Hacksaw Ridge Trailer: First Glimpse into Portrayal of Adventist Noncombatant Desmond Doss

The fist theatrical trailer for Hacksaw Ridge, the true story of Desmond T. Doss, has been released online. The film hits United States theaters on November 4. Doss was an American war hero, remembered as the first conscientious objector in American history to be given the Medal of Honor. As a Seventh-day Adventist, he refused to kill but pledged to serve his country during WWII. Andrew Garfield, known for his role as Spiderman, plays the role of Doss. Other familiar cast members include Vince Vaughn, Teresa Palmer and Sam Worthington.

Watch the first theatrical trailer for Hacksaw Ridge below

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/7586
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The Adventist Books on Desmond during that event would not be allowed to be as graphic about the battle as the movie will explore with the audience
It should be a great tribute to Desmond. [knew him and his second wife personally for a number of years.]

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A film that glorifies violence and killing about someone who opposed violence and killing.


If people are as deeply moved by the film as they have been by the trailer, the impact should be astounding. My hope is that many will be inspired to take the teachings of Jesus seriously due to the impact of this film and the Desmond Doss story.


Thanks, bongoangola.

You said:


• How would one meaningfully make a film about violence and killing— in this instance, about war—without showing it, or, as you put it, glorifying it? (That is, unless you believe that war can be shown—graphically—without glorifying it.)

Put another way, how would one make a film about a man, serving a “violence and killing unit,” without “glorifying” violence and killing?

• In Judges 4, the Israelite woman, Jael, kills a Canaanite army commander, Sisera. Here’s how she does it:

She sneaks up on him while he is asleep. Then, she takes a tent spike—like the kind commonly used at SDA camp meetings—grabs a mallet, and, with a powerful blow, drives the stake through his skull and into his brain, straight through to the ground beneath his head, killing him instantly.

It’s a scene worthy of the best, R-rated, modern horror movies.

Does it glorify violence and killing? Why, or why not?



I guess no response is allowed…but, are you opposed to movies about war? A movie about war, isn’t necessarily glorifying it.

Should we wait until we see the movie before saying it is glorifying war?

Have you seen it?

On another note. I’m glad to see Mel Gibson back. I think he is a very good director. I know he had his issues…kinda imploded actually. But, I hope he has conquered his demons and is back and doing better.

Some history and a review of the special service that Medic-Corpsmen provide during peacetime and war. Matt 22:37-40, Jesus tell us that the greatest commandment is to Love the Lord and to love our neighbor as yourself.
War is not pretty and the effects that it leaves on those that are participants are horrendous. Desmond Doss set an example as a non-combatant that demonstrates the Nature of Jesus Christ and Christianity. Desmond was willing to lay down his own life to save those that he served…just as Jesus did.
Death is never pretty and war is the ugliness of Death magnified.
Those of us that have experience war have a responsibility to share the ugliness of war in a way that provides the reality of how God intervenes in the lives of those that are put in such circumstances and have experienced divine intervention and learned the lesson of never ceasing to pray.
As Desmond Doss I too was a Noncombatant or as we were labeled at a later time a Conscientious Objector. In such capacity we did not carry a weapon—we carried our medic bag, a bible and learned to trust in a God that was always at our side–regardless of whether we lived or died. We as combat medics knew that God was with us as treated those in our various units. In my heart I knew that as I went on combat patrols with “my” troops that my presence brought special protection allowed by a great God that was with us. The Army unit that I was assigned was and still is very well known and during my time in the AOR we recieved over 85% KIA and wounded—and had all the appropriate medals that go along with heavy action. I remember praying with and for those many soldiers that were very unsure that they would live to see the next day. The following is a bit of history as to the difference a medic makes in the lives of those that have no choice in the matter of war!

Corpsman, Medic these terms mean different things to different people. There are Combat Corpsmen and Combat Medics; there are men and women who have trained as Corpsman and Medics who never served with a combat unit in wartime; there are Corpsmen and Medics who went on to different specialties (X-Ray techs, blood techs, etc.); there are Corpsmen and Medics who were Orderlies; there are Corpsmen and Medics who worked in Aid Stations; there are Corpsmen and Medics that worked in hospitals, or served with front line infantry units during war.

No matter what branch of the service we were in, our primary job was to save people, as well as provide the care that would make for a speedy recovery of Veterans that had been injured.

We were called DOC by those we took care of. Whether it was in a combat situation or a peace time situation, we were DOC. Doc, a special term that only those who have served in that capacity will ever experience.

During Ancient times if a soldier was wounded, he laid in the field where he had fallen. There was no one to come to his aid.

Napoleon’s Army was the first to assign people to help the wounded. They were called the litter-bearers, made up mostly of inept and expendable soldiers. The American Colonel Army lead by George Washington, also had litter-bearers during the Revolutionary War.

