Vincent Robert Capodanno Jr. was born into an immigrant Italian family on February 13, 1929, in Staten Island, New York. He was the youngest of ten children. Vincent attended Mass daily and he also read The Field Afar which led him to the Maryknoll Missionary Seminary. Vincent Capodanno was ordained in 1958. His first assignment was in Taiwan and after six years his assignment was complete. Father Capodanno was reassigned to Hong Kong. It upset him that he had to start over with a new language and people. Capodanno had leave behind Taiwan and the Hakka language which he had been struggling with. Capodanno requested to join the Navy Chaplains and was accepted. He wanted to be with the Marines in Vietnam where he was most needed. In April 1966 he was assigned to the 7th Marines. Vincent slept, ate, and lived with his grunts earning him the nickname The Grunt Padre. Father Capodanno would say Mass for the grunts and hear confessions constantly. He would expose himself to help the wounded and give last rites. Capodanno requested to have his tour extended and it was accepted. He was eventually assigned to the 5th Marines. On September 4, 1967 NVA attacked D Company of 1/5 and severely crippled them. B Company came to their aid but it was not enough. With twenty-six Marines KIA Companies M and K of 3/5 joined the fight. Father Capodanno stayed with Mike Company and was killed while supporting Corpsman Armando Leal. On that day Father Capodanno received three Purple Hearts. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 1969. Father Vincent Capodanno was declared Servant of God on May 21, 2006, the first step in sainthood. Father Capodanno continues to inspire even today.
For further information about Father Capodanno visit CapodannoGuild.org. (Not associated with GruntPadre.com)