Glen, AJ Gordon
October 22, 2021
[Untitled portrait of Desmond Doss].
“Even though I said those things to him in regards to [not] carrying a rifle, that he would never be by my damn side at all unless he had a rifle. But then, in the long run, finding out that he was one of the bravest persons alive, and then to have him end up saving my life is the irony of the whole thing” (Gibson, Schenkkan, Knight, 2016, 2:09:52).
This year for my eminent person, I will be researching Desmond Doss. I chose him because of his heroic acts during the second World War and general selflessness post war. Moreover, his devotion to his faith and serving his country resulted in an overwhelming amount of verbal and physical abuse, yet he still would not give up. Although I was fortunate enough to not grow up in an abusive household, unlike him, we were, however, both raised in the Christian faith and went to Sunday services every weekend. In addition to our shared faith, Corporal Doss and I are both extremely passionate for our political beliefs and stick to them wholeheartedly. Furthermore, resourcefulness is another ability we have in common even though I have not needed it in this sort of a dire situation. In the TALONS program, one of the most important goals of mine is to be a leader and help others to the best of my ability and Desmond Doss is an exemplary figure of these objectives. Although he showed his leadership on the battlefield, he best represented his selflessness towards helping others by risking life and limb to bring as many soldiers as possible back down from the ridge after they were injured in battle. His sacrifice to save roughly 75 lives, even some from the opposing side, truly showed he was a thoughtfull, well-intentioned individual worthy of eminence. The only barriers that I could think of would be our personal beliefs. His understanding of faith is far more literal than mine, however, we do still both carry roughly the same values.
[Untitled image of Desmond Doss receiving the medal of honour].
Corporal Doss has made a significant impact on many lives during and after the war. The most prevalent thing he did was save roughly 75 injured American troops while behind enemy lines since the Japanese had taken back hacksaw ridge after a brutal battle. As a result of the movie made about Doss’ heroic actions, his legacy will hopefully be remembered for a long time. Although a good amount of time has passed, Doss will at least be remembered by the families he prolonged by saving their fathers or grandfathers which will at least last several generations. During Desmond’s rise to eminence, he faced most, if not all, commanding officers telling him to give up due to it not being worth going to war without a weapon on him. Moreover, the other privates would verbally and sometimes physically abuse Desmond into resigning. Although not carrying a weapon was seen as a conscientious objection to the war, he still strongly believed that “it isn’t right that [he] should be sitting at home safe. [He] needs to serve” (Desmond Doss, 1942). After being dragged through the courts for this objection to carrying a weapon, his father, a veteran of the first World War, helped him out of his situation and allowed for him to serve as a medic. Corporal Doss is worth remembering because of his heroic actions on the battlefield while remaining true to his values and beliefs, this is the reason I chose him over other veterans. Altering your values and beliefs or not being forthcoming about them has become quite normalized which is unfortunate for a democratic country to have these social pressures. This message is an important one that should be spread farther than just the TALONS program.
[Untitled image of Desmond Doss with a quote].
For the next phase of my research, I would like to investigate his actions after the war. Although I already know he did plenty of memorable deeds post World War Two, however, further research would improve my understanding of Doss as a person. In addition, I am hoping to contact the Desmond Doss Foundation and ask them some questions for my interview to hear more perspectives about his life and service for the United States Army.
Desmond Doss’ Biography. (Unknown). Desmond Doss. https://desmonddoss.com/bio/
Desmond Doss. (2021). Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desmond_Doss#cite_ref-a_3-0
Gibson, M. (Director), Schenkkan, R. (Writer), & Knight, A. (Writer). (2016). Hacksaw Ridge [Film]. Summit Entertainment.
[Untitled image of Desmond Doss receiving the medal of honour]. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desmond_Doss#/media/File:Desmond_Doss_CMH_award.jpg
[Untitled image of Desmond Doss with a quote]. https://www.desmonddossfoundation.org/index.php#Values-4
[Untitled portrait of Desmond Doss]. https://desmonddoss.com/bio/index.php