In 1862, due to the unexpected size of casualty lists during the battle of Manassas where it took one week to remove the wounded from the battlefield, Dr. Jonathan Letterman, Head of Medical Services of the Army of the Potomac, revamped the Army Medical Corps. His contribution included staffing and training men to operate horse teams and wagons to pick up wounded soldiers from the field and to bring them back to field dressing stations for initial treatment. This was our Nation’s first Ambulance Cops. Dr. Letterman also developed the 3 tiered evacuation system which is still used today.

      Field Dressing (Aid) Station - located next to the battlefield.  Dressings and tourniquets

      Field Hospital - Close to the battlefield (during the Civil War it would be Barns or Houses, today they are known as        
        MASH units).    Emergency surgery and treatment.

      Large Hospital - Away from the battlefield.  For patients' prolonged treatment.

Dr. Letterman’s transportation system proved successful. In the battle of Antietam, which was a 12 hour engagement and the bloodiest one day battle in the entire Civil War, the ambulance system was was able to remove all the wounded from the field in 24 hours. Dr. Jonathan Letterman is known today as the Father of Modern Battlefield Medicine. Unfortunately, amputation was the primary method of treatment for wounds to extremities during the Civil War with over 50,000 resulting amputees.

During the Spanish American War in the 1890’s Nicholas Sin stated: Fate of the wounded soldier is determined by the hand which applies the dressing. Field dressings are now applied by litter-bearers in the field.

World War I required millions of casualties to be treated at the front. Unlike previous wars, battles did not stop to retrieve the wounded or the dead. World War I saw, for the first time, medics rushing forward with the troops, finding the wounded, stopping their bleeding and bringing the wounded soldier to the aid station. In World War I medics were no longer expendable and were well trained.

After World War I, Military Medicine advanced. Training became a priority both in fighting and medical care. Medics were trained along side infantry soldiers, learning how to use the lay of the land for their protection and that of their patients. Medics were also trained in the use of pressure dressings, plasma IV’s, tracheotomy, splints, and administering drugs. From 1920 to 1947 medics were assigned as either MOS 657 Aid man or Liter bearer.

During World War II a wounded soldier had an 85% chance of surviving if he was treated by a medic within the first hour. This figure was three times higher than World War I survival statistics. The red cross worn by medics on their helmet and arm bands became visible targets for enemy snipers during World War II and Korea. The Medic was only armed with 45 Caliber handgun due to Geneva Conventions as they were listed as non-combatants.

Korea saw the advent of the helicopter being used to bring men from the front lines to MAS*H units (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital). During the Korean war saw the training change and still the medics were assigned to MOS 3666 Aid man or MOS 5657 Liter Bearer.

In Vietnam, the medic’s job was to treat and evacuate. Medevac helicopters now could bring medics on board to continue treating the wounded while transporting them back to the Field Hospitals. There was a 98% survival rate for soldiers who were evacuated within the first hour. Vietnam was the first time medics were armed and carried firearms and grenades into combat. Red crosses on helmets and arm bands were no longer worn.

Advanced Individual Training - Fort Sam Houston, Texas - 10 weeks training for Combat Medic.

The training consisted of the following:

Basic health care and hygiene for self and others
We learned how to give shots (practiced on each other using saline)
Drawing blood (practiced on each other)
Starting IVs (practiced on each other)
Use of Splints for broken bones
Treatment of gunshot wounds
Treatment for Amputations
Head wounds
Shoulder dislocations
Suturing (taught by a surgeon in Vietnam)

Field Training: in stretcher usage, correct procedures for moving and carrying patients, techniques for approaching and treating patients under combat situations, Setting up different types of tents, Air medevac (this training may have been completed in Vietnam)

Hospital Duty: Most of the training was geared toward combat situations, however some general medical training was included for hospital duty such as making beds, bed pans, setting up and giving catheters and enemas to patients. I am sure there were a lot of other topics, which I do not recall today. Training films were heavily used during the training process.

Around 1998 the training began to change with the increase use of computers. The trainings aides were mannequins that responded to treatments as a person would. There were some training aids that were goats that were wounded and treated by medics and Corpsmen. An additional 6 weeks of trauma training was added to the course to help with additional training in battlefield wounds. With the downsizing of some bases a decision was made to train all medics and corpsmen in one location at Ft. Sam Houston, Texas. The Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast-Guardsmen train together and are now able to become EMT’s upon completion of the training.

The history of the Navy Corpsmen and Medic are very similar in the work that they are tasked with doing. Here is a link to the history https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zL_21j_2TY


Thank goodness that this movie is finally being made. I had heard it was being made a number of years ago, but it takes a long time to the release date. I own a copy of the documentary that was produced about 6 years ago and have been very anxious to see this movie made.

Finally, maybe the gun toting Adventists will see that God never intended for us to be armed to the teeth. We shouldn’t be putting our trust in a Smith and Wesson, it should be in God alone.

I was a CO in the Viet Nam war and back then, an Adventist simply did not kill people. Too bad we have gone so far astray.

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Err, the article claims Doss pledged to serve his country in WWII. I thought he was in Vietnam.

What a staggering toll has been spent to purchase our Freedom and Liberty. People like yourself, Desmond Doss, and millions of combatants have delivered to people like me and my family the American Dream on a platter. I am so grateful for you and primarily to our Heavenly Father for blessing the USA!!!

Robert and Rohan:

The context of this article and my comment is obviously WW2. Okay? Not the Bush/Clinton/Obama campaigns of late. And you will never hear me justify Hiroshima or Nagasaki.

You both need to take a more honest look at the Japan of that era. They wrote the book on Imperialism, my friends. There was not a nation or peoples within a thousand miles that was safe from being pillaged. The Japanese were particularly brutal on their closest neighbors, of course. Wasn’t it 20 million Chinese, Rohan, that were slaughtered? Same scenario in the entire SE Asia region. Look at the genocide, the obsession with chemical warfare, the “human experiments” the horrendous war crimes. Truly, a savage, conquering, invasive, sadistic nation.

Then there was Pearl Harbor. A personal invitation to the United States to enter the conflict. That was a pretty big mistake, wouldn’t you say? A big mistake for Japan, I mean. Not for the rest of the world. It marked the birth of liberation for tens of millions of those being crushed by the Axis powers. My grandfather was there, along with my great uncles and cousins, and friends from their “Greatest Generation.” Great men who risked everything they knew to set untold scores of perfect strangers free. I’ll always call it a blessing to have known some of them personally.

And I hope you are willing to take a look at the post war re-building, re-structuring that America facilitated that completely reversed the projection of Japan. What an amazing turnaround.

And as far as the hand of Providence in such affairs…Forgive me if I’m wrong, but aren’t you atheists? If so, then how can you be so insistent as to exactly what “God” would never do?

Yep, paid by the countries and innocent civilian families that you have bombed the F@#$ out of. Congratulations.



This film is full of ironies for Seventh-day Adventists. The most obvious, and one that will likely lead to many conversations between Adventists and their non-Adventist neighbors, is that our contemporary church today does not expect, celebrate, or even remember our pacifist heritage as a denomination. What will Adventists say when co-workers says something at work like “Wow, just watched Hacksaw Ridge this weekend with my husband. I had no idea your church takes such a strong stand on non-violence. That’s really admirable!”

I first learned about this film over a year ago when the Australian production company contacted our licensing company in Idaho to license two Harry Anderson images which will, according to them, be prints in the Doss home. At first we didn’t realize it was the Doss story and couldn’t figure out why a Mel Gibson film called Hacksaw Ridge would want Harry Anderson images. (goodsalt dot com)

So I am looking forward to seeing the film, God willing. It is also ironic that Hollywood may create the strongest public statement to date on the importance of religious liberty and freedom of conscience in a world sinking ever faster into a purposeless and valueless pit. And directed by a Roman Catholic as well.

What a time we are living in. My first thought when I realized this was going to be the Doss story was “I wonder what role this film might have in showcasing God’s agape love for the world as seen through the life of a committed Adventist follower of the Prince of Peace.”

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I sense in your comment a deep frustration that people such as @kristan_yeaton thank their own war heroes for the privileges afforded the “lucky ones back home”, while ignoring the many atrocities inflicted on the innocents in other countries, in the course of securing a victory.

I’m aware you have a strong connection to Japan, a country that is home to the only two cities in the world where nuclear bombs have been deployed on large urban populations - and that this was at the hands of the USA.

At the same time it is true that numerous individuals, on both sides of many conflicts, have acted with courage and honour, and made enormous sacrifices. Those such as Desmond Doss and Roger Lutz (the commenter to whom Kristan Yeaton responded), had no choice about being involved in the war - they were conscripted. But they stood by the courage of their convictions and refused to take up arms to fight, instead performing what was in many cases, even riskier work. In my view they are to be applauded for what they did, and I’m personally grateful for their enormous efforts.

There is an inference in Kristan Yeaton’s comment that I personally find rather offensive - forgive me if I’ve read more into this than was intended. The actions of the USA military machine in crushing many foreign populations, both military and civilian, does NOT equate to God blessing the USA. If you believe this, you might as well believe that God is American and is happy to indiscriminately kill foreigners.

Edit: @hawaiiTF, my info is that it was WWII - battle of Okinawa. See this link:


Spot on, Robert. Insightful comment.

I could only hope that I would have the same courage and integrity as a true hero such as Desmond Doss. Such persons deserve to be venerated and celebrated.

My connection with Japan certainly does influence my opinion of American imperialistic attitudes, and the association of their wars with ‘the will of God’ I find to be revolting.



WPMy son is a JAG Major in the USAF. As I recall, the Centurion had greater faith then Jesus had seen. Also, if it were not for combatants, would we have the freedom to be non-combatants? Hmmm. Seems like we need to honor both. Oh yeah, don’t call the police when the bad guys break into your house.:blush:

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No, Doss received the MOH for actions on Okinawa in WWII. We didn’t fight in Okinawa during the Vietnam war.