Remembering Four Chaplains Day
Feb. 3 is Four Chaplains Day. The day commemorates the events of Feb. 3, 1943, when the troop ship United States Army Transport Dorchester sank. Dorchester left New York on Jan. 23, 1943, carrying four chaplains and about 900 others as a part of convoy of three ships.
Four Chaplains Sunday, Feb. 2, will mark the 77th anniversary of the sinking of the Dorchester and the selfless acts of four Army chaplains aboard. The Dorchester tragically sunk on Feb. 3, 1943, while crossing the north Atlantic, transporting troops to an American base in Greenland. A German U-boat fired a torpedo that struck the Dorchester, killing 672 of the 902 officers and enlisted men, merchant seamen and civilian workers aboard.
Many of the survivors owe their lives to the courage and leadership exhibited by four chaplains of different faiths, who, in sacrificing their lives, created a unique legacy of brotherhood.
As soldiers rushed to lifeboats, Reverend George Fox (Methodist), Jewish Rabbi Alexander Goode, Reverend Clark Poling (Dutch Reformed) and Father John Washington (Roman Catholic) comforted the wounded and directed others to safety. One survivor watched the chaplains distribute life jackets, and when they ran out, they removed theirs and gave them to four young men.
As the Dorchester sank, the chaplains were seen linked arm in arm, praying.
American Legion posts nationwide remember Four Chaplains Day with memorial services that pay tribute to the courageous chaplains and the brave young men who lost their lives on that fateful night.
Art Farash, CW3 Ret