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First Name: Desmond

Last Name: Doss

Birthplace: Lynchburg, VA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Lynchburg, VA
Middle Name: Thomas

Date of Birth: 07 February 1919

Date of Death: 23 March 2006

Rank: Corporal

Years Served: 1942-1946
Desmond Thomas Doss

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Desmond T. Doss
Corporal, U.S. Army
Medal of Honor Recipient
World War II

Corporal Desmond T. Doss (7 February 1919 - 23 March 2006) was the first conscientious objector (he detested that phrase, preferring "conscientious cooperator") to receive the Medal of Honor and one of only three so honored. (The others are Thomas W. Bennett and Joseph G. LaPointe, Jr.)

Desmond T. Doss was born on 7 February 1919 in Lynchburg, VA. He also entered the U.S. Army from Lynchburg. Because of his personal beliefs as a Seventh-day Adventist, Doss refused to learn to shoot a rifle or carry a weapon into combat. He became a medic and his service in the Pacific Theatre of World War II helped save the lives of his comrades, while still adhering to his religious convictions.

He was a Corporal (Private First Class at the time of his Medal of Honor heroics) in the U.S. Army assigned to the Medical Detachment, 307th Infantry, 77th Infantry Division.

Medals, Awards and Badges

Medal of Honor
Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device and Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Purple Heart with 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
Army Good Conduct Medal
American Campaign Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with Arrowhead Pin and 3 Bronze Stars
World War II Victory Medal
Philippine Liberation Medal with Bronze Star
Presidential Unit Citation
Army Meritorious Unit Commendation
Combat Medical Badge

Medal of Honor Citation

He was a company aid man when the 1st Battalion assaulted a jagged escarpment 400 feet high. As our troops gained the summit, a heavy concentration of artillery, mortar and machinegun fire crashed into them, inflicting approximately 75 casualties and driving the others back. Pfc. Doss refused to seek cover and remained in the fire-swept area with the many stricken, carrying them 1 by 1 to the edge of the escarpment and there lowering them on a rope-supported litter down the face of a cliff to friendly hands. On 2 May, he exposed himself to heavy rifle and mortar fire in rescuing a wounded man 200 yards forward of the lines on the same escarpment; and 2 days later he treated 4 men who had been cut down while assaulting a strongly defended cave, advancing through a shower of grenades to within 8 yards of enemy forces in a cave's mouth, where he dressed his comrades' wounds before making 4 separate trips under fire to evacuate them to safety. On 5 May, he unhesitatingly braved enemy shelling and small arms fire to assist an artillery officer. He applied bandages, moved his patient to a spot that offered protection from small arms fire and, while artillery and mortar shells fell close by, painstakingly administered plasma. Later that day, when an American was severely wounded by fire from a cave, Pfc. Doss crawled to him where he had fallen 25 feet from the enemy position, rendered aid, and carried him 100 yards to safety while continually exposed to enemy fire. On 21 May, in a night attack on high ground near Shuri, he remained in exposed territory while the rest of his company took cover, fearlessly risking the chance that he would be mistaken for an infiltrating Japanese and giving aid to the injured until he was himself seriously wounded in the legs by the explosion of a grenade. Rather than call another aid man from cover, he cared for his own injuries and waited 5 hours before litter bearers reached him and started carrying him to cover. The trio was caught in an enemy tank attack and Pfc. Doss, seeing a more critically wounded man nearby, crawled off the litter; and directed the bearers to give their first attention to the other man. Awaiting the litter bearers' return, he was again struck, this time suffering a compound fracture of 1 arm. With magnificent fortitude he bound a rifle stock to his shattered arm as a splint and then crawled 300 yards over rough terrain to the aid station. Through his outstanding bravery and unflinching determination in the face of desperately dangerous conditions Pfc. Doss saved the lives of many soldiers. His name became a symbol throughout the 77th Infantry Division for outstanding gallantry far above and beyond the call of duty.

Corporal Desmond T. Doss received his Medal of Honor from President Harry S. Truman on 11 November 1945.


• He was a resident of Lynchburg, VA, for which a portion of US Route 501 near Peaks View Park is named in his honor. Local veterans of the area still honor this hero by decorating the signs marking this portion of road several times during the year, particularly around patriotic holidays and especially, Memorial Day.
• In 1951, Camp Desmond T. Doss was created in Grand Ledge, Michigan to help train young Seventh-day Adventist men for service in the military. The camp was active throughout the Korean and Vietnam wars before the property was sold in 1988.
• In the early 1980s, a school in Lynchburg was renamed Desmond T. Doss Christian Academy. The school was founded by the Lynchburg Seventh-Day Adventist Church, the home church of Desmond Doss during his years in Lynchburg. The church wanted to honor Doss for standing strong in his faith despite facing great adversity. Doss visited the school that bears his name three times before his death.
• On 10 July 1990, a section of Georgia Highway 2 between US Highway 27 and Georgia Highway 193 in Walker County, was named the "Desmond T. Doss Medal of Honor Highway."
• On 20 March 2000, Doss appeared before the Georgia House of Representatives and was presented a special resolution honoring his heroic accomplishments on behalf of the country.
• On 4 July 2004, a statue of Doss was dedicated at the National Museum of Patriotism in Atlanta, Georgia, which remained until the museum's closure in July 2010.
• In May 2007, a statue of Doss was dedicated at Veterans Memorial Park in Collegedale, Tennessee.
• In July 2008, the guest house at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC, was renamed Doss Memorial Hall.
• On 30 August 2008, a two-mile stretch of Alabama Highway 9 in Piedmont was named the "Desmond T. Doss, Sr. Memorial Highway."
• On 25 October 2016, the City of Lynchburg, Virginia, awarded a plaque in his honor to Desmond T. Doss Christian Academy.
• On 7 February 2017, PETA posthumously honored Doss with a Hero to Animals award in recognition of his lifelong commitment to vegetarianism.

Other Honors

• On 18 February 1959, Doss appeared on the Ralph Edwards NBC TV show "This Is Your Life."
• Doss was featured in the Medal of Honor Special comic written by Doug Murray and published by Dark Horse Comics. The comic was a special edition of the series Medal of Honor, published 1 April 1994. The title was sanctioned by the United States Congressional Medal of Honor Society. The issue features Corporal Desmond Doss along with another Medal of Honor recipient, Lieutenant Charles Q. Williams.
• He is the subject of the award-winning documentary, The Conscientious Objector.
• He was the subject of a book, "The Unlikeliest Hero."
• The feature film "Hacksaw Ridge", based on his life, was produced by Terry Benedict and directed by Mel Gibson. The film was released nationwide in the U.S. on 4 November 2016 to positive reviews. Doss is portrayed by Andrew Garfield, who was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance. Desmond's wife, Dorothy, is played by Teresa Palmer.

Death and Burial

Corporal Desmond T. Doss died on 23 March 2006. He is buried at Chattanooga National Cemetery in Chattanooga, Hamilton County, TN.

On the same day Doss died, U.S. Army Medic David Bleak also died. Bleak was the last surviving medic Medal of Honor recipient of the Korean War.

Honoree ID: 1370   Created by: MHOH




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