Sergeant First Class Joseph R. Kapacziewski was born in Durham, Connecticut. He enlisted in the United States Army in September of 2001 and completed Infantry One Station Unit Training at Fort Benning, Georgia. Sergeant First Class Kapacziewski has served in the Army for over 10 years in 3rd Ranger Battalion and the Ranger Special Troops Battalion. He has served as a Rifleman, Grenadier, Squad Automatic Rifleman, Team Leader, Squad Leader, ROC Cadre, and Platoon Sergeant. SFC Kapacziewski’s military education includes: The United States Army Senior Leader Course, Basic Non-commissioned Officers Course, Primary Leaders Development Course, Airborne School, Jumpmaster School, and Ranger School.
SFC Kapacziewki was injured by an enemy grenade on October 3rd 2005 when his element was ambushed in Northern Iraq. He suffered severe damage to his lower right leg, tissue damage to his right hip, and his brachial artery and median nerve in his right arm were severed. He spent 7 months at Walter Reed Army Medical Center undergoing limb salvage before returning to Ft. Benning, Georgia. In March 2007 SFC Kapacziewski had his leg amputated below the knee due to complications with range of motion and chronic pain. He then went to Brooke Army Medical Center for 6 months of physical therapy and learned how to walk with a prosthetic. SFC Kapacziewski’s goal after being injured was to return to a squad leader position and lead Rangers. SFC Kapacziewski re-qualified on the Ranger physical standards by conducting an Army Physical Fitness Test, 5-mile run in under 40 minutes, 12 mile road march in less than 3 hours, fast rope out of a helicopter, and parachute with a combat load. He then regained a squad leader position and was promoted to a platoon sergeant position. SFC Kapacziewski was the first Ranger to return to the line with a prosthetic and has deployed to Afghanistan 5 times with an artificial limb.
SFC Kapacziewski has deployed 10 times in support of the Global War on Terrorism and his awards and decorations include: Bronze Star Medal with “V” device and (2 Oak Leaf Clusters), Purple Heart ( 2nd Oak Leaf Clusters), 2 Army Commendation Medal with “V” device ( 2nd Oak Leaf Cluster) Army Achievement Medal (3rd Oak Leaf Cluster), Afghanistan Service Medal, Iraqi Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal (with Arrowhead), Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Development Ribbon (with numeral 3), Overseas Service Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, the Army Good Conduct Medal (3rd Award), Ranger Tab, Senior Parachutist Badge (with Bronze Combat Jump Star), Expert Infantryman’s Badge, and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge.
SFC Kapacziewski is married to the former Miss Kimberly Smithwick, from Moultrie Georgia. They have two wonderful sons, “Wyatt”, 3 years of age and “Cody”, 2 years of age.