Honor those who have fallen for the freedoms we enjoy.
Today I have not posted a story of a KIA. I decided to post the story of Desmond T. Doss, an eccentric Army medic who was told by his C.O. and many from his company to stay away from them in battle since he wouldn’t carry a rifle or gun for religious reasons. This was after they tried to kick him out of the military for being “unstable” and an unfit soldier. Before the end of the battle of Okinawa he would save that same man’s life along with 75 others and he was the man they wanted to see alongside them.
One promised Doss, and not in jest, that when the soldiers faced the inevitable combat with the enemy, “I’ll kill you myself.” Doss didn’t doubt him. That first taste of combat came at Guam, where Doss began to prove his courage in going to any length to treat and care for his fellow soldiers. Then came Leyte.
Time after time at Leyte Doss braved enemy fire to go to the wounded, and to remove them to safety. Once he darted into the open to treat and rescue a wounded man even while the area was alive with sniper fire. From a distance his fellow soldiers watched in horror as a Japanese sniper leveled his rifle at the fearless medic. Because of the sniper’s position they could not return fire for fear of injuring some of their own. Doss treated the wounded man, evacuated him to the rear, and returned to his position. One of the sergeants told him, “Doss, we expected to see you killed any second. We couldn’t shoot the sniper without killing our own men, and he had his machine gun aimed right at you. Didn’t you see him?”
(Years later a missionary in Japan related the story of Doss’ brush with death that day. After the service a Japanese man in the back of the room told one of the deacons, “That could very well have been me. I was there, and I remember having a soldier in my gun site, but I couldn’t pull the trigger.”) Doss not only survived Leyte, for his repeated heroism he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal. So as Corporal Doss stood before the men of Company B at the base of the Maeda Escarpment on Okinawa, they were beginning to believe in the prayers of the medic whose only weapon was his Bible.
more on him below
I couldn’t find the documentary I saw free but here it is. It was a memorial day special on the pentagon channel.