Hacksaw Ridge: Mel Gibson pays tribute to Desmond Doss, Hero without a Gun

Editors choice

The Conscientious Objector never fired a weapon.  He had just one personal mission — to save lives, no matter whom, and at ALL COST.

The President of the United States of America, Harry Truman, presenting the Congressional Medal of Honor to Private First Class Desmond Thomas Doss, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action above and beyond the call of duty from April 29 – 21 May 1945Hacksaw Ridge Desmond Doss

Desmond Doss was a true hero.  He was a man of deep conviction, a Seventh-day Adventist who would never kill or hurt another under any circumstances.  He wanted to serve his country but refused to carry a weapon.

What makes this story remarkable is that under heavy, direct Japanese fire he saved 75 ( yes, 75) of our wounded soldiers by lowering them over a cliff one by one. He did this alone, with no other soldiers able to get close enough to help him.

Mel Gibson heard about this incredible hero and claimed he would make a “five-star flick” about Doss.”

The Hollywood Reporter states that Gibson, “Was drawn back to directing by the “remarkable” true story of conscientious objector Desmond T. Doss who, in Okinawa during the bloodiest battle of WWII, saved 75 men without firing a gun.

The story of the “army medic who wouldn’t touch a weapon but yet who wanted to be part of saving lives in the worst place on earth,” was “inspirational” Gibson said.

“To walk into the worst place on earth and not have a weapon and walk amongst it and do his job as a Corps medic and save so many lives, it’s remarkable,” he said.

Gibson said Doss was a very humble man, who “didn’t like to make a song and dance” about his achievements, and gave the rights to his life story to his church, which sold them after he passed away. He was awarded the Medal Of Honor, the only conscientious objector to do so. He also received two Bronze Stars and three Purple Hearts.


‘The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, presented the Medal of Honor to Private First Class Desmond Thomas Doss, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action above and beyond the call of duty from April 29 – 21 May 1945, while serving with the Medical Detachment, 307th Infantry Regiment, 77th Infantry Division, in action at Urasoe Mura, Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands.

Private First Class Doss 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 machine gun 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 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 eight yards 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 from the enemy position, rendered aid, and carried him 100 yards 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 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. “



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