Vincent Robert Capodanno was born on 13 February 1929 in Richmond County, New York. He finished high school in Staten Island, New York, before studying at Fordham University in Bronx, New York, and Maryknoll Seminary College in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1953. He continued his studies at Maryknoll Seminaries in Bedford, Massachusetts, and Maryknoll, New York, receiving the degrees of Bachelor of Sacred Theology and Master of Religious Education. 

Ordained on 7 June 1957, he joined the Catholic Foreign Mission Society. He served as a missionary in Taiwan and Hong Kong until August 1965. On 28 December of that year, he was commissioned a lieutenant in the Chaplain Corps of the U. S. Naval Reserve and received indoctrination at the Naval Chaplains School in Newport, Rhode Island. 

In April 1966, Lt Capodanno deployed to Vietnam and was assigned to Headquarters and Service Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division, as Battalion Chaplain. In December, he reported as Battalion Chaplain to the 1st Medical Battalion, 1st Marine Division. He was serving as Chaplain for the 3d Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division on 4 September 1967 in Quang Tin Province, Republic of Vietnam, and knew that 2d Platoon, Company M was headed into fierce battle that day. He requested to leave his secure station and accompany the Marines. Lt Capodonno sustained severe wounds, including painful shrapnel in his arms and legs and the near-severing of one of his hands, but refused medical assistance for himself, and calmly crawled among the wounded, administering last rites, medical aid, and encouragement to “his” Marines until he was struck down by enemy fire. Lt Capodanno was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor and the Purple Heart Medal for his actions in that battle. 

Lieutenant Capodanno was laid to rest in St. Peters Cemetery, West New Brighton, New York. 

In addition to the Medal of Honor and the Purple Heart Medal, he also received the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with Silver Star, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with Device. The Capodanno Memorial Chapel at Naval Base, Newport, Rhode Island, was named in his memory and dedicated on 5 February 1968. Also, USS Capodanno (DE-1093, later FF-1093) was named in his honor on 17 November 1973. 

Navy Medal of Honor recipients serving with Marine units at the time of award

Marine Corps University