U.S. Army Korean & Wars Northbrook, IL Flight date: 06/06/18
By Gary Lenhoff, Honor Flight Chicago Veteran Interviews Volunteer
Clifton (Cliff) Capp was born in Zion, Illinois on December 21, 1927. While attending the University of Illinois in 1948, Capp entered the Illinois National Guard, joining the 44th Division in Champaign, IL, where he would rise to the rank of Master Sergeant/First Sergeant. After completing his undergraduate studies, Capp went on to receive his Masters of Science degree in School Administration in 1951. While a graduate student at U of I, Capp taught physiology and joined the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.
General Capp served on active duty during the Korean War from 1952 to 1955. In 1952, Capp was activated, received a direct commission as 2nd Lieutenant and reported to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio for officer candidate training. From there Capp reported to Fort Bragg in North Carolina, where he served as a Medical Service Officer responsible for physical rehabilitation services at the 3420th US Army hospital. This was both a hectic and critical role, as Ft. Bragg served as home to the 82nd Airborne Division, and was also the stateside destination for many soldiers evacuated from Tokyo General Hospital, after being wounded in Korea. Capp was promoted to 1st Lieutenant within six months of his arrival at Ft. Bragg after receiving accolades for investigative work he completed with the Adjutant General.
General Capp was discharged from active duty in 1955 and joined the 85th Division Army Reserve Unit as a 1st Lieutenant at Great Lakes Center in Waukegan, IL. In 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Capp was again called to active duty, returning to Fort McCoy after spending six months at the Army’s Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, KS.
While serving in the Army Reserve, General Capp also worked at Glenbrook North High School. In 1962, he moved to Glenbrook South High School, where he played an important role in opening the school that year. Capp served as Associate Principal at Glenbrook South High School from 1962 until his retirement.
Capp continued his service in the Army Reserves and in February of 1980, was promoted to Brigadier General after taking command of the 425th Transportation Brigade at Fort Sheridan, IL. Two years later, in August 1982, Capp was assigned as Commanding General of the 416th Engineer Command, the largest Engineer Unit in the U.S. Army’s force structure. At this time, Capp was promoted to Major (2-Star) General, the highest rank an Army soldier can attain during peacetime
General Capp retired from the military in 1983 after almost 36 years of service in the Illinois National Guard, the U.S. Army and the U.S. Army Reserve. During his military career he was highly decorated, earning the Distinguished Service Medal; the Meritorious Service Medal; the Army Commendation Medal; the Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal with Oak Leaf Clusters; the United Nations Service Medal; the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with two hourglass devices (denoting 20+ years of service); the National Defense Service Medal; the Army Service Ribbon; and the Bronze Order of the de Fleury Medal, presented to an outstanding individual who has rendered significant service or support to an element of the Engineer Regiment.
Perhaps more important than his many decorations is the honor bestowed upon General Clifton Capp by his two daughters, Cindy and Debbie. Asked to describe their father, they said “He is a special man who has gained respect from all those that have come in contact with him throughout his lifetime. This would include family, fellow church members, neighbors, colleagues, employees etc., both in his civilian life and in the military. He has been a leader and has lead by example in all endeavors. He made two things very clear to us growing up, ‘always try your best’ and ‘do what you know is the right thing to do.’”
In addition to his daughters, General Capp is the proud grandfather of six and great-grandfather of 12. Today he is a member of the Northbrook Village Presbyterian Church, remains involved with the American Legion, and is the founder of the Retired Men’s Golfing League (Shoresmen) at Lake Barrington Shores Golf Club.
General Capp, we salute you for three decades of distinguished leadership and service to your country. Enjoy your well-deserved Honor Flight trip!