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The Story of the Four Chaplains

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  • The Story of the Four Chaplains

    ****I recieved this in an email today I thought it was inspiring****
    Our Applied Learning Labs are named Fox, Poling, Washington and Goode ***(At Ft. Jackson where chaplains are trained)***
    ************************************************** ********
    The Story of the Four Chaplains

    It was Feb. 3rd 1943, and the U.S. Army Transport Dorchester was
    one of three ships in a convoy, moving across the Atlantic from
    Newfoundland to an American base in Greenland. A converted luxury
    liner, the Dorchester was crowded to capacity, carrying 902 servicemen,
    merchant seamen and civilian workers. It was only 150 miles from its
    destination when shortly after midnight, an officer aboard the German
    submarine U2 spotted it. After identifying and targeting the ship, he
    gave orders to fire. The hit was decisive, striking the ship, far below
    the water line. The initial blast killed scores of men and seriously
    wounded many more. Others, stunned by the explosion were groping in the
    darkness. Panic and chaos quickly set in! Men were screaming, others
    crying or franticly trying to get lifeboats off the ship.

    Through the pandemonium, four men spread out among the soldiers,
    calming the frightened, tending the wounded and guiding the disoriented
    toward safety. They were four Army chaplains, Lt. George Fox, a
    Methodist; Lt. Alexander Goode, a Jewish Rabbi; Lt. John Washington, a
    Roman Catholic Priest; and Lt. Clark Poling, a Dutch Reformed minister.
    Quickly and quietly the four chaplains worked to bring calm to the men.
    As soldiers began to find their way to the deck of the ship, many were
    still in their underwear, where they were confronted by the cold winds
    blowing down from the arctic. Petty Officer John J. Mahoney, reeling
    from the cold, headed back towards his cabin. "Where are you going?" a
    voice of calm in the sea of distressed asked? "To get my gloves,"
    Mahoney replied. "Here, take these," said Rabbi Goode as he handed a
    pair of gloves to the young officer. "I can't take those gloves,"
    Mahoney replied. "Never mind," the Rabbi responded. "I have two pairs."
    It was only long after that Mahoney realized that the chaplain never
    intended to leave the ship.

    Once topside, the chaplains opened a storage locker and began
    distributing life jackets.
    It was then that Engineer Grady Clark witnessed an astonishing sight.
    When there were no more lifejackets in the storage room, the chaplains
    simultaneously removed theirs and gave them to four frightened young
    men. When giving their life jackets, Rabbi Goode did not call out for a
    ***; Father Washington did not call out for a Catholic; nor did Fox or
    Poling call out for a Protestant. They simply gave their life jackets to
    the next man in line. One survivor would later call it "It was the
    finest thing I have seen or hope to see this side of heaven."

    As the ship went down, survivors in nearby rafts could see the
    four chaplains -- arms linked and braced against the slanting deck.
    Their voices could also be heard offering prayers and singing hymns. Of
    the 902 men aboard the U.S.A.T. Dorchester, only 230 survived. Before
    boarding the Dorchester back in January, Chaplain Poling had asked his
    father to pray for him, "Not for my safe return, that wouldn't be fair.
    Just pray that I shall do my duty...never be a coward...and have the
    strength, courage and understanding of men. Just pray that I shall be

    Although the Distinguished Service Cross and Purple Heart were
    later awarded posthumously Congress wished to confer the Medal of Honor
    but was blocked by the stringent requirements which required heroism
    performed under fire. So a posthumous Special Medal for Heroism, The
    Four Chaplains' Medal, was authorized by Congress and awarded by the
    President on January 18, 1961. It was never before given and will never
    to be given again.

  • #2
    Re: The Story of the Four Chaplains

    awesome inspiring post. Thanks for sharing


    • #3
      Re: The Story of the Four Chaplains

      that story sent chills up my spine. Awesome story. I can really say that Chaplains are some of the most awesome people in the army. I had an opputunity to meet one as well as watched the documentary God's Soldier.... Have you seen it?


      • #4
        Re: The Story of the Four Chaplains

        Spring must be coming early. My eyes are a little watery.


        • #5
          Re: The Story of the Four Chaplains

          That hit me right in my weak spot. Very inspirational.