Military Movies & Video Games

TRAILER: 'Hacksaw Ridge' to tell story of first conscientious objector to earn MoH

A star-studded, Mel Gibson-directed World War II drama telling the story of the first conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor will debut in theaters Nov. 4.

The new trailer for "Hacksaw Ridge," which will introduce moviegoers to the heroism of then-Pfc. Desmond Doss, had more than 400,000 Facebook views within six hours of its debut Thursday morning. It features Andrew Garfield ("The Amazing Spider-Man") as Doss, a Seventh-Day Adventist who served as a medic on Okinawa with 307th Infantry Regiment, 77th Infantry Division.

There's plenty of supporting star power (Sam Worthington, Vince Vaughn, Hugo Weaving) in the short clip, and plenty of explosions — but none caused by the hero of the story, a Seventh-Day Adventist who refused to carry a weapon into combat.

That didn't stop him from saving dozens of fellow soldiers during a series of engagements with the Japanese in May 1945. Some highlights from his must-read Medal of Honor citation:

  • "Private First Class Doss 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. Private First Class Doss refused to seek cover and remained in the fire-swept area with the many stricken, carrying them one-by-one 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 2 May, he exposed himself to heavy rifle and mortar fire in rescuing a wounded man 200 yards forward of the lines on the same escarpment; and two days later he treated four men who had been cut down while assaulting a strongly defended cave, advancing through a shower of grenades to within eight yards of enemy forces in a cave's mouth, where he dressed his comrades' wounds before making four separate trips under fire to evacuate them to safety."
  • "On 5 May ... when an American was severely wounded by fire from a cave, Private First Class 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."
HacksawRidge_MarkRogers-D2-2451.CR2
HacksawRidge_MarkRogers-D2-2451.CR2

Academy Award-winning director Mel Gibson was behind the lens for "Hacksaw Ridge," which opens Nov. 4.

Photo Credit: Mark Rogers/Lionsgate

Need more proof that the story is the stuff of Hollywood? Wounded by a grenade explosion May 21, Doss waited five hours before aid reached him, per the citation. He and his rescuers came under tank attack, and then:

... Private First Class 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. Awaiting the litter bearers' return, he was again struck, this time suffering a compound fracture of one arm. With magnificent fortitude he bound a rifle stock to his shattered arm as a splint and then crawled 300 yards over rough terrain to the aid station.

Doss died in 2006. He was interviewed as part of "Conscientious Objector," a 2004 documentary that told his story. That film's writer-director, Terry Benedict, is listed as a producer on "Hacksaw Ridge," which reportedly boasts a budget topping $50 million.

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