Begin New Search
Refine Last Search
Cemetery Lookup
Add Burial Records
Help with Find A Grave

Find all Kapauns in:
 • Pilsen Cemetery
 • Pilsen
 • Marion County
 • Kansas
 • Find A Grave

Top Contributors
Success Stories
Community Forums
Find A Grave Store

Log In
Capt Emil Joseph Kapaun
Birth: Apr. 20, 1916
Marion County
Kansas, USA
Death: May 23, 1951
P'yongan-bukto, North Korea

United States Korean War Army Chaplain. He was the most highly decorated Chaplain in the military receiving the Bronze Star, The Distinguished Service Cross, The Purple Heart and the Korean Service Medal presented by the Republic of Korea. Father Kapaun was born in rural Kansas. He was ordained a priest on June 9, 1940 and returned to his home parish of St Nepomucene as their priest. Father Kapaun became Chaplain Kapaun and served in India and Burma during WWII. After the war he returned to Kansas but volunteered for military service again during the Korean War. After being taken prisoner in 1950 by the Chinese, Kapaun nursed the sick and wounded at a squalid communist P.O.W. camp in North Korea, until a blood clot in his leg prevented his daily rounds. He was moved to a hospital and allowed to die from starvation and pneumonia. He was thrown into a mass grave along with other mistreated American prisoners along the Yalu River. After the war, the Chinese plowed the field and planted it over with rice to hide the site. His MOH citation reads as follows: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the 3d Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division during combat operations against an armed enemy at Unsan, Korea, from November 1-2, 1950. On November 1, as Chinese Communist Forces viciously attacked friendly elements, Chaplain Kapaun calmly walked through withering enemy fire in order to provide comfort and medical aid to his comrades and rescue friendly wounded from no-man's land. Though the Americans successfully repelled the assault, they found themselves surrounded by the enemy. Facing annihilation, the able-bodied men were ordered to evacuate. However, Chaplain Kapaun, fully aware of his certain capture, elected to stay behind with the wounded. After the enemy succeeded in breaking through the defense in the early morning hours of November 2, Chaplain Kapaun continually made rounds, as hand-to-hand combat ensued. As Chinese Communist Forces approached the American position, Chaplain Kapaun noticed an injured Chinese officer amongst the wounded and convinced him to negotiate the safe surrender of the American Forces. Shortly after his capture, Chaplain Kapaun, with complete disregard for his personal safety and unwavering resolve, bravely pushed aside an enemy soldier preparing to execute Sergeant First Class Herbert A. Miller. Not only did Chaplain Kapaun's gallantry save the life of Sergeant Miller, but also his unparalleled courage and leadership inspired all those present, including those who might have otherwise fled in panic, to remain and fight the enemy until captured. Chaplain Kapaun's extraordinary heroism and selflessness, above and beyond the call of duty, are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the 3d Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, the 1st Cavalry Division, and the United States Army. President Barack Obama presented the Medal of Honor to Kapaun's nephew at the White House on April 11, 2013. (bio by: Paul S.) 
Family links: 
  Enos Kapaun (1879 - 1962)
  Elizabeth Hajek Kapaun (1895 - 1986)
  Emil Joseph Kapaun (1916 - 1951)
  Eugene J. Kapaun (1924 - 2010)*
*Calculated relationship
Pilsen Cemetery *
Marion County
Kansas, USA
Plot: St John Nepomucene Catholic Church
*Memorial Site [?]
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Jan 22, 2003
Find A Grave Memorial# 7104770
Capt Emil Joseph Kapaun
Added by: Peace
Capt Emil Joseph Kapaun
Added by: FortheKing
Capt Emil Joseph Kapaun
Added by: FortheKing
There are 2 more photos not showing...
Click here to view all images...
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

Requiescat in Pace Padre Emil
- Carl Bibeau
 Added: Mar. 6, 2017

- tbickellb
 Added: Mar. 2, 2017

- Delma
 Added: May. 30, 2016
There are 358 more notes not showing...
Click here to view all notes...
How famous was this person?
Current ranking for this person: (4.3 after 80 votes)

Privacy Statement and Terms of Service