Mel Gibson’s New Epic Movie ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ Tells The Story Of A Conscientous Objector Who Saved Lives On The Front Line

Hacksaw Ridge is a movie based on the true story of Desmond Doss, who served during World War II as a combat medic. The movie was released on November 4th.

Doss was a religious man who would not work or train on the Sabbath due to his faith.  That same faith led him to refuse to carry a weapon, but his faith did not stop him serving on the front line, and performing many acts of heroism.

Because of his heroic actions, he became the first conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor.

Charles Googe, the Executive Director of the Medal of Honor Heritage Center, tells the tale of Doss’ heroics near the end of the war, in May of 1945. The US troops were fighting the Japanese on the island of Okinawa.  One of the highest points on the island is the Maeda Escarpment which has a 300 to 400-foot-tall cliff.  This is where Doss found himself.

TheMedal of Honor Heritage Center has several items that Doss personally donated which help to tell the story.

There was a counter-attack from the Japanese which separated the group.  55 men were driven to the bottom of the cliff by the Japanese.  The remaining 100 men from Company B were trapped at the top of the cliff with no way to get down.

They were ordered to withdraw, but Doss ignored the order, staying at the top of the cliff for hours, helping 100 soldiers to the bottom while under enemy fire for the duration.

After the war, Doss married.  His first wife tragically died in an automobile accident in 1971.  He met a widow, fell in love, and remarried in 1993.

His new wife, Frances, has a son named Mike Duman.  He loved to hear Doss’ stories about the war.  Many veterans have difficulty talking about the war, but Doss loved to tell the stories and Mike and his sons loved to hear them.

Terry Benedict has been working telling Doss’ story for the past 17 years.

He is the producer and director of a documentary about Doss that was released in 2004.  He is also one of the producers of the new movie about Doss, News Channel 9 reported.

The movie stars Andrew Garfield as Doss and it also has veteran actors, Sam Worthington and Vince Vaughn. Director of the movie is Mel Gibson.

Benedict brought Garfield to Chatanooga and to Virginia to show him where Doss grew up. Garfield was able to see and touch many of the landmarks and items that Doss would have experienced.  He also worked with Garfield on his accent and answered “thousands of questions” from the actor.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE