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Motivators - Stories of Chaplain Courage and Valor

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  • Motivators - Stories of Chaplain Courage and Valor


    ""The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Emil Joseph Kapaun (O-0558217), Captain (Chaplain), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United Nations while serving as Chaplain with Headquarters Company, 8th Cavalry Regiment (Infantry), 1st Cavalry Division. Captain (Chaplain) Kapaun distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action against enemy aggressor forces in the vicinity of Unsan, Korea, on 1 and 2 November 1950.

    On the afternoon of 1 November 1950, and continuing through the following 36 hours, the regiment was subjected to a relentless, fanatical attack by hostile troops attempting to break through the perimeter defense. In the early morning hours, the enemy succeeded in breaking through the defenses, and hand-to-hand combat ensued in the immediate vicinity of the command post where the aid station had been set up. Chaplain Kapaun, with complete disregard for his personal safety, calmly moved among the wounded men, giving them medical aid and easing their fears. His courageous manner inspired all those present and many men who might otherwise have fled in panic were encouraged by his presence and remained to fight the enemy.

    As the battle progressed, the number of wounded increased greatly and it became apparent that many of the men would not be able to escape the enemy encirclement. Finally, at dusk on November 2, 1950, the remaining able- bodied men were ordered to attempt to break through the surrounding enemy. At this time, although fully aware of the great danger, Chaplain Kapaun voluntarily remained behind, and when last seen was administering medical treatment and rendering religious rites wherever needed.

    Headquarters, Eighth U.S. Army, Korea: General Orders No. 625 (August 18, 1951)
    Born: 4/20/1916 at Pilsen, Kansas
    Home Town: Marion, Kansas""

    Stars and Stripes:

    ""Communist forces in the fall of 1950 had overrun the 1st Cavalry Division in northern Korea near the Chinese border, and American commanders ordered their forces to retreat. Kapaun, a Catholic priest with the 3rd Battalion, refused and stayed to care for the men who couldn't flee.

    While in captivity, Kapaun risked his life to steal food from the surrounding fields and sneaked away to a nearby river to clean cotton bandages for the wounded held in a dirty and unsanitary prison camp.

    Many veterans who have survived the camp credit Kapaun for helping them get through the ordeal. He is remembered for defying camp rules forbidding religious services. On Easter Sunday in 1951, he held Mass using broken wood to make a cross and barbed wire to form a rosary.

    On May 25, Kapaun died while in captivity. The military posthumously awarded Kapaun the Distinguished Service Cross, but Korean veterans have requested that he receive the Medal of Honor. In 1993, the Vatican named him a €œServant of God.€ Some Catholic war veterans are campaigning for Kapaun to become a saint.""
    Last edited by Chaplain4me; July 8th, 2011, 01:53 PM.

  • #2
    Re: Motivators - Chaplain stories of Courage and Valor


    "“…Assigned to the 1st Division, Quaely – against the advice of senior officers at field headquarters in Dau Tieng – insisted on boarding a helicopter of medics and troop reinforcements flying to the relief of the Big Red One’s 1st Battalion, under attack in War Zone C, northwest of Saigon. Landing at the battle site, Father Quealy hurriedly gave last rites to dying soldiers from a platoon of B Company. Just then, a Viet Cong soldier stepped out from the brush, fired at the chaplain with a machine gun…Within moments, Quealy was dead. From his pocket fell his diary: the last entry was a passage copied out from the Gospel according to Matthew: “So will my heavenly Father treat you unless each of you forgives his brother with all his heart.”"…

    Chaplain Quealy died while crawling from wounded soldier to wounded solider. He was the first chaplain to die in the Vietnam War.
    Last edited by Chaplain4me; July 8th, 2011, 01:59 PM.


    • #3
      Re: Motivators - Chaplain stories of Courage and Valor


      It was Feb. 3rd 1943, and the U.S. Army Transport Dorchester was
      one of three ships in a convoy, moving across the Atlantic from
      Newfoundland to an American base in Greenland. A converted luxury
      liner, the Dorchester was crowded to capacity, carrying 902 servicemen,
      merchant seamen and civilian workers. It was only 150 miles from its
      destination when shortly after midnight, an officer aboard the German
      submarine U2 spotted it. After identifying and targeting the ship, he
      gave orders to fire. The hit was decisive, striking the ship, far below
      the water line. The initial blast killed scores of men and seriously
      wounded many more. Others, stunned by the explosion were groping in the
      darkness. Panic and chaos quickly set in! Men were screaming, others
      crying or franticly trying to get lifeboats off the ship.

