April 10th, 2013
10:54 PM ET

Soldier priest to get ultimate medal

By Larry Shaughnessy, CNN Pentagon Producer

Capt. Emil Kapaun served in the U.S. Army in World War II and Korea but he didn’t carry a rifle and never fired a shot.  His weapons were a Bible and his faith.

Capt. Kapaun was also Father Kapaun, a Roman Catholic chaplain who will be awarded the Medal of Honor on Thursday, 60 years after his death while a North Korean prisoner.  The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in the U.S. military.

Kapaun was born and raised in Pilsen, Kansas. After high school he attended Conception Abbey, a Benedictine monastery in Missouri. After the abbey, he studied for the priesthood at Kenrick Seminary in St. Louis. Kapaun was ordained in 1940 and that same year became a U.S. Army chaplain.

After serving at several posts in the United States and India, he left the Army and went to the Catholic University of America in Washington to earn a master's degree in education. After getting the degree in 1948, he returned to the Army.

In June 1950, Kapaun was ordered to Korea as the war was in its earliest stages.

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soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Pete

    Hopefully Capt.Kapaun may have changed some of those Asian heathens lives ..Rest in peace sir ,with or without a gun we know you've changed peoples lives for the good we pray...

    April 11, 2013 at 6:09 pm | Reply
  2. George Patton-2

    Here's just more evidence that the Korean War(1950-1953) should not have been fought. We should have let the Russians occupy all of Korea while we occupied all of J apan. Now we have a powder keg in the Far East just like the Balkan Peninsula in Europe was just prior to WW1.

    April 11, 2013 at 1:31 am | Reply
    • Jerry

      Wrong. We should have taken N. Korea before the Chinese got involved. If we had, this would not be an issue and we would not owe the Chinese money mongerers half our national wealth.

      April 11, 2013 at 9:25 am | Reply
    • John Geheran

      Well said, George. How true that rings! Does anyone here remember happened in the Balkans prior to 1914? I suppose not since most of these bloggers appear to be ignorant!

      April 12, 2013 at 7:13 pm | Reply
  3. wjm

    I only have one question what took so damn long? May the man rest in peace.

    April 11, 2013 at 12:47 am | Reply
    • StanCalif

      Don't know anything about this; however, maybe it's possible that his record had to be "cleaned up" first! Today we know much more about the behaviours of Catholic priests! He left the Army, then returned. Why? Lots of young boys? Priests seem to prefer boys!

      April 11, 2013 at 8:01 am | Reply
      • Tess

        If you don't know anything about him, why the insulting comment? Inform yourself before rash judgement. And consider reading his amazing life story in the book "Shepherd in Combat Boots."

        This man was truly saintly.

        April 11, 2013 at 9:51 pm |

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