World War II and Korean War Chaplain Capt. Emil Kapaun’s story.
Communist forces encircled the 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, assigned to provide a rear guard for the regiment’s withdrawal, Nov. 1, 1950, near Unsan, Korea. Chaplain Capt. Emil Kapaun spent the night moving among the foxholes, under direct enemy fire, providing comfort and medical aid to his fellow Soldiers.
“His courageous manner inspired all those present and many men who otherwise might have fled in panic were encouraged by his presence, and remained to fight the advancing enemy,” Kapaun’s Distinguished Service Cross citation read.
The battalion withdrew across a nearby river when Chinese commandos attacked the command post. Kapaun returned to help the wounded and gathered about 30 men into a dugout for protection. His dedication to his fellow Soldiers persisted throughout the day Nov. 2, where he repeatedly rescued wounded men under heavy enemy fire. As the day wore on, it became clear the battalion’s position was hopeless, but Kapaun rejected several opportunities to escape. He eventually made his was back to the dugout where more men had gathered, to include a wounded Chinese officer.
As the enemy closed in, Kapaun was able to convince the Chinese officer to negotiate for the safety of the wounded Americans and the group was taken captive.
Story by Jacqueline M. Hames, Soldiers Live