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Stephen Edward Karopczyc
Army Medal of Honor
Born (1944-03-05)March 5, 1944
Died March 12, 1967(1967-03-12) (aged 23)
Place of birth New York City
Place of death Republic of Vietnam
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Rank First Lieutenant
Unit Company A, 2d Battalion, 35th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division
Battles/wars Vietnam
Awards Medal of Honor
Purple Heart

Stephen Edward Karopczyc (March 5, 1944 – March 12, 1967) is a posthumous recipient of the Medal of Honor. He was a 1961 graduate of Chaminade High School, a 1965 graduate of Spring Hill College, and he served in the United States Army in the Vietnam War. He was First Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Company A, 2d Battalion, 35th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division.

Medal of Honor citationEdit

His official Medal of Honor citation reads:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. While leading the 3d Platoon, Company A, on a flanking maneuver against a superior enemy force, 1st Lt. Karopczyc observed that his lead element was engaged with a small enemy unit along his route. Aware of the importance of quickly pushing through to the main enemy force in order to provide relief for a hard-pressed friendly platoon, he dashed through the intense enemy fire into the open and hurled colored smoke grenades to designate the foe for attack by helicopter gunships. He moved among his men to embolden their advance, and he guided their attack by marking enemy locations with bursts of fire from his own weapon. His forceful leadership quickened the advance, forced the enemy to retreat, and allowed his unit to close with the main hostile force. Continuing the deployment of his platoon, he constantly exposed himself as he ran from man to man to give encouragement and to direct their efforts. A shot from an enemy sniper struck him above the heart but he refused aid for this serious injury, plugging the bleeding wound with his finger until it could be properly dressed. As the enemy strength mounted, he ordered his men to organize a defensive position in and around some abandoned bunkers where he conducted a defense against the increasingly strong enemy attacks. After several hours, a North Vietnamese soldier hurled a hand grenade to within a few feet of 1st Lt. Karopczyc and 2 other wounded men. Although his position protected him, he leaped up to cover the deadly grenade with a steel helmet. It exploded to drive fragments into 1st Lt. Karopczyc, but his action prevented further injury to the 2 wounded men. 1st Lt. Karopczyc's heroic leadership, unyielding perseverance, and selfless devotion to his men were directly responsible for the successful and spirited action of his platoon throughout the battle and are in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Army.


There is an elementary school in Levittown, New York, which was named for Stephen E. Karopczyc. It was opened in the 1970s. The building still stands today. The school is located on Farmedge Road.

Lt. Karopczyc attended Island Trees schools from 1950–55 and is considered a son of Levittown, NY. There are two plaques honoring his sacrifice at the General Douglas MacArthur High School in Levittown, New York. A sundial memorial to Lt. Karopczyc stands in the Peace Garden, outside Sodality Chapel at Spring Hill College.

See alsoEdit


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