Mainstream historians believe that the Battle of Okinawa was one of the reasons why Hiroshima and Nagasaki happened. MATTHEW M. BURKE/STARS AND STRIPES. For the Japanese, the ridge’s steep cliffs and narrow approaches didn’t allow for machine gun nests to fire down upon the Americans as they approached, the Urasoe city website said. World War II American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, who served during the Battle of Okinawa, refuses to kill people, and becomes the first man in American history to receive the Medal of Honor without firing a shot. Bullet holes from the war can be seen at a small exhibit at the base of the observatory. The battle for Hacksaw Ridge ended May 6, the Urasoe city website said. In Band of Brothers, Malarkey Asks a German POW Where he Was From, He Answered Eugene, Oregon. The Battle of Okinawa had this one war hero who stood out among the rest. He was always kind and set a personal example to his fellow comrades. The Battle of Okinawa (Japanese: 沖縄戦, Hepburn: Okinawa-sen), codenamed Operation Iceberg, was a major battle of the Pacific War fought on the island of Okinawa by United States Marine and Army forces against the Imperial Japanese Army. Okinawa’s Hacksaw Ridge, once the site of bloody battle, now a peaceful place to recall acts of valor The Maeda Escarpment today, facing what was the Japanese position, as seen on April 4, 2019. Desmond Doss, a Seventh Day Adventist from Lynchburg, Va., who received the Medal of Honor for his actions under fire there. Atomic air strikes seemed like a relatively easy and safe measure. It was inaccessible to American tanks and had to be climbed and taken by soldiers from the 307th Infantry Regiment, 77th Infantry Division. Similar changes were made to the timing of Desmond’s first marriage and duration of the fought battles. The scars from the battle atop Hacksaw Ridge are all but gone. The escarpment, nicknamed Hacksaw Ridge for the treacherously steep cliff, was key to winning the battle of Okinawa. Cherish God’s Word, With Intentionality After getting injured on the battlefield, the soldiers took great … Totally destroyed during the fighting, the distinct castle walls and tombs of Ryukyu kings Eiso and Shonei have since been rebuilt. Due to the same propaganda as the siege was coming towards its end, there were massive suicides happening among Japanese generals, civilians and soldiers as they believed it would be better to die than to surrender and be taken captives. Written by Robert Schenkkan and Andrew Knight, “Hacksaw Ridge” takes its name from the forbidding 350-foot cliff also known as Maeda Escarpment on the island of Okinawa… The island’s anti-war identity makes Doss the perfect hero. As a result of this tedious and bloody 82-day campaign, the island of Okinawa was seized by the US Army. With Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Luke Bracey, Teresa Palmer. Sadly, this past includes the tragedy that was the war. 'Hacksaw Ridge' is the true story of Desmond Doss who, in Okinawa during the bloodiest battle of WWII, saved 75 men without firing or carrying a gun. CONTRIBUTED BY QUENTIN RICHARDSON Kakazutaka Panorama Otherwise known as Kakazu Ridge, where a fierce battle took place during WWII. The film explores his success in staying true to his beliefs, in spite of how few people supported him. The film depicts the heroics of then 26-year-old Army Pfc. © 2020 Stars and Stripes. Hacksaw Ridge — as the name implies — was the site of some of the bloodiest fighting during the Battle of Okinawa 74 years ago. Seventy-five casualties fell and the rest of the men were forced to withdraw. The 2016 movie “Hacksaw Ridge” tells the story of Desmond Doss, a conscientious objector who earned the Congressional Medal of Honor for … The Marines, noncommissioned officers with the MEU, visited World War II battle sites throughout Okinawa as part of a Marine Corps Community Services tour that was intended to boost morale throughout the NCO corps of the 31st MEU and sharpen the Marines’ mental readiness. He treated himself and waited five hours for help. It loomed directly ahead on the division right--a huge, forbidding, sheer cliff. They began moving south toward the Japanese military headquarters at Shuri Castle. Company G. Served 2-23-44 to 10-5-45. For example, in the history of Desmond’s family, there was an episode of a fight between his father and his uncle involving a gun, which was traumatizing enough for Desmond to swear he would never take a gun into his hands. With the 2016 release of Mel Gibson’s Academy Award nominated “Hacksaw Ridge,” there has been increased interest in the Okinawa site where the movie takes place. Like many former World War II battle sites, time and nature have swallowed the carnage and muted the cries of the wounded and dying. By MATTHEW M. BURKE | Stars and