Desmond Doss, US, War Hero
June 1. Desmond Doss. Doss was a United States Army corporal who served as a combat medic in World War II. In 1945, in Okinawa, where at least seventy-five fellow soldiers were wounded, Doss stayed—the only medic in a fire-swept area.
During training, he had learned a special double-bowline knot, and he used it during the battle to lower wounded soldiers from the ridge where they were fighting. His pledge was that no soldier would be left in enemy hands. Here’s the story.
In the heat of the battle, sometimes the best weapon is faith in action.
Hundreds of feet below, soldiers lay bleeding and dying. Above—at the edge of the 400-foot-high, jagged Okinawan cliff—Doss tied a rope around a strong tree stump. He worked to secure the knots until his hands bled. Corporal Doss signaled instructions and lowered another injured soldier into their arms of safety.
“Lord, help me get one more … just ONE more,” the young medic prayed between quick, shallow breaths. Ignoring the constant spray of gunfire and the rising smoke of exploding grenades all around him, Doss focused on the Soldiers Creed: “I will never leave a fallen comrade.”
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; he protects me from danger—whom shall I fear? When evil men come to destroy me, they will stumble and fall! Yes, though a mighty army marches against me, my heart shall know no fear! I am confident that God will save me” (Psalm 27:1–3 TLB).
He dedicated the hours ahead to this routine. While the horrific sights and smells of heavy combat continued, Doss relentlessly pressed on in his mission and saved as many lives as possible, without ever using any kind of conventional weapon.
The lone medic’s 150-pound frame was exhausted, his hands and uniform were covered in blood, and his mind was in shock at the magnitude of unthinkable atrocities he was taking in. Somehow, with each victorious drop of another wounded friend over the cliff, Desmond found his strength renewed.
“One more, Lord. Please help me get ONE more,” he breathed into the hell-on-earth surrounding him, and he tucked behind a rock formation to catch his breath. Suddenly, a grenade exploded nearby. Around him, the earth shook, and dirt and debris rained down on his head.
Doss grasped the Bible that was faithfully stowed in his shirt pocket. Astounded at how God had miraculously protected him, Doss stood, yanked his right boot out from where it had sunk into the deep Japanese mud, and set his sights on the next life to save.
As machine gun bullets fired past, the medic and another survivor carefully worked their way through the chaos until they arrived at the stump at the cliff’s edge. Desmond quickly secured the rope around the soldier. The wounded man stuck out his muddy hand, and the medic gripped it and shook heartily. Then Doss tightened his grip and gently pushed the wounded brother out over the edge. Grabbing the rope with both hands, Desmond slowly lowered the last soldier to safety.
Five months later, on October 12, 1945, President Harry S. Truman presented Corporal Desmond Thomas Doss with a Congressional Medal of Honor for the unprecedented heroism displayed during his service in World War II. His selfless acts saved the lives of at least seventy-five men that day and irrefutably shaped the outcome of numerous battles. During the ceremony, President Truman honored the humble Doss with the remarkable words: “I’m proud of you. You really deserve this. I consider this a greater honor than being President.”
What unconventional path might God be calling you to pursue in faith? In the heat of the battle, sometimes the best weapon is faith in action.
The Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation. “Desmond Doss.” Accessed May 8, 2020.
Leepson, Marc. “Desmond Thomas Doss (1919–2006).” Dictionary of Virginia Biography. Published 2015. Accessed May 8, 2020 https://www.lva.virginia.gov/?public/?dvb/?bio.asp?bDoss_Desmond_Thomas
Story read by: Chuck Stecker
Introduction read by: Daniel Carpenter
Audio production: Joel Carpenter
Story written by: John Mandeville, https://www.johnmandeville.com/
Editor: Teresa Crumpton https://authorspark.org
om manager: Blake Mattocks
© 2020, 365 Christian Men, LLC. All rights reserved.
365 Christian Men is a project built on some basic truths about God and His character. God cares deeply about each man, and He has a specific purpose for every man’s life. In fact, God wants to tell His stories through the lives of His men. These very short stories are about men who have fought their battles, are overcoming their obstacles, and are using the lessons they’ve learned to help others. Discover more about 365 Christian Men.
Feature Photo from Softrep