Former Fort Hood Soldier, POW to Receive Medal of Honor Posthumously
(KCEN) -- A former Fort Hood soldier who was assigned to the 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division will be awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously.
The ceremony will take place at the White House on April 11.
Chaplain Emil Joseph Kapaun, a captain who served with Headquarters Company in the Korean War, will receive the Medal as an upgrade to the Distinguished Service Cross he was awarded on August 18, 1951.
Kapaun was not only a Korean War veteran but a veteran of World War II as well. His regiment was attacked by enemies and he sacrificed his safety to tend to the wounded.
In the Korean War, the troops he was with were told to break through the surrounding enemies. Kapaun stayed back to give medical treatment and religious help to anyone who needed it. That happened on November 2, 1950.
Kapaun was captured along with other POWs and had to walk more than 85 miles to Pyoktong, North Korea.
During this long trek through snow and ice, Kapaun helped wounded service members. He would sneak around during his captivity to offer prayers for them and support them.
Kapaun showed his bravery even more by moving able-bodied soldiers to the countryside at night to get food and firewood to keep the prisoners alive. Because of that, other POWs called him the "good thief."
"Father Emil Kapaun is an American hero who embodies the Medal of Honor's ideals as our nation's highest award for military service," said Maj. Gen. Anthony Ierardi, commanding general of the 1st Cavalry Division, at Fort Hood. "He distinguished himself with valor before his capture and continued to care for his fellow Soldiers at a great risk to himself while interned in a Prisoner of War Camp. Although Father Kapaun did not survive to be liberated along with hundreds of the prisoners he ministered to and assisted, his faith, honor and selfless devotion to duty reflects the finest tradition of the U.S. Army, the 1st Cavalry Division and the Army Chaplain Corps."
Kapaun died from a blood clot as a prisoner of war on May 23, 1951. He had been a POW since that night where he stayed behind to render aid on November 2, 1950.
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