Monday, April 13, 2009

Four Chaplains

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The Four Chaplains
George L. Fox, Alexander D. Goode
Clark V. Poling, John P. Washington
The Four Chaplains were four United States Army chaplains who gave their lives to save other soldiers during the sinking of the USAT Dorchester during World War II. They helped other soldiers board lifeboats and gave up their own life jackets when the supply ran out; 230 of the 904 men aboard the ship were rescued. Life jackets offered little protection from hypothermia which killed most men in the water. Water temperature was 34鐧� (1鐧�) and air temperature was 36鐧� (2鐧�). By the time additional rescue ships arrived "...hundreds of dead bodies were seen floating on the water, kept up by their life jackets."[1]
1 Sinking of the Dorchester
2 Chapel of the Four Chaplains
3 Memorials
4 References
5 External links
Sinking of the Dorchester
The chaplains, who all held the rank of lieutenant, were the Methodist Reverend George L. Fox, the Jewish Rabbi Alexander D. Goode, the Roman Catholic Priest John P. Washington and the Reformed Church in America Reverend Clark V. Poling. They were sailing on the USAT Dorchester troop transport on February 3, 1943, when the vessel, travelling in convoy, was torpedoed by the German submarine U-223 in the North Atlantic. As the vessel sank, the four chaplains calmed the frightened soldiers and sailors, aided in the evacuation of the ship, and helped guide wounded men to safety. The chaplains also gave up their own life jackets.
As I swam away from the ship, I looked back. The flares had lighted everything. The bow came up high and she slid under. The last thing I saw, the Four Chaplains were up there praying for the safety of the men. They had done everything they could. I did not see them again. They themselves did not have a chance without their life jackets.
妗畆ady Clark, survivor[2]
On December 19, 1944, all four chaplains were posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and the Distinguished Service Cross.[3] The Chaplain's Medal for Heroism was authorized in 1961 and posthumously presented by the President of the United States to the families of the chaplains.

Four Chaplains
The chaplains were also honored with a stamp, issued in 1948 and by an act of Congress designating February 3 as "Four Chaplains Day."
Goode, Poling and Washington had served as leaders in the Boy Scouts of America.[4]
Chapel of the Four Chaplains

Four Chaplains
A chapel in their honor was dedicated on February 3, 1951 by President Harry S. Truman to honor these soldiers of different faiths at Grace Baptist church in Philadelphia. In 1974, that congregation moved to Blue Bell selling the building to Temple University. The original chapel fell into disrepair and was eventually evicted by the university in 1991.[5]
The foundation overseeing the chapel moved the chapel to a temporary space in Pottstown, Pennsylvania while it raised funds for a new chapel on land donated at Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge. Zoning problems, neighborhood opposition, and a lack of money led the chapel to move to the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in 2001.[5]
IMMORTAL CHAPLAINS MEMORIAL SANCTUARY - On the Queen Mary - Long Beach, CA - Operated by The Immortal Chaplains Foundation - - founded by IMMORTAL FOUR CHAPLAINS' family and survivors of the USAT DORCHESTER tragedy...including 3 survivors of U-boat 223, which sank the Dorchester on February 3rd 1943. (The Queen Mary transported these men to the USA as POWs one year after the sinking of the Dorchester.)
NATIONAL CATHEDRAL, Washington DC - HEROES CHAPEL WINDOW - Stained Glass depiction of the Four Chaplains
Civitan International, a worldwide volunteer association of service clubs, holds an interfaith Clergy Appreciation Week every year. The event honors the sacrifice of the Four Chaplains by encouraging citizens to thank the clergy that serve their communities.[6]

Memorial, Ann Arbor, Michigan
A memorial created by sculptor Carlton W. Angell was dedicated to the Four Chaplains in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1954.
The chapel at the Pittsburgh International Airport was dedicated to the four chaplains in 1994.
The Four Chaplains Memorial Viaduct, spanning the Tuscarawas River in Massillon, Ohio, was built in 1949 and refurbished in 1993. It is part of the old Lincoln Highway. A memorial plaque can be found on the eastern end.
There is a memorial plaque at Belmont Park Racecourse in Elmont, New York. It is located behind the clubhouse section of the grandstand. It is bolted onto a rock on the walkway leading to the racing secretary's office.
There is a "Field of the Four Chaplains" at Fort Benning, Georgia.
Fort Lewis in Washington has a Four Chaplains' Memorial Chapel & Family Life Center.[7]
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