Friday, February 22, 2013
The Secretary of Defense has recommended to President Obama that Kansan and Korean War hero Father Emil Kapaun receive the Medal of Honor.
During the Korean War, Father Kapaun served as a chaplain of the 8th Cavalry Regiment of the First Army Division. Amidst the devastating Battle of Unsan, Kapaun pulled wounded soldiers to safety and attended to their injuries. He was taken prisoner along with other American soldiers and carried severely injured fellow soldiers on his back, while rallying others to help in a similar fashion.
While in the prison camp he served his comrades by escaping to steal food from nearby farms to bring back to the starving prisoners. He cared for sick soldiers, washed them, shared his food with them, and inspired them with his unfailing faith and acts of generosity until his death in May 1951. Father Kapaun was from Pilsen, Kansas.
Fellow soldiers who benefitted from or witnessed the many examples of Father Kapaun’s service shared the stories of his heroism after their release.
"Today is a great day for Father Kapaun’s family and the many Kansans and other Americans whose lives were touched by him and who cherish his memory,” said Congressman Mike Pompeo. “This announcement means that Father Kapaun finally will be properly recognized for his bravery and selfless acts of compassion for his fellow soldiers during their time of captivity.
A Kansas congressional delegation offered legislation in both the House and the Senate to waive the time limitation and award the Medal of Honor to Father Kapaun. The legislation was included in the final fiscal year 2012 National Defense Authorization Act.
The ceremony is set for April 11.