Vincent Robert Capodanno

United States Navy
13 February 1929 - 04 September 1967
Honolulu, Hawaii
Panel 25E Line 095

1ST MARDIV Vincent R Capodanno 5TH MARINES
Medal of Honor
Bronze Star, Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, RVN Gallantry Cross, RVN Campaign

The database page for Vincent Robert Capodanno

10 May 1999

During the Vietnam War 240 men received the nation's highest military award . . . The Medal of Honor. Of those 240 brave men, 149 received the Medal of Honor posthumously, including Vincent Capodanno. All 240 MOH citations are published on Neil Mishalov's web site.

From a friend of Vincent's brother,
Carl Di Maria,

Medal of Honor
Vincent Robert Capodanno
United States Navy

Rank and organization:
Lieutenant, U.S. Navy, Chaplain Corps
3d Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division (Rein)
Place and date:
Quang Tin Province, Republic of Vietnam, 4 September 1967


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, 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 in 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 machinegun 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.

Father Capodonno died in an effort to assist
Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Armando Leal
HM3 Leal received a posthumous Navy Cross for his heroism that day.

29 Jan 2007

Fr. Vincent Capodanno also has several chapels named after him Marine Corps wide. One of these is the Blessed Sacrament Chapel located outside St. Andrew's Crypt Chapel in the basement deck of the United States Naval Academy Chapel. Visitors to the Naval Academy are encouraged to visit the chapel.

Major W. George Dragan, USMCR

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The 04 Sep engagement described in Chaplain Capodanno's Citation occurred at Chau Lam (1), 5 kilometers east of Que Son, during Operation SWIFT. Seventeen Marines and sailors are known to have died in the engagement:
  • H&S Co, 3rd Bn, 5th Marines
    • LT Vincent R. Capodanno, Honolulu, HI (Medal of Honor)
    • HM3 Armando G. Leal, San Antonio, TX (Navy Cross)
    • HN James C. O'Reilly, Brighton, MA

  • M Co, 3rd Bn, 5th Marines
    • Sgt Lawrence D. Peters, Binghamton, NY (Medal of Honor)
    • LCpl Jack A. Berry, Lubbock, TX
    • LCpl Steven T. Cornell, New York, NY
    • LCpl Thomas W. Fisher, Allentown, PA (Navy Cross)
    • LCpl Andrew M. Giordano, Smithtown, NY (Silver Star)
    • LCpl Richard Guerrero, Corpus Christi, TX
    • LCpl Albert W. Santos, Fall River, MA
    • Pfc Dennis F. Fisher, Alta Loma, CA
    • Pfc Tony E. Gabaldon, Reedley, CA
    • Pfc Raymond G. Hengels, Downers Grove, IL
    • Pfc Charles F. Martin, Littleton, CO
    • Pfc James C. McKenzie, Yorba Linda, CA
    • Pfc Gene A. Mortensen, Salt Lake City, UT
    • Pfc Steven J. Wright, Norco, CA

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his brother's friend,
Carl Di Maria

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HI State Index . Panel 25E

With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 10 May 1999
Last updated 07/12/2007