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Friday, February 5, 2010

Desmond T. Doss, the conscientious objector

Desmond T.Doss

The conscientious objector

Desmond T. Doss, great man, great Christian, possibly the greatest war hero ever. But the thing about him was: he never used, or touched a gun in his life. Well except for one time . . . when he was a child.

One time Desmond’s uncle was over for a visit. But Desmond’s dad and uncle got very drunk, and then they got in a big fight with each other (the sad thing was: no one knew what the fight was about). After a lot of fighting Desmond’s dad pulled out a gun and was ready to shoot Desmond’s uncle.

But suddenly Desmond’s mom jumped in-between them and took the gun and said to Desmond: “Go hide this so your father won’t get in trouble!”

Then Desmond was off, with the gun in his hand. Then he buried it then came running back, but it was too late the cops had put hand cuffs on Desmond’s dad threw him in the truck then drove away; taking Desmond’s dad to jail. For then on Desmond swore he would never touch or use a gun again.

When Desmond voluntarily joined the Army in April 1942 he got shipped to Boot camp where he underwent serious training and criticism. People were making fun of him because he was praying at his bed, and they were saying other mean things to him too.

At one point he asked for Saturday off because he was a Seven-day Adventist. Though he did get a lot of heat, they did give him Saturday off. But when it Sunday they gave Desmond all the nastiest jobs.

Then he got shipped to another Boot camp in the desert. Where a lot of people ran off and were never seen again, and that meant they probably died. Then they got news that the entire 77th division (that what was the division Desmond was in) was shipping to an island near Japan called Okinawa. Then Desmond got news that his brother was joining the Navy, and this would be the last chance to see his brother that he hadn’t seen in many years for a couple years. So he went to get his papers so he could go see his brother for a week then come back. But when he got there he ran into Captain Cunningham (who he had met before in the Boot camp in the desert). Another thing that happened was: while Desmond was tying a rope, he made a little discovery that was an accident; but is still being used to this day: a double knot rope.

There was little dialog between them but here basically what happened: “Hello.” Desmond said to Cunningham.

“I’m going to drop this gun on the floor and you better pick it up!”Cunningham said to Desmond. Then he dropped it on the floor but Desmond didn’t pick it up.

“I SAID I’M GOING TO DROP THIS GUN ON THE FLOOR AND YOU BETTER PICK IT UP!” So he dropped it on the floor again but Desmond still didn’t pick it up.

“I SAID –“

“Sir it says on his papers he’s a conscientious objector. His belief doesn’t allow him to use, or even touch a gun,” said a man you just stepped in the room.

“I DON’T CARE ABOUT HIS BELIEFS!” Then Cunningham picked up Desmond’s paper then tor them into pieces. And Desmond knew that he wouldn’t be seeing his brother for a long time. . .

Much later on Captain Cunningham sent one man to go check out a top of a hill, but he didn’t return. So he sent another one up, but they didn’t return. So he sent another man up, but they didn’t return either. So finally he sent Desmond and two other men up to go see what was happening. Turns out there were a lot of injured men up there. . . Desmond looked at it and thought: “I could put both of these around each of them for more safety and it make it easier to lower them down!” So Desmond put both of the knots around then lowered him down ,then another, then another, and so on. Finally after about 12 hours he got all of them down. The reason he got all of them down is because he knew the Japanese would torture any injured solider(s). One Japanese man reported that they saw Desmond and tried to shoot him but every time the trigger got jammed! In all he saved seventy-five men that day.

One time he was in his fox hole with the rest of his men, he saw a grenade heading straight for them! So he grabbed it jumped out of the hole but the grenade blew up, and did serious damaged his legs. He didn’t call for any help though, he just waited for the litter bearers to reach him and take him to cover. But when Desmond saw another injured man so he crawled off the litter and over to that man and directed the bearers to give attention to him. But then Desmond was hit a sniper bullet while being carried off the field by a comrade. Then he crawled the rest of the way to the aid stations.

The saddest thing for him was not that he got hurt but that he lost his Bible that day. But the word got out that he lost it, so all the 77th division went back to the battle ground and there they found Desmond’s bible. Then they immediately sent it back to Desmond which made Desmond very happy.

A few days later Desmond got word that he was being sent back home, but there was an award ceremony being held for him and a few other men.

So when he got to the ceremony President Truman gave him the Metal of Honor, and Truman said to Desmond: “This is a greater honor then being president!”

For you who want to know what he looked like at that time, he looked like this:


  1. WOW, I had never heard of this man before. Thanks for posting this, Sam!

  2. There is a documentary about him called: The conscientious objector

  3. Very nice summary, Samuel. Another inspiring charactor is Victor Frankl. Man's Search for Meaning is one of the most inspiring books I have ever read. You cannot read it without deciding what you believe. Good job. Keep on reading. Keep on being inspired by others.