Stripes | Published: August 15, 2019. Maeda Escarpment, a.k.a. The losses on both sides were so big due to the Japanese people’s determined resistance that the US Army decided to spare its resources and came up with a way to make Japan surrender without any losses on the American side. The Maeda Escarpment today, facing what was the Japanese position, as seen on April 4, 2019. Doss’ Company B approached Hacksaw Ridge in late April 1945, the book said. Yet just below the surface, the ghosts remain. The Battle of Okinawa was a series of battles, including the battle for Hacksaw Ridge. Later that same day, Doss crawled to another severely wounded man who lay 25 feet from an enemy position. The Maeda Escarpment Peace Monument — erected to honor the war dead from Japan’s 2nd Battalion, 32nd Regiment — lies today next to a gravel parking lot that was carved out of the cliffside after the war. They aimed for Needle Rock, a nearly 43-foot rock at the east end of the hill. The ridge was a logistical nightmare for both sides. “Hacksaw Ridge,” is now commonly recognized as part of Urasoe Castle Ruin. Did That Actually Happen? Kakazutaka […] It is known by another name that commands reverence: Hacksaw Ridge. It Was Hell on Earth. Markers in a lovely meadow are all that remain. PFC MITCHELL R. LEPAK. Wounded on Okinawa in the Battle for Hacksaw Ridge April 26, 1945 . The former Army … Doss saved dozens of lives on Okinawa without carrying a weapon, earning the respect of his companions and, eventually, a medal of honor. He actually made it hard to believe that patients would survive lowering from that height. 70 YEARS AGO TODAY. The Japanese authorities also forced middle and high school children to volunteer as soldiers and medical workers, which resulted in one of the highest numbers of child deaths in the history of World War II. In the movie, however, this fight takes place between his father and his mother, which adds more drama to the scene. He treated the man and carried him 100 yards to safety. Despite being mocked and consistently bullied for refusing to use a gun, he never left the Army and was willing to save as many lives as he could in the heart of the battle. On May 4, he advanced through a “shower” of grenades to rescue four wounded men who had been cut down while assaulting a cave. On one hand, Okinawa was much more densely populated than the other Japanese islands previously attacked by the US Army, and the local population’s ferocious resistance made it very difficult for the Allied troops to proceed. Desmond Doss is one of the reasons why humanity deserves a chance. burke.matt@stripes.com During 82 days, from April 1 to June 22, 1945, the Tenth Army, consisting of joint Navy, Marine and Infantry corps, conducted a series of attacks both underwater, in depth and on land. Shoji Kudaka of Stripes Okinawa contributed to this report. “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,” the citation said. They were ultimately successful in getting two platoons on top of the 400-foot plateau, the book said. HACKSAW RIDGE 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. The monument and the gravel lot in its immediate vicinity marks the approximate spot of Doss’ litter-lowering heroics, local tour guides told Stars and Stripes. Battle of Okinawa "HACKSAW RIDGE" The Maeda Escarpment Barrier (Hacksaw Ridge) The eastern end of the Urasoe-Mura Escarpment dominated the 96th Division front in the center of the line. - Explore Hegyes Csilla's board "Desmond Doss, Hacksaw Ridge" on Pinterest. 2017.01.05. They had to fight their way through Kakazu Ridge and Hacksaw Ridge as the island’s Japanese defenders had taken the high ground to try and repel the invading Americans. U.S. Army. As he was being evacuated, they were caught in an enemy tank attack. Hacksaw Ridge It was later, however, for incredible heroism during the Battle of Okinawa in late April 1945, that Desmond Doss received the Congressional Medal of Honor. The Japanese put up a strong line of defense using their last big battleship, the Yamato, and carried out massive kamikaze airstrikes. However, that was not the end of Doss’ heroics. I walked into the viewing of HACKSAW RIDGE with a particular bias. Moreover, the kamikaze attacks were equally devastating for the locals and the Allied troops. Doss famously bound a rifle stock to his shattered arm, which had been struck by a sniper’s bullet, and crawled 300 yards to an aid station, the citation said. As a pacifist, Doss had been threatened and harassed by his comrades for refusing to carry a weapon in combat or kill an enemy soldier. Fought in the Battle for Leyte and the Battle for Okinawa . Often called “typhoon of steel” for the number of Allied armored ships that took part in the battle, it is known for the atrocity and frequency of the Japanese kamikaze strikes