Mike Company               

Third Battalion, Fifth Marines

RVN, 1966 -1971
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KIA SEPT. 5, 1967

Operation Swift, September 4 - 15, 1967

In the Que Son Valley 3/5 and 1/5 were engaged with the 2nd NVA Division and the 1st VC Regiment. Along with us was the chaplain of 3/5 Fr. Vincent Capodanno. During heavy fighting and twice severely wounded Chaplain Capodanno continued tirelessly going from one wounded and dying Marine to another offering what ever aid and comfort he could. He refused med-evac twice not wanting to leave his grunts saying that he had work to do. After giving last rites to one Marine he carried that Marine's M-16 to another Marine whose weapon had jammed. Chaplain Capodanno left the perimeter to aid a wounded corpsman and 3 or 4 other Marines. He was by the corpsman's side when a NVA machine gunner opened fire and riddled Capodanno from the back of his head to the base of his spine, his third Purple Heart of the day and the Medal of Honor.

Chaplain Capodanno had only been with 3/5 a few short weeks having been transferred from 1/7. He had been recommended for the Bronze Star in May 1967 for his time with 1/7. He had been on an extended tour in country from April 1966 to May 1967. He returned again in June 1967 and was again requesting an extension or permission to give up his R&R to be with his grunts for the holidays when he was killed.

There are 38 memorials in the name of Father Capodanno including chapels at the Naval Academy and Camp Pendelton and around the world and a destroyer escort. Also there is a movement to have Father Vincent Robert Capodanno canonized.

This December The Grunt Padre: The Service and Sacrifice of Fr. Vincent Robert Capodanno, Vietnam 1967 to 1968 by Father Daniel Lawrence Mode, a Navy chaplain, will be published. All royalties from the sales will be used to support the Father Vincent Robert Capodanno Foundation, a non-profit organization established by the author to honor the memory of this chaplain and to continue his ministry of outreach to his beloved grunt Marines. More information will be available in the near future on the Foundation website or for books contact: T. J. Hanley (281) 324-7026 or SemperI35@aol.com.
There is a very good possibility that Father Daniel Mode will be a guest speaker at the 1st Marine Division Reunion in San Diego in August 2000.

Note: The 1st Marine Division Association, Houston Chapter, Ninth Annual Charity Golf Tournament raised $1800 for the Foundation with 3 special auction items and donations.
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NAME______________________________Please send me ______
copies of The Grunt
Padre $22.95 each
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Send order to: T. J. Hanley 27215 Caperidge Dr. Huffman, TX 77336 ( 281) 324-7026 semperi35@aol.com