Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Marine Corps Chapel Window Dedicated to Servant of God Vincent Capodanno

Marine Cpl  James CapodannoThe Marine Corps Heritage Foundation has dedicated a window in the Semper Fidelis Memorial Chapel at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle, Va, to Servant of God Vincent Capodanno.

Capodanno was a Maryknoll priest and chaplain serving the Marine Corps in Vietnam when was killed on the battlefield giving last rites to injured and dying soldiers. His Cause for Canonization was opened by the Military Archdiocese in 2002 and in 2006 he was decreed Servant of God. Father Capodanno is the only chaplain in service to the Marines to have received the Medal of Honor.

Each window in the Memorial Chapel is “titled with a word that describes the ethos of the Marine Corps.” It is fitting then that they chose to honor Father Capodanno with the “Sacrifice” window. The gentleman standing at the window is Father Capodanno’s brother, Marine Cpl. James Capodanno.

Matt Coombs with the  Marine Corps Heritage Foundation sends this release and pics (Photos by Migom Foto):

Triangle, Va. (May 13, 2011) – The Marine Corps Heritage Foundation dedicated the “Sacrifice Window” in the Semper Fidelis Memorial Chapel at the National Museum of the Marine Corps on May 11 to honor Chaplain Vincent Capodanno. The Foundation established the permanent tribute in Chaplain Capodanno’s name in recognition of his dedicated service to Marines and the ultimate sacrifice he made in Vietnam, in an effort to save a Marine’s life. The private ceremony at the Chapel remembered Chaplain Capodanno for his unwavering support of Marines in combat and his deserved recognition as the only chaplain to receive the Medal of Honor for service in the Marine Corps.

 Sacrifice Window Dedication Ceremony (2) Chaplain Capodanno was ordained a priest after attending the Maryknoll Missionary Seminary. Maryknoll, a religious order that conducts overseas mission work on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States, took Chaplain Capodanno to Taiwan and Hong Kong to educate the local people and share his faith. In 1965, following his service abroad, Chaplain Capodanno asked to be reassigned to serve as a United States Navy Chaplain. After being commissioned a lieutenant with the Naval Reserves, he deployed to Vietnam in 1966 with the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division. In December of that year, he reported as battalion chaplain to the 1st Medical Battalion, 1st Marine Division. In 1967, Chaplain Capodanno was assigned to the 3d Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division.

“The Marines who served with Chaplain Capodanno remember him as the Chaplain who went wherever his Marines needed his comfort and guidance, no matter the personal danger. From the foxholes to the frontlines, Chaplain Capodanno was there,” said LtGen Ron Christmas, president and CEO of the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation. “Chaplains serve a tremendously important role in our military. They help our service men and women absorb the emotional toll of war. I do not think we could dedicate the “Sacrifice Window” to anyone more fitting than a devoted Chaplain who ultimately gave his life in service to his fellow Marines.”

On September 4, 1967, while serving with the 5th Marines, Chaplain Capodanno learned 2d Platoon, Company M was engaged in a violent battle in Quang Tin Province, resulting in many U.S. casualties. Chaplain Capodanno volunteered to work his way through the battlefield to administer last rites and provide aid to his Marines. Fred Smith, chairman, president and CEO of FedEx Corporation, served with Chaplain Capodanno and recounted during the ceremony how the Chaplain nearly lost his hand to shrapnel as he tended to the wounded, but refused care so that medical supplies could go to his injured Marines. As the battle raged, Chaplain Capodanno moved to the side of a grievously wounded corpsman. As he sought to administer aid, he placed his own body between the wounded man and an enemy machine gunner. Sadly, he lost his life to enemy fire.

Each window in the Semper Fidelis Memorial Chapel is titled with a word that describes the ethos of the Marine Corps. The Foundation dedicated the “Sacrifice Window” to forever remember the service of Chaplain Capodanno. In 2006, the Roman Catholic Church also provided an enduring honor to the Chaplain, declaring him a Servant of God, the first step towards canonization.  

About the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation:

Dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Marine Corps history, the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation was established in 1979 as a non-profit 501(c) (3) organization. The Foundation supports the historical programs of the Marine Corps in ways not possible through government funds, providing grants and scholarships for research and the renovation, restoration and commissioning of historical Marine Corps artifacts and landmarks. Securing the necessary funding for the complete construction of the National Museum of the Marine Corps and Heritage Center is the Foundation’s current primary mission while continuing to provide program support for the Corps’ historical, museum, and educational activities.