Hacksaw Ridge: Mel Gibson’s Tale of a Most Extraordinary Soldier

HACKSAW RIDGE, nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Film, Director and Actor, is the extraordinary true story of Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield) who, in Okinawa during the bloodiest battle of WWII, saved 75 men without firing or carrying a gun. He was the only American soldier in WWII to fight on the front lines without a weapon, as he believed that while the war was justified, killing was nevertheless wrong. As an army medic, he single-handedly evacuated the wounded from behind enemy lines, braved fire while tending to soldiers and was wounded by a grenade and hit by snipers. Doss was the first conscientious objector awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

When the order came to retreat, one man stayed

In the Spring of 1945 – as the war in the Pacific entered its final, most deadly days, and U.S. forces in Okinawa encountered some of the most ferocious fighting ever witnessed – a single soldier stood out from the rest. This was Desmond T. Doss, a conscientious objector, who despite vowing to never kill, served boldly as an unarmed medic in the infantry … and went on to single-handedly save the lives of dozens of his fallen fellow soldiers under lethal fire without firing a single bullet.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=802_EJMQbV8&w=560&h=315]

An unwavering Seventh Day Adventist, Doss was living in Virginia when he voluntarily enlisted in the U.S. Army. He had no interest in fighting, but rather Doss wanted to serve as a “non- combatant” medic. It was not a path with which the military was familiar, but Doss persisted. Skinny, vegetarian and unwilling to train on Saturdays let alone carry a gun, Doss was initially ridiculed and abused by his compatriots – who, convinced he would be a dangerous liability in the foxholes with them, tried every which way they could to drive him out of the army. But Doss persisted all the way to Okinawa, where his unit was ordered to take part in the near-impossible capture of the massive Maeda Escarpment – aka Hacksaw Ridge. Atop this steep, looming 400-foot cliff lay heavily fortified machine- gun nests, booby traps and Japanese soldiers in caves who vowed to fight to the end.

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