Fr Emil Kapaun


Book Reviewer
I was talking today with a retired naval officer who earned the Medal in Vietnam. He said he had not heard of him until recently but after hearing about him said it sounded like an appropriate medal to him and he hopes it is awarded. He has a much better grasp of the criteria for award than I do.
The story has been known for some time. almost as familiar is Fr. Francis Sampson of the 101st Airborne Served WWII(including as a Kriegie at Stalag II-A), Korea and Vietnam, with Combat Jumps in Normandy, Holland and Korea. Fr. William Cummings of the Phillipine division at Bataan who died in a hellship. ALso Fr. John Duffy also at Bataan. Bayonetted 3 times and left for dead, Baseball batted and tortured he refused to collaborate.
Another notable chaplain who earned the Medal of Honor was Father Joe O'Callaghan. He served on USS Franklin. When you read his medal citation you realize he was one busy padre during the attack on Franklin. The medal citation reads:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as chaplain on board the U.S.S. Franklin when that vessel was fiercely attacked by enemy Japanese aircraft during offensive operations near Kobe, Japan, on 19 March 1945. A valiant and forceful leader, calmly braving the perilous barriers of flame and twisted metal to aid his men and his ship, Lt. Comdr. O'Callahan groped his way through smoke-filled corridors to the open flight deck and into the midst of violently exploding bombs, shells, rockets, and other armament. With the ship rocked by incessant explosions, with debris and fragments raining down and fires raging in ever-increasing fury, he ministered to the wounded and dying, comforting and encouraging men of all faiths; he organized and led firefighting crews into the blazing inferno on the flight deck; he directed the jettisoning of live ammunition and the flooding of the magazine; he manned a hose to cool hot, armed bombs rolling dangerously on the listing deck, continuing his efforts, despite searing, suffocating smoke which forced men to fall back gasping and imperiled others who replaced them. Serving with courage, fortitude, and deep spiritual strength, Lt. Cmdr. O'Callahan inspired the gallant officers and men of the Franklin to fight heroically and with profound faith in the face of almost certain death and to return their stricken ship to port.[
Also to add to the story of Fr. O'Callaghan, the Franklin had 725 Killed, 265 wounded in that attack. the dead outnumbered the living who were still fighting off Kamikaze and trying to put out the fires and save trapped shipmates at the same time. The crew were still finding shipmates remains for weeks afterwards and burying them at sea whil under tow to repair yard.

USS Franklin (CV-13) "The Ship That Wouldn't Die"
Such bravery. And so many years it has taken to come to light. So true are the words "They fought for our Freedom".
Anyone awarded medals for gallantry has my respect, but those who are brave day after day, or volunteer to put themselves in harm's way later in the day are another breed altogether. I hope he is awarded it.

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