Korean War Chaplain Awarded Posthumous Medal of Honor

President Obama on Thursday awarded the late Capt. Emil J. Kapaun, a Roman Catholic priest from Kansas who served as an Army chaplain during the Korean War, a posthumous Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military decoration. Ray Kapaun, nephew of the late priest, accepted the medal on behalf of his uncle during the award ceremony in the White House’s East Room. Obama honored Chaplain Kapaun for his conspicuous gallantry while serving with the 1st Cavalry Division during a major Chinese attack in Unsan, Korea, from Nov. 1-2, 1950. Kapaun braved withering enemy fire to provide comfort and medical aid to his comrades and later helped negotiate their safe surrender. He also pushed aside an enemy soldier preparing to execute a comrade, thus saving that life. “This is the valor we honor today—an American soldier who didn’t fire a gun, but who wielded the mightiest weapon of all, a love for his brothers so pure that he was willing to die so that they might live,” stated Obama. Kapaun died as a prisoner of war on May 23, 1951. (Obama’s remarks) (White House blog entry)