that I had to write him a letter thanking him for his bravery and for his amazing courage to not apologize for his faith. I only hope I would do the same when faced with that challenge. I regret that I did not get to meet Desmond – I had secretly hoped that one day I would be able to shake his hand (or hug him) personally. There is absolutely no doubt where he is at this very moment and I pray he is watching over all of us and filling us with his great courage and faithfulness. I love you Desmond. Thank you for all you have done for me, my country and my God.

  4. Grace Lewis

    I watched Mr. Dosses documentary “The Conscientious Objector” and it touched me deeply. before that I had never heard of this man.But he has given all the faith in God that I could possibly hold in.He will always be remembered in my house as Mr. Faith. I nerve knew God would do so much if you just belive and ask for help. For example when he prayed over Company B for help and security God granted him this and they all came back with out a scratch while Company A whom he did not want his prayers came back almost completly wiped out. Thank You For opening my eyes.!

  5. Harlow Reynolds

    The road here in Lynchburg,Va. has been named in Honor of Desmond T. Doss.
    “PFC Desmond T. Doss Memorial Expressway”
    The signs look great.
    Harlow Reynolds
    1980 Easley Ave
    Lynchburg, Va.–24501

  6. Tifona Fiedler

    I watched The Conscientious Objector yesterday with a friend that had known Desmond Doss. I liked the video and I wish I could have seen Desmond Doss before he died! I know I will see him someday though. I would like to be like him and work, maybe not in the army, but at least as a missionary doctor to save lives.

  7. Jacqueline W. Mills

    I once again had the privilege of looking at Terry Benedict’s inspiring movie “The Conscientious Objector,” this morning (January 22). It reminded me of something that I had somehow forgotten: I met Desmond T. Doss in person when I was a 17 year freshman at Caribbean Union College in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, West Indies, back in 1966. A parade was given in his honor, by various campus youth groups, such as Pathfinders, etc. On this visit to the campus he also inspected an honor guard of the college Medical Cadet Corps. I recall that I was impressed by his unassuming, quiet demeanor. He responded to our many questions with a firm conviction that demonstrated the inner strength underlying his heroic actions in 1945. No inkling of pride manifested itself and his genuine warmth surprised me.

  8. Stephen

    I really look up to Doss as a role model, and really admire what he did in the middle of enemy fire, I had a chance to meet him at the Pathfinder event in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and to me it seemed like he was a really nice guy. I have read about him to find out as much as I can, and he is a really good role model.

  9. Dean M Huffman

    I watched a program on the Trinity Broadcast Network last night, May 26th, 2007. It is Memorial Day weekend here in the USA.
    I was so moved by Mr. Doss’ convictions and dedication to our Lord Jesus Christ that it truly moved me beyond words.
    I had never heard of Mr. Doss prior to last night but after searching the internet…well…he was quite a man.
    Thank you, Mr. Doss, not only for what you did to save lives but what you did to not take lives. I know the Good Lord has given you one of the nicest rooms in His mansion. God bless you and your family.
    Dean M. Huffman

  10. CR, Allentown, PA

    It is sad that good things people do only come to light after they are gone; so little, so late. Meanwhile bad news is spoon fed daily. I only heard of this man on TBN a few days ago and hoped he was still alive so I could thank him and TELL him how much I honor him. We have an awesome God and when you add an awesome man to the partnership, great things are done. God bless & rest in peace, Mr. Doss. You have encouraged this soul greatly.

  11. Antonio Anes

    I just finished watching the movie of DESMOND DOSS on TBN and I do not know him , but I thank GOD for the this soldier for what he had done. I, too, was on Okinawa as a rifleman with the the 77th Division, 305th Infantry Regiment. I have been awarded the Purple Heart Medal. This movie reminded me of what we went through.

  12. Gilbert Estiller

    I first come to know about Mr.Doss when I was a little boy in the Philippines, My father a Navy war veteran would often mention the incredile faith Desmond T. Doss have in God. Then when I was in high school in the mid-70,s that I read a book about him. God is good.

