Who Was Desmond Doss & What Did He Do

Born on February 7, 1919 in Lynchburg, Virginia, Desmond Thomas Doss worked as an army corporal serving as a medic during World War II.

His parents were William Thomas Doss and Bertha Edward Doss who were Seventh-day Adventist.

Desmond grew up with his older sister named Audrey and Harold who is younger than him.

He served during World War II specifically Battle of Okinawa, Battle of Leyte and Battle of Guam.

Desmond Doss In World War II

Prior to World War II, he worked in a shipyard based in Newport News, Virginia. On April

n April 1,1942, he entered the military service and was sent in South Carolina where he had to undergo training at Fort Jackson. He became part of the 77th Infantry Division.

While he was working in 1944 in Philippines and Guam, he received a Bronze Star Medal for treating wounded soldiers. He Saved 75 wounded man in the Battle of Okinawa, who

He Saved 75 wounded man in the Battle of Okinawa, who were part of the 96th Division. The injured men were rescued on May 21, 1945. One year after, he was awarded the Medal of Honor for his works in Okinawa.

One year after, he was awarded the Medal of Honor for his works in Okinawa.

The gallantry and unyielding determination of Desmond Doss to go beyond the call of his duty was acknowledged by President Harry Truman himself. In

In Ryukyu Islands in Okinawa, machinegun fire, mortar and artillery crashed into the troops as they reached the peak. Despite being in a dangerous position, he still went on to do his duty without seeking cover. 

Even under a life threatening condition, he carried the soldiers one by one all the way to escarpment.

After the incident, he also experienced another near death situation after he rescued a wounded man and brought him 200 years to the escarpment.

Two days after that, he saved 4 men.

He also helped a severely wounded soldier by crawling to the spot which was about 25 feet away from the position of the enemy.

Private First Class Doss carried him until they reached a safe ground even when there’s enemy fire.

On May 21, 1945 during a night attack, he was exposed while the others took cover.

He himself was injured with a grenade. He tended to his own wounds and five hours later, his comrades were able to reach him.

Three of them had to face the enemy’s tan and he saw a wounded man in critical condition.

He asked the bearers to help the other person who needed it more.

As he waited for his bearers to return, he suffered another injury after he was struck, injuring his arm. To survive, he had to crawl 300 yards all the way to the station.

His unwavering bravery and gallantry echoed in history and became a symbol with his outstanding work and with the lives he saved.

Desmond Doss Post-War

Doss wanted to work in carpentry after the war. But with the injuries he incurred, his left arm wouldn’t allow him to do such work.

He was also diagnosed with tuberculosis, a lung disease that he acquired when he was in Leyte. For more than 5 years, he had to take treatments.

When he was discharged from the hospital, he was almost disable because of the disease.

He continued with his treatment but he had an overdose which resulted to him being deaf after 30 years.

In 1988, he underwent a cochlear implant and he regained back his hearing. With everything that he went through, he was still able to have a family in Rising Fawn, Georgia.

On August 17, 1942, he married Dorothy Schutte who gave birth to Desmond Doss Jr. The baby was born in 1946, but due to a car accident he died on 1991.

Two years after he remarried to Frances Duman on July 1, 1993.

On March 23, 2006, Doss died after he was brought to hospital for breathing problems.

He died in his home located in Piedmont, Alabama and was buried in the National Cemetery in Tennessee.

The awards and recognitions he received include the following:

  • Army Good Conduct Medal
  • Bronze Star Medal
  • World War II Victory Medal
  • Medal of Honor
  • American Campaign Medal
  • Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
  • Army Presidential Unit Citation
  • Philippine Liberation Medal

Because of the outstanding courage and honor he showed, he received various accolades.

A part of the US Route 501 is named “Pfc.Desmon T. Doss Memorial Expressway” commemorating his valor during world war II.

Veterans also honor him during patriotic holidays. In 1951, the Camp Desmond. T. Doss was built in Michigan. They trained young men from Seventh-day Adventist church for military service.

During the Vietnam and Korean War, the camp was still active before it was finally sold. In 1980, a school was named Desmond T. Doss Christian Academy.

He also appeared before the House of Representatives in Georgia last 2000 and was given a special resolution acknowledging his heroic deeds and accomplishments.

A statue was created at the Veterans Memorial Park in May 2007.