01 February 2009

Medal of Honor: V. R. Capodanno and L. D. Peters

VINCENT ROBERT CAPODANNO

Lieutenant, Chaplain Corps, US Navy; 3d Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division (Rein)

Born: 13 February 1929, Staten Island, New York
Died: 4 September 1967, Quang Tin Province, Republic of Vietnam

Citation: 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 [in Quang Tin Province, Republic of Vietnam, on 4 September 1967], 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 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.


Note: USS Capodanno (FF 1093) was named in his honour. On 19 May 2006, a Cause for Beatification and Canonization was opened in his name by Archbishop Edwin F O'Brien.


LAWRENCE DAVID PETERS

Sergeant, US Marine Corps; Company M, 3d Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division

Born: 16 September 1946, Johnson City, New York
Died: 4 September 1967, Quang Tin Province, Republic of Vietnam

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a squad leader with Company M [in Quang Tin Province, Republic of Vietnam, on 4 September 1967]. During Operation SWIFT, the marines of the 2d Platoon of Company M were struck by intense mortar, machinegun, and small arms fire from an entrenched enemy force. As the company rallied its forces, Sgt. Peters maneuvered his squad in an assault on any enemy defended knoll. Disregarding his safety, as enemy rounds hit all about him, he stood in the open, pointing out enemy positions until he was painfully wounded in the leg. Disregarding his wound, he moved forward and continued to lead his men. As the enemy fire increased in accuracy and volume, his squad lost its momentum and was temporarily pinned down. Exposing himself to devastating enemy fire, he consolidated his position to render more effective fire. While directing the base of fire, he was wounded a second time in the face and neck from an exploding mortar round. As the enemy attempted to infiltrate the position of an adjacent platoon, Sgt. Peters stood erect in the full view of the enemy firing burst after burst forcing them to disclose their camouflaged positions. Sgt. Peters steadfastly continued to direct his squad in spite of 2 additional wounds, persisted in his efforts to encourage and supervise his men until he lost consciousness and succumbed. Inspired by his selfless actions, the squad regained fire superiority and once again carried the assault to the enemy. By his outstanding valor, indomitable fighting spirit and tenacious determination in the face of overwhelming odds, Sgt. Peters upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

2 comments:

alexvoog@yahoo.com said...

There was recently shown GREAT special on Father Vincent 'the Fighting Father' Capodanno. I caught it 'accidentally' on a religious channel, while surfing through, and was moved by this man's dedication to the grunts. He repeatedly left the rear to 'attend his flock' , and felt most close with the 11 Bravos. I'm sure it is available online somewhere.

alexvoog@yahoo.com said...

The DVD, as well as the book (free on google books!) is "The Grunt Padre" = SEMPER FIDELIS FATHER CAPODANNO = You and your Marines SHALL NEVER, EVER BE FORGOTTEN...