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.