      Through the pandemonium, four men spread out among the soldiers,
      calming the frightened, tending the wounded and guiding the disoriented
      toward safety. They were four Army chaplains, Lt. George Fox, a
      Methodist; Lt. Alexander Goode, a Jewish Rabbi; Lt. John Washington, a
      Roman Catholic Priest; and Lt. Clark Poling, a Dutch Reformed minister.
      Quickly and quietly the four chaplains worked to bring calm to the men.
      As soldiers began to find their way to the deck of the ship, many were
      still in their underwear, where they were confronted by the cold winds
      blowing down from the arctic. Petty Officer John J. Mahoney, reeling
      from the cold, headed back towards his cabin. "Where are you going?" a
      voice of calm in the sea of distressed asked? "To get my gloves,"
      Mahoney replied. "Here, take these," said Rabbi Goode as he handed a
      pair of gloves to the young officer. "I can't take those gloves,"
      Mahoney replied. "Never mind," the Rabbi responded. "I have two pairs."
      It was only long after that Mahoney realized that the chaplain never
      intended to leave the ship.

      Once topside, the chaplains opened a storage locker and began
      distributing life jackets.
      It was then that Engineer Grady Clark witnessed an astonishing sight.
      When there were no more lifejackets in the storage room, the chaplains
      simultaneously removed theirs and gave them to four frightened young
      men. When giving their life jackets, Rabbi Goode did not call out for a
      ***; Father Washington did not call out for a Catholic; nor did Fox or
      Poling call out for a Protestant. They simply gave their life jackets to
      the next man in line. One survivor would later call it "It was the
      finest thing I have seen or hope to see this side of heaven."

      As the ship went down, survivors in nearby rafts could see the
      four chaplains -- arms linked and braced against the slanting deck.
      Their voices could also be heard offering prayers and singing hymns. Of
      the 902 men aboard the U.S.A.T. Dorchester, only 230 survived. Before
      boarding the Dorchester back in January, Chaplain Poling had asked his
      father to pray for him, "Not for my safe return, that wouldn't be fair.
      Just pray that I shall do my duty...never be a coward...and have the
      strength, courage and understanding of men. Just pray that I shall be

      Although the Distinguished Service Cross and Purple Heart were
      later awarded posthumously Congress wished to confer the Medal of Honor
      but was blocked by the stringent requirements which required heroism
      performed under fire. So a posthumous Special Medal for Heroism, The
      Four Chaplains' Medal, was authorized by Congress and awarded by the
      President on January 18, 1961. It was never before given and will never
      to be given again.
      Last edited by Chaplain4me; July 8th, 2011, 02:01 PM.


      • #4
        Re: Motivators - Chaplain stories of Courage and Valor

        A True Story

        I was talking with a combat veteran today. Who said that he was at a fob that was shelled by mortars all the time. Well they were having a chapel service and a shell came in and blew all of the windows out of the chapel. Everyone hit the deck, but the chaplain stood there and kept speaking about what he was talking about, faith. I thought that was worth sharing.
        Last edited by Chaplain4me; July 24th, 2011, 10:58 PM.


        • #5
          Re: Motivators - Chaplain stories of Courage and Valor

          Chaplain William Corby at the second day of Gettysburg climbed onto a large rock, exposing himself to enemy fire and pronouced absolution for his troops as they faced the onslaught of enemy forces. As bullets and cannon balls whistled overhead the soldiers of various backgrounds knelt before the chaplain to receive prayer. The troops then rejoined the battle to repel the enemy forces.


          • #6
            Re: Motivators - Chaplain stories of Courage and Valor

            Chaplain MG Robert Preston Taylor, participated in the Bataan Death March (though not a MG at the time). He continued his ministry while in detention. He resisted his enemy captors by working with outside help to smuggle contraband into the camp. During the detention the chaplains in the camp were instrumental in maintaining the morale of the some 8000 prisoners, along with intelligence gathering and smuggling contraband during the three year interment. After being caught for smuggling in contraband he nearly died while in a "hot box." CH Taylor is a true American hero, along with all the others that endured so much suffering. If you are interested in how chaplains operate when they are detained, then the book "Ghost Soldiers" is a good source of information.


            • #7
              Re: Motivators - Chaplain stories of Courage and Valor

              Rev. John G. Burkhalter was a professional boxer who became a Southern Baptist minister in Florida in 1932. He then earned a degree in history and immediately joined the military when he graduated in 1942. Burkhalter was assigned as a chaplain with the First Infantry and landed in Normandy with Allied forces during the D-Day invasion on August June 6, 1944. In October, Burkhalter worked to recover the wounded and dead during the Battle of the Bulge. He went missing for several weeks and was discovered in a French hospital, having sustained several head wounds during the battle. Burkhalter was awarded the Silver Star and Bronze Star as well as a Purple Heart for his activities under fire. After the war, he stayed with the army, eventually serving in the Korean War. Burkhalter retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1969. In 1992, he was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

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