Written byfor Coffee Or Die Magazine | Originally published
Retired Maj. James Capers Jr. is a man of mythic status within the Marines’ Reconnaissance and special operations communities. In October 2010, he became one of the first US service members added to the US Special Operations Command’s Commando Hall of Honor.
Maj. Gen. Paul E. Lefebvre, then-commander of Marine Forces Special Operations Command, called Capers “the spiritual founder of Marine Corps special operations.”
Capers served in Force Recon half a century before the Corps officially fielded a unit under SOCOM. As a member of 3rd Force Recon Company in Vietnam, Capers led or participated in dozens of missions, pioneering and refining unconventional and jungle warfare tactics along the way. Many of his missions were top secret and remained so for decades.
The recently released documentary Major Capers: The Legend of Team Broadminded provides a detailed account of Capers’ life and career in the Marines.
The film follows Capers, the son of South Carolina sharecroppers, from the harsh realities of the Jim Crow South to Baltimore, where his family fled after Capers’ father faced “harsh punishment” for a crime he didn’t commit. From Baltimore, Capers joined the Marines, launching the storied career at the center of the film.
After he became the first member of his family to graduate high school, Capers enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1956. Two years later, he deployed to Lebanon where, the film claims, Capers’ squad held off more than 100 enemy insurgents. The impressive feat earned him a meritorious promotion to sergeant.
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