The Graybeards - KWVA - Korean War Veterans Association

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The Graybeards - KWVA - Korean War Veterans Association

CHAPLAINCY from page 3

Despite MacArthur’s hopes, unfortunately,

the major objectives of the airborne

operation were lost. Many of the NKA had

already retreated farther north. Far more

tragic, 73 American prisoners were found

murdered in one of the great atrocities of

the War.

Sampson and Hope eventually moved

south to P’yongyang and, while there,

helped minister to POW’s. Sampson collected

rosaries from his men for use by the

NKA Catholic prisoners. Later he wrote,

“I was struck by the strange twist wars can

make of things. These Christians had been

forced into the Communist army; now

here they were using the rosaries belonging

to the men they had been shooting at

only a few days ago.”

Chaplain Sampson, who became Chief

of Chaplains in 1967, was the momentary

victim of a common plight in the War

someone stole his jeep. Undaunted by the

experience, he announced to some British

Catholics, after serving Mass at a neighboring

English tank unit: “Now if any of

you men can procure a jeep for me, from

any source of your choice, I will give that

man a jug of soluble coffee, a bottle of

wine, and absolution.” In 20 minutes, a

British sergeant delivered a new vehicle. It

not only had the previous markings painted

out, but also a fresh new ‘‘Chaplain’’

sign emblazoned on the front.

Chaplain Joseph A. Dunne, Roman

Catholic, replaced Sampson in the 187th

Regiment when the latter returned to

Japan. While Sampson, an avid tennis

player, was temporarily serving at the

Tokyo Hospital Annex, he met and

became good friends with another player

named Yuri Rostovorov. Counter

Intelligence Corps (CIC) agents soon

informed the chaplain that his friend was,

in fact, the Chief of the Russian Secret

Police in Japan. They wanted Sampson to

regularly report his conversations with the

Russian, but the chaplain refused such an

arrangement as being totally inappropriate

for a clergyman. The friendship continued

with the CIC’s knowledge and word came

one day that Chaplain Dunne, seriously

wounded by a land mine in Korea, had

been brought to the Tokyo hospital.

Rostovorov asked to join Sampson in a

visit to the wounded priest and, while

there, was obviously moved by Dunne’s

quiet composure to severe pain. “A little

over a year later,” wrote Sampson, “the

Washington department of the CIC

arranged a meeting between Rostovorov

and myself. He had found his way into the

democratic camp, and … he told about the

deep impression Father Dunne’s Christlike

suffering had made upon him.”

Suffering Under The Chinese

Intervention

Americans had become optimistic

about the War when the U.N. forces

seemed to be finishing their work. Many

U.S. units anticipated withdrawal to

Japan. What appeared to be the end of the

fighting, however, was actually only the

beginning of some of the bloodiest in

Korea. The sudden change came with an

unexpected intervention by Chinese

Communist Forces (CCF), who crossed

the Manchurian border and led a new

offensive against the U.N. lines.

Initial fighting between the U.S. and

CCF forces began near Unsan, roughly 60

miles north of P’yongyang. During the

first days of November, the 8th Regiment

of the 1st Cavalry Division, especially the

3rd Battalion, suffered heavy losses.

Chaplain Emil J. Kapaun, Roman

Catholic, a veteran of the Burma-India

Theater in World War II, was with them.

Years before, Kapaun had confided to a

high school friend in Kansas that he wanted

more than anything to be a martyr.

Asked once why he refused to wear gloves

while working in a farming harvest, he

replied: “I want to feel some of the pain

our Lord felt when he was nailed to the

cross.”

Kapaun had served in the 1st Cavalry

for some time and suffered through early

defeats with fellow Chaplains Donald

Chaplain Kapaun

was the first of

several Army chaplains

who suffered

in captivity.

Carter, Arthur Mills, and Julius B. Gonia,

Baptist, who replaced the wounded Mills.

Carter remembered how Kapaun found a

bicycle after losing his jeep in the early

days “and covered our units as few other

chaplains I know.”

The chaplains of the 8th Regiment

agreed to rotate among the battalions; near

the first of November, Chaplain Carter,

living with the 3rd Battalion held in

reserve, exchanged places with his friend,

Kapaun, in the 1st Battalion. Carter wanted

the priest to “enjoy a day or so away

from the tension where the heaviest attack

was expected. Ironically, it was the 3rd

Battalion that received the full force of the

Chinese assault and Kapaun’s martyrdom

started to be a reality in the evening of 2

November 1950.

The battalion was nearly wiped out

during the severe battle. CCF soldiers captured

Kapaun while he was with a group

of over 50 wounded he had helped gather

in an old dugout. Ordered to leave many

of those for whom he had risked his life,

Kapaun and a few ambulatory wounded

were forced to crawl through the battlefield

and were later imprisoned. For 6

months, under the most deprived conditions,

he fought Communist indoctrination

among the men, ministered to sick and

dying, and literally stole food from the

enemy in trying to keep his fellow soldiers

alive. Eventually, suffering from a blood

clot, pneumonia, and dysentery, he died

there on 23 May l951.

Chaplain Emil J. Kapaun, Roman

Catholic, was the first of several Army

chaplains to suffer in captivity. A mere 2

days after his capture, another chaplain

fell into the hands of the Chinese. Kenneth

C. Hyslop, Northern Baptist, was with the

men of the 19th Regiment, 24th Infantry

Division, who were attempting to stop the

Communist drive south of Unsan near

Anju. The 6-year veteran of Army service

received the Bronze Star earlier for

remaining with wounded who were cut off

and eventually leading them back to

friendly lines. Hyslop was captured on 4

November. Primarily because of internal

injuries as a result of mistreatment by his

captors, he died of starvation 38 days later

on 12 December.

Page 10

The Graybeards

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