Today, Chaplain (Capt.) Emil J. Kapaun will be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, which is the nation’s highest medal for valor in combat.
Kapaun is receiving the Medal of Honor for actions above and beyond the call of duty during the Korean War. Kapaun was a Chaplain (Roman Catholic Priest) assigned to the 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, near Unsan, North Pyongang province in present-day North Korea. His most courageous acts took place during combat while under direct fire from the enemy. He also demonstrated the highest moral character and caliber by his compassionate acts during his time as a prisoner of war, when he helped inspire fellow prisoners by delivering care to the sick and wounded, providing hope and inspiration through prayer, and risking his life to collect and distribute materials and food. Those acts of service clearly epitomize today’s Army values, and he performed his combat ministry under the most difficult conditions, without regard for his own personal safety, health, and welfare.
The selfless sacrifices Kapaun and the thousands of the Veterans who fought in Korea to ensure the freedom and prosperity we enjoy today must always be remembered. These Veterans shivered in the trenches, tracked through knee-deep mud, flew combat missions over rugged mountainous terrain, and stood watch over hostile seas set aside their own comfort, safety and aspirations to answer the call to arms at a time when our nation was still exhausted from the horrors of World War II.
Join us in honoring Veterans of the Korean War, including members of the Armed Forces who were held as prisoners of war or listed as missing in action, for their service and sacrifice on behalf of the United States.
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