Rachel on the Road: War Hero Desmond Doss

PIEDMONT, Ala. (WIAT) — Desomd Doss became ‘The Unlikeliest Hero’ and ‘The Conscientious Objector’ after saving a recorded 75 of his soldiers lives in World War Two, without ever carrying a weapon.

Doss was a Seventh-day Adventist. The 6th commandment of that faith says, “thy shall not kill.” After many rocky childhood experiences and being so steadfast in what he believed, Doss refused to carry, touch, or use a weapon, even at war.

After begging officials to let him serve as a medic in the US Army, they approved the role. Doss served in WWII in the Battle of Okinawa. That’s where he saved at least 75 lives.

“They were my buddies, some of them with families,” Doss said. “They trusted me. I didn’t feel like I should value my life above nobodies, and so I decided to stay with them and take care of as many of them as I could. I didn’t know how I was going to do it.”

His stepson, Mike Duman, told me Doss credit’s God for really being the one who saved all lives that day. 

“I just kept praying, Lord, please help me get one more, one more until there was none left and I was the last one down,” Doss added. “When I should’ve been killed a number of times, I know who I owe my life to. That’s why I like to tell this story because I know from a human’s standpoint I should not be here.”

His family and friends were not surprised to hear about his heroic actions because they say that’s who Doss has always been.

“He was just very tenacious, and when it came to his faith and what he believed,” Duman said. “It was no accident or surprise that he just got in there and went to work when the time came.”

His commanding officer at the Disabled American Veterans in Piedmont said knowing him was an honor. 

“What type of person he was we need a lot more of in this country,” Rick Freeman said.

Doss’ story is told in the movie Hacksaw Ridge directed by Mel Gibson. Other authentic pictures and monuments to honor Doss are displayed in Piedmont where Doss spent the last years of his life. He was a member of Piedmont Seventh-day Adventist Church and the DAV in Piedmont.

It was my honor learning about and helping share the life of war hero Desmond Doss.

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