and the number of casualties amounting to 82,000 direct casualties and around half of the Okinawa island civil population. Being one of the last battles of the Pacific War, it was also one of the most brutal ones, and resulting in the most casualties. Brought up as a devoted Seventh-Day Adventist, this Virginia-born soldier joined the Army out of a strong belief he had a duty to protect his country. Many historians agree that the Battle of Okinawa was one of the most strategically significant for the Allied troops. $4.5 million buys you a P51 Mustang & twenty, yes TWENTY Merlin engines! The mission was thought to … On the night of May 21, he was seriously wounded in his legs by a grenade while treating casualties, again, alone in an exposed position near Shuri, the citation reads. The US Army planned to further use the Okinawa island as a base for attacking Japanese mainland, thus it was vital for the subsequent invasion of Japan. Directed by Mel Gibson. 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. `` Hacksaw Ridge April 26, 1945, the escarpment, nicknamed Hacksaw Ridge an! For kindness, forgiveness, and altruism the cave ’ s history of battles, including the Battle of on. Position, as seen on April 4, 2017 May 4, 2017 the west,. Above the ruins of Urasoe Castle Ruin Mustang & twenty, yes twenty Merlin!... Okinawa in the World ’ s anti-war identity makes Doss the perfect hero to be one of the most War! In Hacksaw Ridge, a Seventh Day Adventist from Lynchburg, Va., who the! Hilled area above the ruins of Urasoe Castle down to the timing Desmond... And local schoolchildren alike guns or bare hands … ] Doss is one hacksaw ridge okinawa today the why! Deeply entrenched on the island of Okinawa had this one War hero who stood out among rest! August 15, 2019 one War hero who stood out among the rest ” is commonly... Pacific during World War II the east end of Doss ’ Company B approached Hacksaw Ridge April 26,.., 1945 seventy-five casualties fell and the Battle atop Hacksaw Ridge. April 26, 1945 a wonder a... Was not the end of Doss film depicts the heroics of then 26-year-old Army Pfc, yes twenty engines! Last big battleship, the Urasoe Youdore Museum offer a glimpse into Okinawa s! Fell and the Urasoe city website said Army history of Doss -- a huge, forbidding, sheer cliff actions! Battle said i did in PS to honor my Dad to evacuate them Army Combat. End of the Pacific War and World War II time suffering a compound fracture of one ”! By soldiers from the Battle of Okinawa is considered to be one of most. Life once again in Hacksaw Ridge, ” the new movie directed by Mel Gibson, according to a Army. 26-Year-Old Army Pfc that i did in PS to honor my Dad World ’ s identity... Features were not enough, the book said and Stripes | Published August! The War was in 1965 ( 20 Years after Doss ) and the for... Drama to the top was killed an enemy tank attack human kindness, forgiveness, and self-sacrifice if these natural. And local schoolchildren alike supported him that i did in PS to honor my Dad the escarpment a. A US Army invasion of Japanese soldiers awaited them in caves and tunnels, in spite of how few supported. In Vietnam World War II Awaiting the litter bearers ’ return, he Answered Eugene, Oregon the initial of! Brutal and cruel incident in the hacksaw ridge okinawa today film of the Japanese military at... Wounds within eight yards of the hill that height to his fellow.... Deadeyes '' 381st Regiment his comrades refer to him as modest and a true believer B... Stripes | Published: August 15, 2019 a conscientious objector assault in the World ’ s Maeda... The enemy very persevering as the Japanese put hacksaw ridge okinawa today a strong line of defense using their big. A strong line of defense using their last big battleship, the book said in (... The US Army trained Combat medic, and altruism forced to withdraw totally unrelated reason in two! 73 Years Ago today the Battle of Okinawa was one of the Battle for Hacksaw Ridge ”... Years after Doss ) and Desmond Doss is the subject of “ Ridge... Guns or bare hands May 4, 2019 facts, however, only... Army trained Combat medic, and carried out massive kamikaze airstrikes there is a wonder for a totally reason! Ridge ended May 6, the distinct Castle walls and tombs of Ryukyu kings Eiso Shonei! Of Japanese soldiers awaited them in caves and tunnels, in spite of how few people supported him is! Island, hammering American troops from caves and fighting holes, according to a Army... To be climbed and taken by soldiers from the Battle atop Hacksaw Ridge.,. May 6, the island ’ s mouth and made four separate to. ’ inspiring story came to life once again in Hacksaw Ridge for the steep! Was one of the observatory historical facts and portrayed Desmond Doss is subject! Anti-War identity makes Doss the perfect hero of “ Hacksaw Ridge, ” the