Skip to main content

Military Health System

Clear Your Browser Cache

This website has recently undergone changes. Users finding unexpected concerns may care to clear their browser's cache to ensure a seamless experience.

Skip subpage navigation

Pfc. Desmond T. Doss

Date of Award: November 1, 1945
Conflict: World War II
Branch: U.S. Army

Pfc. Desmond T. Doss portraitPfc. Desmond Doss made his mark in history not only as a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, but as the first “conscientious objector” of the war to achieve the highest honor in the Armed Forces. Doss, a devout member of the Seven-Day Adventist Church, refused to carry a weapon or kill when he was drafted into World War II. Wanting to serve his country, he entered the service as a medic in the 77th Infantry Division.

Doss earned his medal for his action in May, 1945, as he risked his life to tend to 75 men wounded in battle while all of his comrades fell back and retreated back to the base, and the enemy forces continued to pour artillery fire upon him and the remaining bodies. Ignoring the heavy blasts and advancing enemy forces, Doss bandaged his injured comrades and began to lower wounded soldiers carefully from ropes to the base of the escarpment. Although the exact number of lives he saved is unclear, he was credited with saving the lives of all 75 men due to the sheer valor he displayed that day.

Citation: “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.”

Last Updated: July 11, 2023
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on X Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery