The media is full of awesome, ridiculously badass heroes in warfare, from the fictional cast of Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan to John Rambo, everybody’s favourite Vietnam vet and headband model. Even those with the most cursory knowledge of history will be aware of real life war heroes as well, whether it’s Winston Churchill – the British bulldog who lead the country during the Second World War – or Oskar Schindler – who saved hundreds of lives whilst working undercover in the Nazi party.
There are plenty of soldier, spies and good samaritans that don’t appear in the history books, though, people who have never had films made about them even though they’re A. Just as badass and B. Just as important as the entire cast of Band Of Brothers put together.
War is an ugly, horrible thing that has plagued us since the dawn of man, but every once in a while you get a glimmering example of how good humanity can be. And how awesome they can be, too.
These are ten badass war heroes you’ve never heard of but, after you’ve read this, won’t be able to stop going on about.
10. Ben L. Salomon
Benjamin Lewis Salomon did not live a life of excitement. Unless being a dentist in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is your idea of excitement, in which case the rest of this article is going to blow your tiny mind. Salomon was drafted into the US Army in 1940 although, thanks to his medical degree, he was posted as an officer in the Army Dental Corps rather than being stuck on the frontlines. As it happens he might’ve actually done better in the trenches than he did in the field hospitals, but all in good time…
Salomon saw his first Pacific Theatre combat in June of 1944, going ashore in Saipan, having already been promoted to lieutenant. Since dental work isn’t a high priority when you’ve got German artillery bearing down on you, Benjamin went ahead and picked up the slack of the 2nd Battalion’s surgeon, who had been wounded. Which is pretty nice of him, but don’t worry, the real badassery is still forthcoming. Because as the battle continued in Saipan so did the casualties begin to rise, with the 2nd Battalion, the soldiers pushed back and Salomon’s aid station set up about fifty yards behind the forward foxhole line.
Whilst patching people up and doing a few routine route canals, Japanese forces overwhelmed the medical tent and, rather than panicking like a little wuss – as we probably would’ve – he shot two enemy soldiers, headbutted another, and then provided covering fire so the wounded to escape.
When they returned to the tent later, the Battalion found Salomon dead. Surrounded by the bodies of about a hundred Japanese soldiers. This was a dentist, we would like to remind you.