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Medal of Honor – Doss



there was August 7th 1945 when radiogram was handed to me by my signal officer I stopped thinking about the atomic bomb which had wiped out here was seen in the previous morning Richard bong was dead his jet engine had flamed out right after takeoff pong had taken to his parachute but there was not enough altitude for it to function the body of America's ace of aces was flown back home escorted by 18 fighters to commit his last wife this is your life and now here he is mister this is your life himself Ralph Edward Desmond T dose of rising fawn Georgia World War two Congressional Medal of Honor winner whose only weapons were his conscience and deep inner convictions tonight this is your life Desmond das is a seventh-day adventists he believes in certain things and that's that one of these is thou shalt not kill my mother had a large picture on the living room wall of Lord's Prayer in the Ten Commandments one picture showed Cain having killed his brother Abel I always wondered how he could have done such a thing my godly mother always had daily worship and I think the first place we all went after my birth was to church and we were all still going both of our parents were poor hard-working country folk my father was a carpenter my mother retired after 30 years at the Craddock and Terry shoe company that's in Lynchburg Virginia where I was born when I got drafting the army I was working at a shipyard which would have gotten me a deferment but I wanted to serve some people were gets war entirely that's it a conscientious objector I wanted to serve but my beliefs wouldn't allow me to fight I wanted to be known as a noncombatant but I got classified as a conscientious objector I had my troubles from the start that first night in the army I knelt beside my bunk to pray and the other guys will use some very sacrilegious statements when I was on my knees they call me holy jesus some even to boots hittin I was frightened I didn't know what to do but I had no prayers to say so I said him that was just the beginning a lot of guys made fun of me when I refused to fire or even touch a rifle or a pistol or even a bayonet he caused a lot of problems twice officers said they were going to discharge me cuz I wouldn't fight I wasn't refusing to go into combat I just wasn't going to kill anymore das joined my outfit in April of 43 when I found out that he wouldn't carry a weapon well he felt that I didn't want him in my company I told him this is war and it's either kill or be killed I want someone in my side I can depend on some little carry a weapon and can use it so I tried my damnedest to get him transferred out through battalion command regiment even division and they told me I was stuck with him our first action was on Guam I was told to stay back and wait for someone to call for a medic but I knew men felt better if there was a medic close by there were many times we were under heavy fire and Doss continuously went out and treated the injured and brought them back after that we all looked at da sticker from Guam we went to lay to you on the third day wild ministry first aid to a man it did my heart good as I watched the blood from his eyes to see a smile through the pain and to hear the words I can see I knew the Lord was with me then as always we landed on the island of Okinawa there were some pretty rough terrain we get ready to attack up this discarnate which was 400 feet high when i told the lieutenant i believe prayer was the greatest life-saving and i thought we should pray first he called the platoon to attention dass wants to pray for us this is the one I had in mind I thought each man should pray for himself but I gave a prayer for everyone the escarpment ain't had a plateau and we had to climb cargo nets up a sheer cliff just to get to the top of it the second day on this plateau the Japanese hit us with a big counter-attack there was dead and wounded everywhere I started pulling the wounded back to the edge of the cliff I lowered one on a rope and then I wouldn't got another we got kicked off the plateau and withdrew leaving our wounded up on top das was the only one up there moving I kept carrying the wounded to the edge of the escarpment lawn there Monroes they tried to credit me was saving a hundred of our men I said it was impossible I don't know I didn't know how many all I knew was that I was busy the official record states that das save 75 men that day and he wasn't done yet he continued to save wives day and night he was absolutely fearless unbelievable we got hit by artillery I was wounded along with four others das crawled to me and treated my lungs bandaged my knee and dragged me to safety the man I tried to have kicked out of the army ended up being the most courageous person I've ever known it saved my life one night we moved up for a surprise attack we've moved a long distance and that was in a shell hole with three other men I saw this Japanese – a grenade the other three men got out of the hole in time it went off I was hit shrapnel in my legs buttocks and my feet I tried to call up the hill but I kept passing out while I was lying there waiting I saw a close friend who's wounded and walking back to the aid station I decided to try walking back with his help he started out suddenly a sniper's bullet hitting him armed he crawled into a shell home found a rifle stock – the shattered arm to form a splint crawl to the aim station my way back to the hospital ship mercy I realized I'd lost my little pocket Bible my wife had given me new Meriden which I made daily use of until I was wounded I asked the ambulance driver please get worried back to my men to try and find my Bible when the word got out everybody was looking for it dass want his Bible back he was gonna get it so it got found my sergeant dried it out and returned it to me hospitalized you're brought back to the United States on October 12th 1945 for your deeds on the escarpment and elsewhere on Okinawa President Truman decorates you Desmond tea dose with a Congressional Medal of Honor I thought I'd be nervous when my time came but President Truman put me at perfect ease when he quickly stepped forward we had no more than exchange to loose when he took my hand and gave it a hearty shake like I was his best friend he said you really deserve this there's a tablet in bronze on Okinawa Desmond dose a monument to your heroic deeds on the mida escarpment there's a symbolic monument to you in the name of the camp of your denomination in Michigan where young men who trained for medical service are there camp Desmond T Doss and there's a living monument to you in your son born on September 15th 1946 and here from rising fawn Georgia are your wife Dorothy and 12 year-old Tommy come on out here Tommy and darker years Oh two years we've been married and I was definitely having a half years so she was sure she said there's no major parties talking I was his hearing ear dogs I had to write everything that I ever said to him or anybody else said to him and that's how I did for 12 and a half years but now that he's got the cochlear implant it's wonderful because now I can talk to it it's wonderful and the reason I married him because he I could trust Desmond he was a good Christian and I figured he would help me go to heaven that's what I told my mother I said up if I marry him he'll be a person that'll help me get ready to go to heaven he appreciated me because I've never kissed any other men he was the first one I ever kissed you know something very interesting happened in 1969 when he went with the Freedom Foundation to Vietnam on a goodwill tour and then he flew over to Okinawa and he went up on top a doctor took him up on the escarpment and he saw a lot of Japanese tourists and he said I sure was glad I could tell him I didn't kill any other it makes you feel very small to think that these men recommend me for the men Don because the real heroes are still over there and to think that my men thought my children they want to recommend recommend for my nation highest award makes you feel very humble I don't consider myself a hero and I'll tell you reason why it's love my server serves the love we've brought together as a close team they had confidence in me my confidence them we work together and when they work there I knew that allows depend on me I just couldn't give them up into other classes grade I might be killed but I wouldn't have myself think of being killed my thought was if I could just say one more manly people earth get wounded over and that's amazing thing about because it's automated possible to do these things and never get bored when ISOs women yes but from human standpoint I should've been killed I'm still being here to tell the story one of our presidents upon presenting the Medal of Honor said war is a terrible thing wasting the young before they have a chance to reach their full potential but there are moments terrible in their danger and devastation that can also bring out unimaginable courage and leadership that cannot be fully described but once seen and felt can never be forgotten as a people we need heroes real heroes who when tested excel and in doing so inspire others to reach for greatness within themselves we need heroes not just for the victories that they make possible in the battlefields but in later days to remind us of what America at its best can be now and in the future

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