3Charles Liteky Goes into Rescue Mode
In 1967, Catholic chaplain Charles Liteky was serving in the Vietnam War, keeping up his troops' spiritual side. A pacifist from New York, Liteky couldn't wait to get out of Vietnam. On December 6, Liteky and his troops were out patrolling in the Bien Hoa Province when they were suddenly attacked by North Vietnamese soldiers. Severely outgunned 3-1, Liteky decided it was time to show them what priests could do.
Together with Private Cuddles, they were unstoppable.
Seeing troops in front of him fall, Liteky's first instinct was to take out his pistol and rush forward -- despite a Vietnamese machine gun going full blast in front of him. He would then dive on top of an injured soldier, shield him with his body, and drag him to safety when fighting lulled. Shot twice, Liteky did this over and over again until each wounded soldier was out of there (including two men right in front of the machine gun).
The good news was that evacuation helicopters were on the way. The bad news was that the soldier whose job it was to direct the choppers from the ground was killed. Liteky, seriously injured and having no experience in directing helicopters ever, managed to get the rescue chopper to land. He proceeded to do this all night with each chopper before another company came in and relieved the wounded and battle-hardened priest.
Via Wikimedia Commons
"I'm here to claim my presidency."
As Liteky had saved 20 soldiers, he was given the Medal of Honor and was guaranteed to never pay for a drink again. However, he later remembered he was a pacifist, and in 1986 he became the only person ever to give back his Medal of Honor -- one that he richly deserved for being a priest who suddenly clicked into "Rescue" mode and didn't snap out of it for a day or so.
2Francis Gleeson Just Didn't Give a Shit
Growing up, Francis Gleeson wanted to be what many stereotypical Irishmen were destined to be: a priest. He joined the priesthood in 1912, but when World War I broke out soon thereafter, he enlisted in the British Army. He was installed as a chaplain and was sent off to France, straight to the front lines.
"Let's make it a quick photo. I've got armies to slay."
Unlike other chaplains who simply prayed, celebrated Mass, and tended to the dead, Gleeson saw the desperate situation in France and decided on a more "hands on" approach. He would routinely play an active role in the battalion he was assigned to and, regardless of faith, would give everyone the same Mass in his smooth, Liam Neeson-like accent. He was just another one of the troops. That is, until the first Battle of Ypres.
Via Frank Hurley
"Dying horribly by the millions is a small price to pay for looking this awesome."
While fighting with his men, Gleeson soon saw that all the other officers fighting the Germans were either gravely injured or dead. With the men without a leader, Gleeson tore off his chaplain insignia (a major "never do that" in the rulebook), grabbed a revolver, and led the men against their incoming pointy-hatted nemesis. Gleeson continued to go full John Rambo until another brigade joined in the fray and politely asked why the non-combatant priest was leading a brigade.
"Um ... war reasons, sir."
After being relieved, Gleeson continued to refuse to settle down and behave like a normal chaplain. He once gave a Christmas Day Mass from the top of a bunker where Germans were actively trying to hit him, and he was known to give last rites to troops in the middle of combat zones with shells dropping around him. The army finally had enough of his brave shenanigans and sent him home. But duty continued to call, and Gleeson would later become a chaplain again -- this time for the renegade Free Irish Army.