ByRob Harris, writer at
Sometimes I play video games.
Rob Harris

After watching the newly released trailer for DC's deranged blockbuster, I got to thinking: Have there ever been any real life suicide squads?

Obviously I don't mean a rag-tag band of super-powered comic book characters, but rather actual men and women who showed incredible heroism in the face of certain death.

It takes a special kind of courage to walk into a disaster situation with the knowledge that you aren't going to walk out, yet the following martyrs did just that to save the lives of total strangers. Such selfless, sacrificial acts should never be forgotten, so let's take a moment to remember those who showed inordinate bravery during the toughest of times...

1. The Dorchester Chaplains

Four chaplains stationed aboard the troop transport ship Dorchester made the ultimate sacrifice in an act of nigh-inconceivable selflessness. Hit by a submarine torpedo, the ship started to sink. George Fox, Alexander Goode, John Washington, and Clark Poling started facilitating the evacuation, dispensing life jackets to the crew.

When they had none left to give, they took off their own and gave them away. As the Dorchester went down, the four chaplains linked arms and started to sing together; a serene and strangely beautiful image that's as tragic as it is inspiring.

2. Lieutenant John Robert Fox and His Men

1st Lieutenant John Robert Fox's heroic act of self sacrifice was so exceptional that it earned himself a posthumous Congressional Medal of Honor. Defending the relentless advance of a ferocious German army, Fox was in charge of calling in artillery strikes to protect the Italian town of Sommocolonia.

Facing overwhelming odds, he realized he could not hold the soldiers back and chose to call in a final airstrike on his own position. His body was found amongst the remains of over 100 enemy soldiers, committing suicide to ensure the safety of millions of Americans back at home.

3. Alexei Ananenko, Valeri Bezpalov and Boris Baranov

The Chernobyl disaster was one of the most devastating catastrophes in modern times, but it could have been a heck of a lot worse if not for the bravery of these three men.

After the initial explosion in the nuclear power plant, it was discovered that a chamber containing a lump of radioactive carbon was about to cause a devastating steam explosion, pumping thousands of tons of deadly material into the atmosphere. That is, unless the pool inside could be drained. These three men volunteered for the job, jumping into the pool to open a valve. They died from being exposed to the radiation, but saved countless lives in the process.

4. Dr. Liviu Librescu

I still shudder when hearing the words "Virginia Tech," thinking of the inconceivable terror the victims of the senseless school shooting must've faced.

But one man, Dr. Liviu Librescu, summoned his fearless resolve at the most crucial moment. Librescu, a professor at the school, barricaded the door to his classroom to protect his students and refused to let the psychotic shooter in. The 76-year-old succeeded in saving his class by blocking the door, but took 5 bullets doing so.

5. Arland Williams

After Air Florida Flight 90 crash landed in a frozen lake, a rescue helicopter was sent out to save the survivors. The helicopter threw down a life-ring to passenger Arland Williams, who then gave it to the guy next to him. Williams did this again and again, repeatedly putting the lives of strangers over his. When the chopper came back one last time for him, Williams was found dead, having devoted his last remaining breaths to save total strangers.

6. Oleg Ivanovich Okhrimenko

Oleg and his team of Russian Special Forces were tasked with taking down a frenzied, armed criminal. The criminal took a female hostage and ran directly at police, before dropping a live grenade. Realizing what had happened, Oleg did something few would have the courage to do, he threw his own body on top of the grenade, taking the blast to save his comrades and the innocent hostage.

7. Unnamed Dog

This courageous canine proved that dogs really are a man's best friend. His owner, a 48-year-old suicidal man, drank a bottle of vodka and passed out on a train track. Spotting a train coming, the dog mustered all its energy to drag the drunken owner off the tracks. The dog succeeded in saving the man, but was hit by the train in the process and died instantly.

[Source: Wikipedia, ListVerse]


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