The US Navy provides medical and chaplain service for the United States Marine Corps. This service can be found at all Marine Corps Base's and while in the field, including combat. The Navy Corpsmen attached to Marines during World War II were not allowed to have a weapon. They wore a red cross on their helmet which became a target for the Japanese solders. This is a touching story of a Navy chaplain during the Vietnam War.
Father Vincent R. Capodanno, a Maryknoll missionary and U.S. Navy chaplain, was killed by a sniper on Sept. 4, 1967, as he ministered to a Marine on the battlefield in Qui Son Valley, Vietnam. The "grunt padre" was hit 27 times in the back, neck and head.
May 25, 2001 / Fairfax, Va: The whole world seems to be noticing him now, but Jim Hamfeldt remembers the last time he saw Father Vincent Capodanno. It was on the Vietnam battlefield where the priest died.
Men usually prefer not to talk about their war experiences, he said. But Marines were excited to share their stories for his book, The Grunt Padre.
And days like Memorial Day are when Capodanno reflects on the brave men, like his brother, who died in battle.
Beyond the Call of Duty
by John Horvat
Americans love heroes. Something about them grips the American soul.Perhaps the attraction lies precisely in going against the zeitgeist of this hedonistic age. Heroes are outside the box.They do not fare well in a culture where real living has been reduced to pre-packaged experiences and media-generated events. They get lost in consumer mazes where they are constantly told to enjoy life. Heroes do not sign multi-million dollar sports or advertising contracts.Heroes rise above mass-markets and mass media and quench the thirst of postmodern man by speaking of honor, courage and sacrifice. Above all, heroes, especially those in combat, rise above complacency, self-interest and comfort. They completely mobilize all their resources, with the highest degree of dedication for a determined ideal. And that is why they are held in awe.