The Four Chaplains


Today (February 3, 2015) is the anniversary of the sinking of the ship U.S.S. Dorchester.  The ship was an Army Transport headed for the American base in Greenland in 1943.  Word War II was raging and the ship was part of a convoy that was supposed to protect it from roving Nazi U-boats.

Aboard the Dorchester were four Army chaplains: Reverend George Fox (Methodist), Jewish Rabbi Alexander Goode, Reverend Clark Poling (Dutch Reformed), and Father John Washington (Roman Catholic).  Around midnight, a U-boat discovered the convoy and fired upon it, hitting the Dorchester and damaging it badly.  The ship was sinking.  All nine hundred men aboard the ship scrambled to get off.  Only two hundred thirty men survived.

Among those lost that day were the four chaplains who, on their way to safety, stopped to direct their fellow soldiers to safety.  Before they themselves could escape the dying ship, however, they each met a man who had no lifejacket.  Each chaplain then removed their own lifejackets and handed them over to the four men who had no life preservers.  The men escaped while the four chaplains stood on the deck and prayed as they went down with the doomed ship.

Today, these brave chaplains are barely remembered for their sacrificial heroism.  The American Legion still remembers them, as it works to make sure that no American soldier from any war is ever forgotten.  I hope this post will help to keep these courageous chaplains’ deeds in public memory in some small way as, around the country, others remember the four chaplains who gave their lives so others could live.

May they never be forgotten!

The Mithril Guardian

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About The Mithril Guardian

I like stories.  Whether they’re on film, in song, or in print, I always remember a good story.  They remind me of paintings.  People cannot see them without learning something.  So it’s a good idea to look at a story from as many angles as possible.  I can watch the same movie a million times and still I will learn something that I did not know before.  Thoughts on the Edge of Forever is where I get to focus on what I learned from stories; what was not obvious the first time, the second time, or the umpteenth time. Earlier posts are written in the form of letters, usually to specific characters, to point out what I saw in a particular story or heard in a piece of music. Some of those letters, though, are like letters to the editor. Why did someone write a story this way and not another? Would the story have turned out better if the writer had done something different? These ‘letters to the editor’ will probably never be answered by the writers - the characters certainly will not answer anything - but their contents are still up for debate. After all, unless you ask a question, you will never get an answer. Still, civil ground rules apply. Any foul language or other form of abuse will not be tolerated in Thoughts on the Edge of Forever. I mean, who wants to be around the guest at the dinner party who is being nasty? Practically nobody, since people go to a party to have fun, not to hang around a grouch. So let’s have fun! The Mithril Guardian
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3 Responses to The Four Chaplains

  1. V.E.G. says:

    Well done, Chattanooga Five, rest in peace. They are heroes. God bless.

  2. V.E.G. says:

    Now, there is Chattanooga Five. They are five heroes who gave their lives saving others.

  3. V.E.G. says:

    There is similar for the four Chaplains: Six Teachers Plus One Young Lad from Sandy Hook. Dawn Alyson (Lafferty) Hochsprung, Mary Joy (Greene) Sherlach, Anne Marie (McGowan) Murphy, Victoria Leigh Soto, Rachel Marie D’Avino, Lauren Gabrielle Rousseau, and Jesse McCord Lewis. All expect Lewis are teachers gave their lives saving others, and Jesse McCord Lewis gave his life and he was one brave lad. Well done, God bless.

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