Thursday, 27 June 2013 00:00
Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto recently addressed a large crowd in Bethpage in Rotary Circle near the Bethpage LIRR Station at a special ceremony to unveil a memorial for Medal of Honor Recipient 1st Lt. Stephen E. Karopczyc. Lt. Karopczyc, who grew up in Bethpage, served in the United States Army’s Company A, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division.
Karopczyc received the medal posthumously for heroic action on March 12, 1967 in Kontum Province, Republic of Vietnam. At risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty, Lt. Karopczyc, under intense enemy fire, in the open, hurled colored smoke grenades to designate the positions of the enemy for helicopter gunships.
He was wounded above the heart by an enemy sniper but continued to direct his men. Though placed in a safe area with two other wounded soldiers, he leaped upon an enemy grenade, which landed a few feet from them, sacrificing himself to protect his comrades.
Karopczyc succumbed to his severe wounds two hours later. In January 1969, Secretary of the Army Stanley R. Resor presented the Medal of Honor to his parents Edward and Katherine Karopczyc.
Both of Karopczyc’s parents attended the memorial ceremony in Bethpage.