When folks think of Military Chaplains, Father Mulcahy usually comes to mind from the hit show M*A*S*H.
Chaplains have been an integral and important part of our Armed Forces since the Continental Congress instituted the Chaplaincy in November, 1775.
They have and continue to do a tremendous service to the spiritual health of our troops during war, but one incident during the 2nd World War epitomizes the duty of those who serve our troops.
This past weekend a little known anniversary passed honoring 4 chaplains who gave their lives to save others.
Four Chaplains, Lt. George Fox, a Methodist; Lt. Alexander Goode, a Jewish Rabbi; Lt. Clark Poling, a Dutch Reformed minister; and Lt. John Washington, a Roman Catholic Priest, were aboard the U.S. Army Transport Dorchester which was transporting 902 servicemen, merchant seamen and civilian workers to Greenland.
On Feb. 3, 1943, the ship was hit by German submarine U-223 and the chaplains quickly went into service to calm the men and distribute life jackets. When they ran out of life jackets, the four chaplains removed their own and gave them away to save others, and as the ship sank, the chaplains linked arms, offered prayers and sang hymns. 668 others died that day.
Each chaplain was posthumously awarded a Distinguished Service Cross and a Purple Heart in 1944, but many thought they deserved Medals of Honor. Due to the Medal of Honor’s requirement of heroism under fire, Congress authorized a Special Medal for Heroism and the Four Chaplain’s medal was awarded to descendants of the chaplains by Wilbur Brucker, the Secretary of the Army on Jan. 18, 1961.
In 1948, Congress designated Feb. 3 as “Four Chaplains’ Day,” in honor of the four for their dedication, selflessness and bravery. For a more about each of these men, please read The Story.
This is a great video too, and only a little over a half hour long. What an incredible story…
To all our Troops and Veterans, Thank You for your service and sacrifice.
Have a safe and blessed day all.