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Emil Joseph Kapaun

Date of birth: April 20, 1916
Date of death: KIA (As a POW): May 23, 1951
Place of Birth: Kansas, Pilsen
Home of record: Marion Kansas
Status: POW

Father Kapaun was also a veteran of service in World War II. During the action that in Korea that earned him the Distinguished Service Cross, Father Kapaun was subsequently captured and held as a Prisoner of War until he was killed while in captivity on May 23, 1951. His remains have never been recovered. In 2012 his D.S.C. was upgraded to award of the Medal of Honor.

AWARDS AND CITATIONS

Medal of Honor

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Awarded for actions during the Korean War

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor (Posthumously) to Captain (Chaplain) Emil Joseph Kapaun, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action above and beyond the call of duty. Chaplain Kapaun distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the 3d Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division during combat operations against an armed enemy at Unsan, Korea, from 1 - 2 November 1950. On 1 November, as Chinese Communist Forces viciously attacked friendly elements, Chaplain Kapaun calmly walked through withering enemy fire in order to provide comfort and medical aid to his comrades and rescue friendly wounded from no-man's land. Though the Americans successfully repelled the assault, they found themselves surrounded by the enemy. Facing annihilation, the able-bodied men were ordered to evacuate. However, Chaplain Kapaun, fully aware of his certain capture, elected to stay behind with the wounded. After the enemy succeeded in breaking through the defense in the early morning hours of 2 November, Chaplain Kapaun continually made rounds, as hand-to-hand combat ensued. As Chinese Communist Forces approached the American position, Chaplain Kapaun noticed an injured Chinese officer amongst the wounded and convinced him to negotiate the safe surrender of the American Forces. Shortly after his capture, Chaplain Kapaun, with complete disregard for his personal safety and unwavering resolve, bravely pushed aside an enemy soldier preparing to execute Sergeant First Class Herbert A. Miller. Not only did Chaplain Kapaun's gallantry save the life of Sergeant Miller, but also his unparalleled courage and leadership inspired all those present, including those who might have otherwise fled in panic, to remain and fight the enemy until captured. Chaplain Kapaun's extraordinary heroism and selflessness, above and beyond the call of duty, are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the 3d Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, the 1st Cavalry Division, and the United States Army.

General Orders: Headquarters, Eighth U.S. Army, Korea: General Orders No. 625 (August 18, 1951)

Action Date: November 1 & 2, 1950

Service: Army

Rank: Captain

Company: Headquarters Company

Regiment: 8th Cavalry Regiment (Infantry)

Division: 1st Cavalry Division

Prisoner of War Medal

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Awarded for actions during the Korean War

Captain (Chaplain) Emil Joseph Kapaun (ASN: 0-00558217), United States Army, was held as a Prisoner of War after he was captured on 2 November 1950 during the Korean War and was held until his death in captivity on or about 23 May 1951.

General Orders: Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office

Action Date: November 2, 1950 - May 23, 1951 (MIA)

Service: Army

Rank: Captain

Division: Prisoner of War (Korean War)