Thursday, March 23, 2006



He was the only conscientious objector to win the Congressional Medal of Honor during World War II. He died Thursday at age 87.

The Chattanoogan tells it this way:
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.

When Mr. Doss received the Medal of Honor from President Truman, the President told him, “I’m proud of you, you really deserve this. I consider this a greater honor than being President.”
Here's a photo from that moment with Truman. Click here to read his MoH citation. "Outsanding gallantry," indeed.


Anonymous said...

Although I have met a couple of MOH winners last summer at the Branson Vietnam Vets thingy was the first time I had ever actually seen one being worn. (BTW - the MOH just means you did something important while someone important was around to see it -- a lot more deserve it than get it)

His story is: he was a Navy Corpsman with a marine unit. He was treating a marine during a fight and a NVA grenade landed next to him. He jumped on it. Should be end of story. No vet to attend the fun joys of Branson, right? It didn't go off. So he rolled over picked it up and threw it away.

I went off.

You can see a pretty bad photo here:

Anonymous said...

He Served Both Christ And Country

And in the course of that service performed deeds of heroism so compelling that Desmond Doss was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Not bad for a pacifist who refused to carry a weapon out of a profound respect for the word of God and human life.

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.