I have, yet, another hero, thanks to the research and this most excellent submission from the redoubtable Nick Milne.
I’ve cut and then ably pasted (it’s the best I can do at the moment as I bow to Nick’s epically measured writing style) a piece of his most recent posts:
“- Following in the footsteps of something I mentioned earlier this month, it was on this day in 1944 that yet another remarkable young man was awarded the Medal of Honor. Whereas Alvin York basically had to destroy an entire German army single-handedly to win the same medal, for Private First Class Desmond Doss (1919-2006), of the medical corps, it was a matter of saving lives rather than taking them. PFC Doss was the first-ever conscientious objector to be awarded the United States’ highest military honor, and the manner in which he earned it is breathtaking. The citation for bravery reads like the stuff of some pious legend, but it is all well-attested, and although he refused to carry or fire a weapon, owing to his Seventh-Day Adventist background, there was nothing to stop Desmond Doss from being a complete badass in a basically peaceful sense. His unit (in Okinawa) was cut to pieces by machine gun fire, with seventy-five men going down; Doss carried every survivor to a nearby escarpment, still under fire himself, and lowered them to safety. A fellow soldier was wounded, falling some 200 yards beyond American lines; Doss went out and got him, again under heavy fire. He rescued injured marines from the very edges of Japanese ramparts, caves and machine gun installations, stolidly going back for man after man no matter what his frustrated enemies hurled at him. He was injured by a grenade, once, so he sat there for five hours treating his own wounds until the stretcher-bearers were no longer busy with other tasks. Even as they were carrying him back he found an opportunity to distinguish himself; the stretcher team and its escort came under attack, and Doss rolled off the litter to allow it to be used to bear another man who had been injured. He was then shot in the arm, and separated from his rescuers, so he improvised a splint out of a rifle stock and crawled through the jungle to the American lines. He kept doing stuff like this all the time. Nobody could stop him. No one would dare.”
My favorite part:
“The citation for bravery reads like the stuff of some pious legend, but it is all well-attested, and although he refused to carry or fire a weapon, owing to his Seventh-Day Adventist background, there was nothing to stop Desmond Doss from being a complete badass in a basically peaceful sense.”
By the way… There are several videos you can pull off Youtube.com and view for perspective. You should do so. Do it! But, none of them, try as they might, inspire the images of PFC Doss as ably as those divined by Mr. Milne.
Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.
Brian Patrick Cork