Friday, December 16, 2016

Heros never die!

I think this coming spring I may just do a "battles" piece on the fight for Maeda ("Hacksaw") Ridge on Okinawa, April-May 1945, the subject of the new film glorifying Desmond Doss, the medical aidman who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during that period. Here's CPL Doss with his cute wife, Dotty, right after his award:
Not that Desmond really needs "glorifying"; dude had medicine-ball-sized brass spheres for testicles, given his actions in late April and May up on that horrific escarpment. There are seldom "bad" Medals of Honor but Doss' is SO good that it's kind of hard to imagine acting as he did. He was such a beast that Mel Gibson - and this is Mel Gibson, mind you, not a man with an obsessive attachment to facts - left out one of the most brutally heroic things Doss did on Maeda Ridge because Gibson flat-out didn't believe that other people would buy it as non-fiction.


The reason I posted this was not so much as a "battles" trailer or a tribute to Desmond the Medic (yay, medics!) but as an awed tribute to Desmond the Man. Because after poor Dotty passed away in the early Nineties Desmond got remarried.

Now...keep in mind ol' Des only had one lung and was on 100% disability by that time.

And he was 74.

Goddamn it, now THAT's optimism. Desmond was my kinda medic; Hooah! Get some, doc!


  1. The Last Battle they called it. Didn't General Buckner get killed near there?

    Doss's son is a resident of Southwest Washington. Interviewed in the press several weeks ago.

  2. Yep. LTG Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr. - blasted with coral fragments from an IJA artillery round. Three-star, highest-ranking US officer casualty of WW2.

  3. FDChief -

    I thought there was another 3-star that bought the farm in that war?

    1. Turns out that several LTGs caught their packet - I suspect that the "senior" was actually Leslie McNair, since he's listed as "Commander, Ground Forces" when he got bombed into bloody rags near St. Lo - tho most of them were AAF-types lost in Class A mishaps. I'll correct that.

  4. Another hero just passed away. He and Hugh Thompson and Glenn Andreaotti faced down war criminal Calley, a man who should have been cleaning latrines as a buck private instead of leading troops in Vietnam.

    Larry Colburn (from the great state of Washington) was ready to use his weapon to keep Calley and his platoon from killing more women and children at My Lai.

    Colburn was the last of three to die. He had testified against Calley at the court martial. When Nixon later pardoned Calley was where I first started my alienation with the Republican Party.

    1. Pierce has a nice valediction for SP4 Colburn here:

  5. The other was General McNair. But he was killed by the Eigth Air Force at Saint Lo along with 110 other Americans, plus 490 wounded.