Time to remember four heroic chaplains
January 29, 2009
The everyday life of Soldiers does not involve the sacrifice of life or death, but Servicemembers still strive to live by the seven Army values and execute their duties nobly. Then there are some who heroically sacrifice their lives for others and are worth being recognized and commemorated: The four chaplains.
The four chaplains gave up their lives for Soldiers during the sinking of the Dorchester, the US Army Transport ship, in the waters of Greenland during World War II Feb 3, 1943. The vessel was hit by a torpedo from a German U-boat.
The four chaplains calmed the panicking Soldiers, helped the evacuation and in the end, gave up their life jackets to Soldiers. Despite their efforts to save as many as of the nine hundred passengers as possible, the majority of the people on board died in the freezing water. However, their heroism and self-sacrifice lives on today.
"These four chaplains were key to the morale of the troops prior to the deployment and during the deployment of World War II," said Chap. (Lt. Col.) Richard Spencer, Division chaplain. "It's a true story of four army chaplains who demonstrated and lived for the core Army values, especially selfless service."
The four chaplains were Rev. George Fox, Jewish Rabbi Alex Goode, Rev. Clark Poling and Father John Washington. These exemplifying figures were hugely important to the U.S. Army Chaplaincy.
"It is an important part of the history of the chaplain corps because the four chaplains draw from different faiths, but represent the Army and inspirations to a greater degree of selfless service," said Chap (Maj.) Dale Code, 2ID deputy Division chaplain.
According to Spencer, there are five dedicated Army chapels named after the four chaplains, stained glass in the Pentagon as well as a museum section dedicated to the four chaplains at the US Army Chaplain Center and School at Fort Jackson.
The upcoming prayer breakfast Feb. 3 is going to be held in commemoration of these four chaplains.
"It will be an opportunity to see and reflect on these chaplains who actually gave up their lives for (people like) me, Soldiers," said Sgt. 1st Class Corye Carrington, Division Chaplain's Office operations NCO.
The prayer breakfast will feature scripture readings and a video about the four chaplains, which will provide spiritual guidance and leadership development for Soldiers.
Spencer has personally met both the relatives of the four chaplains and the witnesses that were on the ship at the time. He felt honored listening to their life stories of heroism and he wants Soldiers to share that during the prayer breakfast. The prayer breakfast is at CG's Mess, Camp Red Cloud, 7 a.m. Feb. 3.