Grunt Padre Honored in Vietnam


As faithful readers of this blog know, I have many times had posts about heroic Catholic Chaplains serving in our military.  A man whose courage beggared description is Servant of God and Medal of Honor recipient Vincent J. Capodanno, known as the Grunt Padre.  I am not ready yet to do a full post on him, wishing to do him justice, but a recent news story in The National Catholic Register caught my eye:

DA NANG, Vietnam — Bishop Joseph Chau Ngoc Tri of Da Nang recently said Mass  in honor of Father Vincent Capodanno, a U.S. chaplain killed during the Vietnam  War, and he encouraged his people to ask the priest’s intercession.

Ted Bronson, a retired Navy Captain, told Catholic News Agency June 26 that  Bishop Tri “is a brave bishop, fostering Capodanno under the umbrella” of  Vietnamese communism.

The Mass, said on June 14, marked the 55th anniversary of Father Capodanno’s  priestly ordination. Father  Capodanno was ordained for the Maryknoll Missionary order, and he later  became a chaplain for the U.S. Navy.

While with Maryknoll, Father Capodanno served in Taiwan and Hong Kong, and  then he requested to be reassigned as a chaplain with the Marines. He was sent  to Vietnam in 1966 and requested an extension to his tour of duty when it was  up.

On Sept. 4, 1967, his unit was in the Que Son Valley near Da Nang, and they  became outnumbered by North Vietnamese forces. As American soldiers were being  gunned down, Father Capodanno went about giving viaticum and anointing  to the dying, as well as medical aid to the wounded.

Shortly after reassuring a wounded Marine, Father Capodanno went to another  soldier who had called out for help. Both he and the solider were shot and died.  He was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1969.

His citation for the Medal of Honor says he “left the relative safety of the  company command post and ran through an open area raked with fire. …  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.

Go here to read the rest.  There will come a day when Vietnam will be free.  Let us pray to Our Lady of La Vang and Servant of God Vincent Capodanno to intercede with God that this day will come soon.

Our Lady of LaVang



  1. Can you believe that there are those who think that a christian Chaplain should not pray in Jesus’ name. What is happening in our
    country that we tolerate this claptrap. Doesn’t even the first Amendment
    apply anymore? Alex F. Wysocki of the Conservative Caucus of Delaware, Inc.

  2. There are those who believe we are in the last days. I certainly understand their point of view. With all of those good Americans that have gone before us, their history is now generally ignored. It is good to see that some make an effort to keep their memories alive. I am saddened as my country changes to something that William M. Tennent Jr. would have said represents the hand of the devil. He would always say that he would rather die than summit.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: