REAL Dental Warrior – Dr. McBadAss, WW2 Medal of Honor Recipient!

I just learned about U.S. Army dentist, Captain Ben L. Salomon.  And, wow!  What a story!

Captain Salomon US ArmyDr. Ben L. Salomon was drafted into the Army in World War II.  He ended up as a front-line surgeon.  That’s right… in war time, military dentists become trauma surgeons… then and now.  Before I was deployed on an aircraft carrier (which ended up in “Operation Desert Shield”), I had to go through C4 – Combat Casualty Care Course.”

In the Battle of Saipan, Captain Salomon was running a battlefield aid station (only 50 yards behind the first foxhole line) tending to the wounded.  It was overrun by the Japanese enemy.  After killing several Japanese soldiers with a rifle and hand-to-hand combat, he realized the four men manning a machine gun were killed.  So Salomon took over the machine gun and ordered the wounded to be evacuated.  The next day, Salomon was found dead, slumped over his machine gun.  He suffered SEVENTY-SIX bullet wounds and multiple bayonet wounds.  His finger was still on the trigger!  But, before him lay NINETY-EIGHT dead enemy soldiers. 

Here is his Medal of Honor citation.  Read it!  The details are amazing!

Captain Salomon - machine gun

Captain Ben L. Salomon was serving at Saipan, in the Marianas Islands on July 7, 1944, as the Surgeon for the 2nd Battalion, 105th Infantry Regiment, 27th Infantry Division. The Regiment’s 1st and 2d Battalions were attacked by an overwhelming force estimated between 3,000 and 5,000 Japanese soldiers. It was one of the largest attacks attempted in the Pacific Theater during World War II.

Although both units fought furiously, the enemy soon penetrated the Battalions’ combined perimeter and inflicted overwhelming casualties. In the first minutes of the attack, approximately 30 wounded soldiers walked, crawled, or were carried into Captain Salomon’s aid station, and the small tent soon filled with wounded men. As the perimeter began to be overrun, it became increasingly difficult for Captain Salomon to work on the wounded. He then saw a Japanese soldier bayoneting one of the wounded soldiers lying near the tent. Firing from a squatting position, Captain Salomon quickly killed the enemy soldier.

Then, as he turned his attention back to the wounded, two more Japanese soldiers appeared in the front entrance of the tent. As these enemy soldiers were killed, four more crawled under the tent walls. Rushing them, Captain Salomon kicked the knife out of the hand of one, shot another, and bayoneted a third. Captain Salomon butted the fourth enemy soldier in the stomach and a wounded comrade then shot and killed the enemy soldier.

Realizing the gravity of the situation, Captain Salomon ordered the wounded to make their way as best they could back to the regimental aid station, while he attempted to hold off the enemy until they were clear. Captain Salomon then grabbed a rifle from one of the wounded and rushed out of the tent. After four men were killed while manning a machine gun, Captain Salomon took control of it. When his body was later found, 98 dead enemy soldiers were piled in front of his position. Captain Salomon’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

Wow!  I’m proud to be a dentist and proud to be a veteran.  I salute Captain Ben L. Salomon!  He IS “Rambo!”  DOCTOR Rambo!

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18 Responses to REAL Dental Warrior – Dr. McBadAss, WW2 Medal of Honor Recipient!

  1. Michael Nugent says:

    WOW!!! Thank you for sharing!!! Captain Ben L. Salomon I am going to raise my glass to you tonight at dinner.

  2. One of the reasons it took 50 plus years for him to receive the MOH was that it was erroneously thought that medical personnel were ineligible for the honor.

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      Yeah… weird and sad.

      When I was in the Persian Gulf, I got “imminent danger pay.” That’s the modern euphemism for “combat pay.” And, they made sure we all had our wills and powers of attorney filled out. Bombs and missiles don’t discriminate or spare certain people if one hits the ship.

  3. Alan De Angelo says:

    Great story. Thanks for sharing and thank you for your service, too.

  4. Ken says:

    What a hero. A very sad ending yet noble story of bravery and American patriotism. We need more real life brave and heroic figures like this now!

  5. John says:

    Not to detract from the heroic deeds of Capt. Salomon…
    The site (Human Events.com) should have done a bit of research before pairing his image with what looks like either a Russian Maxim or British Vickers water-cooled machine gun.

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      I was trying to figure that out! I didn’t know what kind of gun it was, and I tried to find out what he actually used. Even with my strong Google-fu… I couldn’t find it.

      • John says:

        Salomon was at an American battalion area. He saw the men manning the machine gun were down and he moved to get it back into action. To me that means Americans were killed operating an American crew served machine gun. The only guns that could have been there were Browning .30 or .50 (air or water-cooled). The art director screwed up this one.

  6. Great article! Thank you so much for sharing.

  7. 44DentalCare says:

    Wow amazing story! Thanks for sharing it!

  8. ellebelle says:

    Wow! My grandfather (also a dentist, got a full ride because he played football for Pop Warner at Temple) was also sent overseas during WWII. He ended up in the European Theater a few days after D-Day, yes, as a surgeon. He never, ever talked about it, ever. I cannot imagine the horror. The only story I know is that at one point he was behind enemy lines and the only way he knew that was because, gulp, there he heard German soldiers. Fortunately, my grandmother spoke fluent German (and indeed worked after WW2 translating) so I guess he understood enough (from being with her) to get out of whatever situation he was in. Dr. Salomon was definitely an amazing hero! I cannot say that I am surprised by his actions, since I think most of us go into dentistry for the living, but also for being able to help others.

  9. J G Spanyer says:

    Until this date, 9/21/2015, I never knew Ben Soloman had received the Medal of Honor. I had been told by my parents that he had been nominated for it but it had been denied because he had not removed the Red Cross medical insignia from his arm or helmet when he had picked up the rifle as the Japs were killing our wounded laying outside the medical tent. In the 1950’s, there was a men’s magazine called “Argosy” that carried a story of Ben Soloman titled, “Captain Ben”. When I was about 16, I had a copy of the magazine containing the article. It was either given to me by his father when I visited his father and mother in Los Angeles or shortly after I returned home from our family visit. Ben Soloman’s father was a distant cousin on my mother’s side of the family. Wish I could found that magazine or at least a copy of the article to pass on to my two grandsons. Nice to know he finally received the Medal of Honor but too bad his parents never knew about it. (Well, perhaps now they do now that they’re together.)

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      Thanks for sharing your memory. It’s nice to know that Captain Soloman’s story has not been completely forgotten.

  10. What a great article honoring one of our nation’s great heroes!

    Here is the full citation for Capt. Saloman from the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation: themedalofhonor.com/medal-of-honor-recipients/recipients/salomon-benjamin-world-war-two

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      Thanks for visiting and reading my article, Colonel Caldwell! I see that you are the COO of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation, now. I’m honored that you saw fit to comment and compliment my article. I have great respect for all MOH recipients. Of course, being a dentist, Captain Saloman’s story was even more special. And, what a story… that should be told and retold!

      Also… I turned the web address in your comment into an active link. Thanks!

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