I dunno about the Mel Gibson movie but….

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 machine gun 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 all 75 casualties one-by-one 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 May 2, 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 eight 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 May 5, 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 May 21, 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, by a sniper bullet while being carried off the field by a comrade, this time suffering a compound fracture of one 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.

I reckon that’s worth a Medal of Honor in anyone’s currency…..

20 thoughts on “I dunno about the Mel Gibson movie but….”

  1. @Edward Lud

    I expect many of the men were missing arms and legs, thus making them lighter and so easier to carry.

    There’s always a silver lining.

  2. Great riposte from Murphy here:


    It’s good to be reminded of the depravity of your thinking and your contempt for your fellow human beings every now and again. You forgot to put in a plug for tax havens this time though. Shame on you.


    The link of the commenter ‘Bertrand Boulle’ is a site offering offshore investment in Mauritius which is quite amusing – anyone care to take responsibility? Has brightened my morning certainly!

  3. While you are at it Tim, the post ‘Collective dischord (Sic) demands fundamental reform’ where he quotes Cromwell is further evidence of the need for him to be sectioned – it is hilarious……

  4. bilbaoboy, granted. Still, if the reports are 90 per cent inaccurate, just what can be taken on trust?

    The 75 claim reminds me of BoB pilots claiming to have shot down the same German ‘plane.

  5. Sounds like a wonderfully brave man. A hero.

    Sadly an army of such brave men would be slaughtered by one coward with a rifle.

    Pacifism requires the support of a society of non-pacifists. It cannot stand in the face of a non-moral enemy.

  6. How odd that the nation that is the master of marketing uses such a feeble name as “medal of honor”. Granted that they could hardly call it the Victoria Cross, you’d think they’d have come up with something better than its current name.

    Perhaps it’ll become the Queen Hillary Medal?

  7. In the discussion surrounding Gibson’s film I get the impression that corpsmen and medics being fanatically brave is something hitherto unknown by the general public. Do people not read soldiers’ memoirs any more?

  8. Tim N,

    I seem to recall that of something like only three men of the British, Commonwealth & Empire forces who have demonstrated sufficiently insane bravery to win the Victoria Cross not once but twice, two were medical orderlies.

  9. I have a framed Mention in Dispatches, given to my great-grandfather, a stretcher-bearer or some such, in WW1. Signed by Winston ‘isself. Not the VC, obviously, but I was well aware that such individuals often have to show exceptional courage.

  10. “War Is A Racket” is a book written by the only man (a USMC
    general officer, Smedley Butler, if I remember aright) to have been awarded the Medal of Honor twice–for exploits in two entirely separate wars.

  11. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Edward Lud: the US Army wasn’t so slapdash in its record keeping that it didn’t know who had been wounded and where. So if the records say 75, then 75 it is.

    Okinawa is about as good a justification for nuking Japan as there is. The US took a hundred thousand casualties including psychiatric cases.

  12. “How odd that the nation that is the master of marketing uses such a feeble name as “medal of honor”. ”

    One of the highest German military awards in WW1 was “Pour le Mérite”, which is even stranger.

  13. @ Edward Lud
    Coming over the escarpment into a hail of fire, most of them were probably only a yard or so from the edge: so it is just possible that he carried all 75 of them. If he was wearing medic uniform, the Japanese may have decided not to bother shooting at him and concentrate on the nasty guys with guns.
    BUT, even if that was the case, and even if it was less than 75 (if I’d been among the wounded I should either have kept going or crawled back) he didn’t know and he was undeniably a hero.

  14. Witchie,

    “Marine A” committed a planned, premeditated murder: he dragged a wounded and helpless man out of sight of the CORTEZ surveillance, gave a little soliloquy, shot him dead, then told his comrades he’d just committed a war crime – and he did all this recorded on video. There’s mitigation, but no doubt or question of guilt.

    It would have been trivially easy to call “Grenade!” as they approached him and shoot the man as he first lay, or to “administer first aid” and give him a morphine overdose / an air embolism or just accidentally kneel on his trachea while “treating” him, and nobody would have been able to prove a damn thing.

    Against stupidity the very Gods themselves contend in vain…

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