US Soldiers Who Earned the Medal of Honor Without Touching a Weapon

Ronald E. Yates is an author of award-winning historical fiction and action/adventure novels, including the popular and highly-acclaimed Finding Billy Battles trilogy.

It’s tough enough to go into battle with a weapon. Imagine doing so without one! But that’s what Desmond Doss did during WW II. He was a conscientious objector and served as a medic during the Battle of Okinawa. His actions during one day saved the lives of 75 of his fellow soldiers.

The account I am reposting below tells Doss’s story as well as that of two other men who won the Congressional Medal of Honor without ever firing a shot in anger. The article was originally posted by War History Online. I hope you enjoy this story about three astonishing soldiers. Ron Yates

By George Winston

There have been three conscientious objectors who were awarded the Medal of Honor – the highest military honor in the US – without ever firing a weapon.

One of those men is Desmond Doss, who has had his story translated to the silver screen in “Hacksaw Ridge,” a new movie directed by Mel Gibson. Andrew Garfield plays Doss who saved 75 lives in the Battle of Okinawa. Garfield has been nominated for a BAFTA for his portrayal of Doss.

The US allowed conscientious objectors during World War II to serve in noncombat roles; most worked as medics in the Army. This enabled them to serve without carrying a weapon.

Doss was a Seventh Day Adventist who was drafted in April 1942. After receiving the status of conscientious objector, he enrolled as a medic in the 77th Infantry Division.

Doss was harassed by the other soldiers, and his commanding officer tried to get him discharged with a Section-8 (meaning he was mentally unfit for service). Doss refused the release stating that he felt he would be a poor Christian if he accepted a discharge that implied he was mentally unstable due