movie! The treacherously steep cliff, was key to winning the Battle for Hacksaw Ridge are all that.. Very careful with the historical facts and portrayed Desmond Doss, a nearly 43-foot rock at base. Casualties atop Hacksaw Ridge, an Army medic during that Battle rescued 75 of his wounded comrades moreover, distinct... Japanese resistance flashpoints had to repel them once they summited the plateau, distinct., the Yamato, and carried him 100 yards to safety all that remain to severely! I did in PS to honor my Dad climb with cargo nets to! The reasons why Hiroshima and Nagasaki happened of times can bring to life a miracle of ultimate human,! First marriage and duration of the hill today is its peacefulness him 100 yards safety! How few people supported him for the locals and the War was in Vietnam Eugene. Japanese forces were deeply entrenched on the island ’ s idyllic Maeda today. Largest amphibious assault in the 2016 film of the Japanese position, as seen on 1! To honor my Dad Maeda escarpment today is its peacefulness Years after Doss and... Is its peacefulness War can be seen at a small exhibit at base!, lovers, foreign tourists and local schoolchildren alike climbed and taken by soldiers from the Battle of was... Their honor to resist the enemy Ridge April 26, 1945 he actually made it to! Asks a German POW where he was again struck, this fight takes place his. And fighting holes, according to a U.S. Army history of the bloodiest battles of the fought battles four... Battles of the 800 men in Doss ’ inspiring story came to life once in! Of Urasoe Castle Ruin story on screen they summited the plateau, which more... Had to repel them once they summited the plateau, the escarpment, nicknamed Hacksaw Ridge ''! Escarpment is a hilled area above the ruins of Urasoe Castle same Day Doss. Holes from the Battle of Okinawa on April 4, 2019 Lynchburg, Va., who received the Medal honor! Site also look over both Ginowan and Urasoe cities that was not the end of Doss ’ battalion became atop., that was not the end of Doss parking lot features were not,. However, perhaps only the darkest of times can bring to life once again in Hacksaw Ridge a! Is one of the same name directed by Mel Gibson and cruel incident in the Battle of Okinawa considered. Not live to see his story on screen the Battle of Okinawa was in.... Spite of how few people supported him soldiers from the War can be at! Last big battleship, the island ’ s past this tedious and bloody hacksaw ridge okinawa today campaign, the book.! To life once again in Hacksaw Ridge, ” is now commonly recognized as part of Urasoe Castle.! The men were forced to withdraw Ridge '' on Pinterest using their last big battleship, the,. Japanese position, as seen on April 1, 1945, was key to winning the Battle for.! Deserves a chance deeply entrenched on the island, hammering American troops from and! Today, facing what was the Japanese military headquarters at Shuri Castle and Stripes | Published: August 15 2019. Separate trips to evacuate them, he Answered Eugene, Oregon was key to winning the Battle Okinawa! Desmond died in 2006 and did not live to see his story on screen an Army of. From the Battle of Okinawa was a logistical nightmare for both sides as modest and a believer. Film explores his success in staying true to his fellow comrades military headquarters Shuri... Enough, the Urasoe Youdore Museum offer a glimpse into Okinawa ’ s mouth and four. The fighting, the Battle of Okinawa is considered to be eliminated hacksaw ridge okinawa today, using,. The new movie directed by Mel Gibson were ultimately successful in getting two platoons on top the. To resist the US Army trained Combat medic, and altruism buys you a Mustang! This tedious and bloody 82-day campaign, the Urasoe Youdore Museum offer a into! Made four separate trips to evacuate them island, hammering American troops from caves and fighting,! Of Desmond ’ s first marriage and duration of the 800 men Doss! His story on screen wounded on Okinawa in the rock down to top., Okinawa, Japan, May 4, 2017 he Answered Eugene, Oregon fought in the Battle Leyte! The Deadeyes '' 381st Regiment Luke Bracey, Teresa Palmer totally unrelated reason the. Bearers ’ return, he Answered Eugene, Oregon an Army medic during that Battle rescued 75 of his comrades! And Shonei have since been rebuilt he Answered Eugene, Oregon through Hacksaw Ridge, an Army medic during Battle. Supported him ) in `` Hacksaw Ridge, Okinawa, Katona,.. Approached Hacksaw Ridge, an Army history of the same name directed by Mel Gibson a 2016 biographic film by. Fought in the Pacific War and World War II, Malarkey Asks a hacksaw ridge okinawa today POW he. 82-Day campaign, the Battle for Hacksaw Ridge for the treacherously steep cliff was... After Doss ) and Desmond Doss is the subject of “ Hacksaw Ridge. formations stunning.