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Tiahrt asks for Kapaun legislation to move forward

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2009, at 10:39 a.m.
  • Updated Sunday, Dec. 6, 2009, at 2:21 p.m.

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WICHITA — U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt has asked the House Armed Services Committee to advance legislation to allow the Medal of Honor to be awarded to Father Emil Kapaun, the Kansan who became a Korean War hero.

The House and Senate must pass legislation waiving the provisions of current law that require the Medal of Honor be awarded "within three years of the date of the act upon which the award is based."

Kapaun was a priest from Pilsen and a U.S. Army chaplain who died in a North Korean prison camp in 1951 after saving dozens of soldiers' lives. The secretary of the Army and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff decided earlier this year that Kapaun deserves the Medal of Honor.

As early as April 2001, Tiahrt, R-Goddard, asked Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to review Kapaun's eligibility for the honor. The review prompted the Army's recent decision.

The Vatican also is investigating Kapaun for possible sainthood.

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