Have you seen the movie? Most of us have i would think!
Based on an incredible true story of Private First Class Desmond T. Doss, a congressional medal of honor recipient for his actions during the battle of Hacksaw Ridge in World War II, May 5th 1945
A little bit of background on this hero before we start! Desmond Doss was born in Lynchburg Virginia on February 7th, 1919. He entered his military career April 1st, 1942. He was awarded 2 bronze stars for his service in battles in Guam and the Philippines. He was awarded the Medal of honor and the purple heart for his contributions to the battle of Okinawa, where "Hacksaw Ridge" happened.
During the Battle he saved the lives os 50-100 wounded infantrymen, and was also wounded from a snipers bullet that fractured his left arm, leaving 17 pieces of shrapnel embedded in his body.
From top, left to right the medals are as follows.
- Combat Medical Badge
- Medal of Honor
- Bronze Star (With a "V" distinguishing heroism or valor in combat)
- Purple Heart
- Army good conduct
- American Campaign Medal
- Asiantic-Pacific Campaign medal
- World War II Victory Medal
- Philippine Liberation Medal
- Army Presidential Unit Citation
- Meritorious Unit Commendation
My trip to Hacksaw Ridge on the other hand was very different...
We started off on our bikes from Kadena Airforce base on the island of Okinawa, Japan. It was about about a 9mile bike ride to the historical battlegrounds. Unfortunately as soon as we got there it started pouring down with rain, so we took a little bit of cover until it stopped!
Keep in mind, it has been over 73 years since the battle has taken place, a lot has changed and living things are finally growing again!
At this point we are at the very western part of the ridge where it starts and the ridge extends for about a mile! Time to start the adventure!
We continued down the path on our bikes for a little bit until we got to these stairs. A bit of a walk to hike our bikes all the way up but we gotta get there don't we!
So we finally made it to the Ridge! The view here is pretty amazing i will say. A beautiful shot of the ocean on the left and the town of Ginowan and Chatan to the right!
The tiny Museum there.
Wow. how amazing is it that 73 years ago all of this happened, and im staring at a weapon that could of killed hundreds of people and a rusted helmet. If only i could feel what all of these men felt when they were tasked to climb that ridge.
Here is where the Museum got interesting.
When i looked at this picture my mind was absolutely BLOWN! The top picture was taken after the battle was won. Look at it. There isn't a living thing there! Burnt, barren wasteland where the only thing that was there was death. Everything looks so differently. The picture on the bottom is of present day.
LOOK AT THE TOP RIGHT OF THE PAGE ON THE LEFT
There he is.
In this picture, you can see Pfc. Desmond Doss at the top of Hacksaw Ridge where he helped save 75 men in a 12 hour period. Can you believe how amazing that is? He is a true hero.
Of course we couldn't even make it to the top without a roadblock of our own.
One last fix of the bikes before we head up to the historic battleground.
Here it is...
The top of the ridge where so much life was lost. Its absolutely insane that such a bloody fight was fought on a ridge top this small.
On to Doss Point!
Named after Pfc. Doss where he hoisted down countless wounded soldiers and saved many lives!
Now of course you can barely see how steep it is, and there is a road right next to it leading to the cemetery. this is when it really hit me how many people have died there. The cemetery is built on the side of the ridge, with countless burials.
The entire side of the ridge are burials.
If you were to take them all away, the ridge would almost turn into a cliff! I cant even imagine.
My trip was coming to an end, a gloomy end after seeing all of the burials on the ridge.
The thought of how much life was lost was insane.
The amount of courage that Pfc. Doss must of had, the dedication and commitment he had to his company and his country.
Pfc. Doss died March 23, 2006 after being hospitalized for difficulty breathing. He was buried on April 3rd, in the National Cemetery in Chattanooga Tennessee. Pfc Doss is survived by his son Desmond "Tommy" Doss jr.