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Major James Capers, Jr.

Retired Major James Capers was awarded the Silver Star Medal, the nations' third highest award for valor, during a ceremony at the MacDill Air Force Base officers club Oct.27.  Capers was one of five Marines from 3rd Force Reconnaissance Company who received awards for valor in combat operations conducted more than 43 years ago.

James Capers Jr. is a true American hero and Force Recon Marine legend who participated in over 50 classified missions, was wounded 19 times in battle and is one of the most decorated African American servicemen to ever serve.

Major James Capers, Jr. was born on August 25, 1937, in Bishopville, South Carolina to a family of sharecroppers during the Jim Crowe era.  Capers’ father had served time on a chain gang for a crime he did not commit and eventually fled to Baltimore with his family.  The city was the backdrop for two life-changing moments, meeting the love of his life and future wife Dottie and enlisting in the Marines out of high school.  This would be the start of a legendary career that broke barriers as one of the greatest U.S. Marines in history.

During his service, he would be selected to join the elite Force Recon Marine unit where he excelled, breaking training records, participating in 64 long-range reconnaissance patrols and five major campaigns in Vietnam.  He was a natural leader and father figure to Team Broadminded, a specialized group of Force Recon Marines.  Capers and Team Broadminded were routinely selected to go on the most dangerous and clandestine missions in Vietnam.

Capers currently resides in North Carolina and continues to be part of the special operations community.


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