  13. Mikey Fuller

    Wow! I knew nothing about him, other than some old family photos and stories from my now-deceased great-grandmother. He was her brother. She never said too much about him.

  14. Tifona Fiedler

    I watched a movie recently,
    ‘Twas one of Desmond Doss
    It told how he would not bear arms
    Refused to obey his boss.
    The Army is no place for men
    Who want to serve their God
    With time to pray and time to think —
    The others think them odd.
    But listen when I tell you that
    No matter what the cost
    Our Desmond prayed and thought of God
    And then less lives were lost.
    The sergeants made it hard for him
    The captains got so mad
    That when they came to speak with him
    Their faces got too red!
    But Desmond kept on going;
    He said, “I cannot kill,
    For no matter what you do or say,
    It just sure ain’t God’s will!”
    And if it wasn’t Jesus’ will
    Then be assured, you see,
    That Desmond wouldn’t cross the line
    Nor compromise for me.
    But when he got to old Japan
    The bullets flew like flies
    And then ’twas up to Desmond Doss
    To save his men; no lies.
    He helped the men, no matter what
    And risked his neck all day;
    The captains who had yelled at him
    In Desmond’s mercy lay.
    But never fear! for Doss was kind
    He couldn’t bear to see a man
    Get killed, or hurt, but when they were
    Then Doss just fairly ran
    To see if they were hurt or not
    He helped them quite a lot.
    And when the boys came marching home
    From war in old Japan
    They stood in honor of their medic
    And their hero of a man.

  15. travon

    He was a true heroe and a man of conviction and honor. His story which i saw for the first time yesterday has really inspired me.
    Whenever i am going through something tough i seek the guidance of god. I also remind myself of what i am going through is nothing compared to desmond. If this man could maintain his faith in a matter of life or death, then i could maintain my faith and self-esteem during my times as well.

  16. justin mc.

    What a impact that desmon doss had on my whole life!!. Just hearing the things that he did for his friends although he had very few in the army. He loved everybody just as Jesus christ said to do ,and I wish that i could huge him and thank him for the all the love that he has shone to people. Desmon was a true man of God

  17. Tifona Fiedler

    That poem just came to me a while back and I thought you guys would enjoy it. You know, sometimes I just think of poems, and I thought of this one.
    I watched Desmond Doss’s movie and I read “The Unlikeliest Hero” too, if any of you have read that.

  18. Ann

    I had never heard of Desmond T. Doss until today, July 4th, 2008. I was flipping channels and caught a documentary on TBN about him. How fitting that it is on the 4th of July I saw this movie. He was truly a hero, but most of all a man who did not compromise his belief and faith.

  19. Frances rivera

    I had the priviledge to sit next to Desmond when we went to the Discover the Power camporee. I heard of him when I bought his book (the consciencious objector) when we were stationed in Virginia. I always looked at him as my hero. Indeed he was. As a military family we were proud to sit by him and prayed for his family often. We saw him again at Wewoka Woods in Oklahoma but did not take a pic. He was suffering from bladder cancer and was quite weak. Still he talked to all that would talk to him and was nothing but polite and kind. We have been blessed to have a hero like Des in our lifetime.

  20. Jackie Phillips

    I just finished watching The Conscientious Objector and was greatly moved by it! It made me think afresh and anew about the GREAT price our service men have paid and are now paying to keep America free! Desmond Doss is a hero not only for what he did in saving many lives, but also for his non-wavering faith in God! Oh, that the leaders of our country and military would get a conviction and faith such as Desomonds, and treat it as sacred and as precious as he did!!!

  21. Eric Christensen

    I knew Desmond personally for several years before he died. He was truly a nice and very approachable guy with a good sense of humor. He never missed an opportunity to share his faith or help out in any way he could even when his health was not holding up so well. He never considered himself to be a hero.

  22. Pamela Wright

    What a beautiful post. On behalf of the Pifer family and the Russell Wright, Jr. family we thank you for such a nice post about a man we will see in Heaven. Praise the Lord that we all continue to grow in Japan and the World.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *