Recently, my son wrote a school paper on Desmond Doss, a Seventh-day Adventist medic in WWII who won a Congressional Medal of Honor. Yesterday, a secular news source reported that director Mel Gibson is to begin directing a movie called “Hacksaw Ridge” about Doss (due out in 2016).
Doss’ story is important for AFM missionaries, prayer partners and donors to remember because it puts into perspective the value of saving 75 men. In world evangelism, 75 seems like a small number. AFM projects often phase out when a church reaches about 75. After more than a decade of work, 75 may seem insignificant. Yet Doss’ story reminds us that 75 is a heroic number when each is rescued for God’s Kingdom one by one, at great personal sacrifice.
From Doss’s 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 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 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 5 May,] 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.”
Here is the conclusion to my son’s fifth grade report: “Desmond T. Doss is like Jesus because they both set an example for the world, and they both did whatever it took to help others live. They both wanted to heal, help, save and encourage. And most of all, they both relied on their Heavenly Father to help them get through the war. Desmond Doss was in a war, but so was Jesus.”