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.
EDITOR'S NOTE: CNN’s Jake Tapper takes viewers inside the deadly battle at Combat Outpost Keating in an exclusive interview with Romesha and others who fought off the Taliban attack. “An American Hero: The Uncommon Valor of Clint Romesha” will air Thursday, February 7th at 10pET on CNN.
Next week, President Barack Obama will award former U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Clinton Romesha the nation's highest award for combat valor for his actions in repelling a deadly insurgent onslaught in Afghanistan in October 2009. He is the fourth living recipient to receive the award for service in Iraq or Afghanistan.
In an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper, Romesha describes his thoughts about seeing Combat Outpost Keating for the first time. The remote outpost was at the foot of three large mountains and surrounded by a river on one side as well. By all military standards, the base was virtually impossible to defend because of the looming mountains that would ultimately give the Taliban a tactical advantage to shoot down into the base and offer deep cover to those fighters in the rocky mountainsides.
"This is a pretty indefensible spot. This is the exact opposite of when you open up the manual and look in to find the definition of finding a defensible spot, this is the total opposite of it," Romesha said in the interview with Tapper. FULL POST
By Mike Mount
A former U.S. Army staff sergeant will receive the nation's highest award for combat valor for his actions in repelling an insurgent onslaught in Afghanistan in 2009. He is the fourth living recipient to receive the award for service in Iraq or Afghanistan.
President Obama said on Friday that Clinton Romesha will receive the Medal of Honor next month.
Romesha is being recognized for his courage while a section leader with Bravo Troop, 3-61 Cavalry, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, at combat outpost Keating.
The assault on the outpost in the eastern province of Nuristan goes down as one of the deadliest attacks on U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
By Larry Shaughnessy
Dakota Meyer, one of America's most-recent Medal of Honor recipients, was the victim in an altercation that left him with minor injuries, Kentucky authorities said Thursday.
Meyer was taken to Westlake Hospital early Sunday morning after a scuffle at the Red Barn Event Center near his home in Columbia, according to Trooper 1st Class Billy Gregory of Kentucky State Police.
By Larry Shaughnessy
The U.S. House of Representatives Thursday overwhelmingly passed a new version of the Stolen Valor Act, a bill aimed at people who lie about receiving military medals and then attempt to profit from the deception.
The first version of the Stolen Valor Act was struck down by the Supreme Court as a violation of the First Amendment.
The bill focuses not on people who lie about having medals they didn't earn, but on any profits they make from lying about the medals, which is essentially criminal fraud.
By CNN Supreme Court Producer Bill Mears
The Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a federal law making it a crime to falsely claim military medals earned.
The 6-3 ruling was a free speech victory but perhaps in name only - for a onetime California public official who publicly lied about winning the prestigious Medal of Honor.
At issue is the constitutional value of false statements of fact, and whether Congress went too far when passing the Stolen Valor Act in 2006.
By Larry Shaughnessy
Rose Mary Sabo Brown spent just 30 days with her new husband, Army Spec. Leslie Sabo Jr., before he shipped out to fight in Vietnam. But from that month together in 1969 grew a lifetime of love.
"We got married in September, he got to come home that weekend and we spent the night together and he had to go back to Georgia the next day," Brown told CNN. After that, Sabo was off to training before returning home for 30 days that fall.
"We only had that one month together as a married couple," she told CNN. "He left for Vietnam and I never saw him again."
By Charley Keyes
Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer and defense contractor BAE announced Thursday an "amicable" end to their dispute.
Meyer filed a lawsuit in Texas in June claiming BAE, his former employer, had punished him for objecting to a weapons sale to Pakistan, and had prevented him from finding other work by portraying him as unstable and a problem drinker. The lawsuit against the company and his former supervisor has been dropped. (Also read: Marines stand by version of Medal of Honor battle)
"BAE Systems OASYS and I have settled our differences amicably," Meyer said in a joint statement issued by the company, referring to the company by its full name. Meyer praised the defense firm's support for veterans and generosity to the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation.
There were no details of any possible monetary settlement.
"During my time there I became concerned about the possible sale of advanced thermal scopes to Pakistan. I expressed my concerns directly and respectfully," Meyer said. "I am gratified to learn that BAE Systems OASYS did not ultimately sell and does not intend to sell advanced thermal scopes to Pakistan."
The company faced the difficult task of a potentially drawn-out legal battle against an American hero. FULL POST
By CNN's Charley Keyes
The Marine Corps is fighting back against a newspaper report that it exaggerated the bravery of a hero of the Afghanistan war who received the nation's highest military honor.
President Barack Obama awarded Cpl. Dakota Meyer the Medal of Honor at a White House ceremony in September and spoke about Meyer's heroism in trying to rescue fallen comrades, returning again and again to the middle of an ambush to aid both Americans and Afghan troops.
McClatchy Newspapers, which conducted an investigation into the accounts, said on its website that parts of the Marine Corps' account of the battle were "untrue, unsubstantiated or exaggerated." The article noted the exaggerations probably were unnecessary and that Meyer did deserve the medal for his heroic acts.
In a statement Wednesday, the Marine Corps said it firmly stands behind "the Medal of Honor (MOH) process and the conclusion that this Marine rightly deserved the nation's highest military honor."
The Marines say the award is "entirely appropriate and well-deserved," and that their investigation as part of the award process focused on direct eyewitness accounts and other recorded information.
But the Marines do admit that over the course of a six-hour battle, not every witness had "equal and accurate visibility or situational clarity on every activity." FULL POST
By Charley Keyes
America's newest Medal of Honor recipient has filed a lawsuit against his former employer, defense contractor BAE Systems, alleging the company and his supervisor there punished him for his opposition to a weapons sale to Pakistan and prevented him from finding other work by portraying him as a problem drinker and mentally unstable.
Dakota Meyer, who was awarded the honor in September, objected to the company's sale of high-tech armaments to Pakistan, according to the lawsuit, saying the U.S. weapons sale is "giving to guys who are known to stab us in the back" and "the same people who are killing our guys."
In response, BAE is carefully pushing forward with defending itself in the case while not personally criticizing the Medal of Honor recipient.
"As an organization whose core focus is to support and protect our nation's troops, we are incredibly grateful to Dakota Meyer for his valiant service and bravery above and beyond the call of duty," Brian J. Roehrkasse, a BAE spokesman, told CNN. "Although we strongly disagree with his claims, which we intend to vigorously defend through the appropriate legal process, we wish him success and good fortune in all his endeavors." FULL POST