Army chaplain who died in Korean prison returns home to Kansas after 70 years

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Army Chaplain Father Emil Kapaun is back in Kansas, home from the Korean War. You could call it a miracle, and some soldiers who served with him will tell you it’s not the first.

“To see somebody like that, it’s unbelievable almost,” Herbert Miller said.

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Army Chaplain Father Emil Kapaun

In the war’s first cruel winter, Miller lay wounded on the frozen ground with an enemy soldier standing over him.

“He was going to shoot me,” Miller said.

That’s when Kapaun performed one of his battlefield miracles.

“He pushed his rifle aside and why that man never shot him, I’ll never know,” Miller said.

Kapaun, who was awarded a Medal of Honor and could become a Catholic Saint, saved Miller’s life again on the death march to a prison camp.

“If he hadn’t carried me I would have been dead,” he said.

In the camp, Kapaun helped prisoners of war stay alive by stealing food from the guards. Although he died in that camp, his body was not found until DNA testing identified his remains.

On Wednesday, his nephew Ray Kapaun told a packed arena in Wichita his uncle’s last words to his fellow POWs.

“‘I’m going some place I’ve always wanted to be, and when I get there I’ll say a prayer for you.’ Uncle Emil, welcome home. Home at last.”

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