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Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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Vietnam War - U.S. Navy

Vincent Robert Capodanno

  • Rank: Lieutenant
  • Conflict/Era: Vietnam War
  • Unit/Command:
    Chaplain Corps, 3d Battalion, 5th Marines,
    1st Marine Division (Rein) FMF
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Navy
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: September 4, 1967
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Quang Tin Province, Republic of Vietnam
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Chaplain of the 3d Battalion, in connection with operations against enemy forces. In response to reports that the 2d Platoon of M Company was in danger of being overrun by a massed enemy assaulting force, Lt. Capodanno left the relative safety of the company command post and ran through an open area raked with fire, directly to the beleaguered platoon. Disregarding the intense enemy small-arms, automatic-weapons, and mortar fire, he moved about the battlefield administering last rites to the dying and giving medical aid to the wounded. When an exploding mortar round inflicted painful multiple wounds to his arms and legs, and severed a portion of his right hand, he steadfastly refused all medical aid. Instead, he directed the corpsmen to help their wounded comrades and, with calm vigor, continued to move about the battlefield as he provided encouragement by voice and example to the valiant marines. Upon encountering a wounded corpsman in the direct line of fire of an enemy machine gunner positioned approximately 15 yards away, Lt. Capodanno rushed in a daring attempt to aid and assist the mortally wounded corpsman. At that instant, only inches from his goal, he was struck down by a burst of machine-gun fire. By his heroic conduct on the battlefield, and his inspiring example, Lt. Capodanno upheld the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life in the cause of freedom.
Medal of Honor Recipient Vincent R. Capodanno
Medal of Honor Recipient Vincent R. Capodanno
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Staten Island, Richmond County, New York
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Presentation Date & Details: January 7, 1969
    The Washington Navy Yard, presented by Sec. of the Navy Paul R. Ignatius to his family
  • Born: February 13, 1929, Staten Island, Richmond County, NY, United States
  • Died: September 4, 1967, Republic of Vietnam
  • Buried: Saint Peter's Cemetery (MH) S-39-11), Staten Island, NY, United States

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