October 12, 1945: Desmond Doss, pacifist superhero, receives the Medal of Honor
Desmond Doss was a unique kind of badass. Not only did he save lives in the Pacific during World War II, he received the Medal of Honor for doing it. If that’s not badass enough, he did it without killing a single man.
He’d share his tofurkey
Doss was born 1919 in Lynchburg, Virginia. Growing up, his mother instilled in him the core beliefs of her faith as a Seventh Day Adventist. This meant putting the kibosh on work on Saturdays, the Sabbath. In addition to abstaining from everything religions disapprove of, it also meant ix-nay on the eat-may. However, his upbringing did make him into a man with an unwavering dedication to aiding his fellow man.
When war broke out in 1941, Doss signed up for service with one little hitch. Doss was a conscientious objector, meaning that he opposed war in any form.
Don’t pick on the guy holding your guts in
Doss became a medic, a role that allowed him to save lives. His fellow soldiers took him to be a total buzzkill. They were jerks about the fact that he refused to carry a gun.
It didn’t matter to Doss. When the 77th Infantry was deployed in the Pacific, Doss would risk his life over and over again to treat and retrieve wounded men from the field. His actions were the stuff of legend.
When you won’t even take a knife to a gun fight
The worst of it happened during the Battle of Okinawa in May of 1945. The fighting was brutal and bloody beyond belief. Doss’s unit faced a 4040-foot cliff on top of a massive slope. Over the course of that day, Doss rescued 75 wounded soldiers, which included having to lower them down that cliff.
Doss’s actions that day led President Truman to award him the Medal of Honor on October 12, 1945. If ever there were a pacifist superhero, it was Desmond Doss.