|Father Vincent R. Capodanno, M.M., also known as The Grunt Padre, received a posthumous Medal of Honor for his bravery and service during the Vietnam War. (Photo Credit: Naval Historical Center Online / United States Navy)|
Father Capodanno was a Maryknoll missionary from Staten Island, New York, who served in the Navy Chaplain Corps. He met his end on a bloody hillside in Vietnam's Que Son Valley, where outnumbered U.S. Marines fought for their lives against North Vietnamese soldiers.
Despite suffering from more than two dozen bullet wounds, Father Capodanno continued to console and anoint dying and wounded soldiers, as well as moving them to safety. "He was carrying a wounded Marine," then-Private First Class Julio Rodriguez recalled to The Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS). "After he brought him to the relative safety of our perimeter, he continued to go back and forth giving Last Rites to dying men and brining in wounded marines. He made many trips, telling us to 'stay cool; don't panic.'"Another Marine survivor, Keith K. Rounseville, told AMS Father Capodanno acted as if "there wasn't an enemy in sight," jumping over Rounseville's foxhole and aiding a wounded Marine while under enemy machine gun fire. He also comforted a wounded Marine, giving him aid and verbal encouragement.
The military chaplain was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously. Father Capodanno died at age 38 in 1967. For his sacrifice, the Father Vincent Capodanno Guild was created in 2013, to promote the possibility of canonization for Father Capodanno.
The documentary, which is jointly underwritten by the guild and Eternal World Television Network (EWTN), is being produced by filmmaker James C. Kelty.
Proceeds from the sale of DVDs will aid in the various expenses of the guild. "It is a major undertaking for us," told Guild Chairman George Phillips, USMC (Ret), to AMS. He explained the purpose of both the film and the guild was to "secure funds to pay for expenses associated with the Cause for canonization of Father Capodanno, and to spread the news" about the hero priest.
For more information, visit the Father Vincent Capodanno Guild here.