PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (Feb. 8, 2018)--Lt. Gen. Nadja West, Surgeon General of the Army and Commander of the Army Medical Command, received the Gold Medallion Award at the Four Chaplains Foundation at their 50th Annual Awards Banquet.

The Medallion signals that the recipient is a member of the Legion of Honor of the Four Chaplains Foundation. The Legion of Honor Award honors "outstanding members of society whose lives model the giving spirit and unconditional service to community, nation, and humanity without regard to race, religion, or creed exemplified so dramatically by the Four Chaplains."

The presentation was made by former Secretary of the Army Patrick Murphy and Kenneth Wong, formerly a civilian aides to Secretary Murphy.

The Four Chaplains--Father John P. Washington of New Jersey; Rabbi Alexander D. Goode of Pennsylvania; Minister Clark V. Poling of New York; and Minister George L. Fox of Vermont--are usually referred to as the "Four Immortal Chaplains."

In 1943, they provided encouragement and prayers as the U.S.A.T. Dorchester sank beneath the icy waters of the Atlantic after being torpedoed by a German U-boat. In the ultimate act of selfless valor and courage, they gave up their life vests and seats in the lifeboat, so others could continue to serve their God and their country.

The story of the four chaplains was well known in America for a while; in 1948 a first-class postage stamp was issued with their images on it. Stained glass windows in some chapels across the U.S. pay tribute to the four men, including at the Pentagon.

February 3 was previously designated by Congress to be recognized annually as Four Chaplains Day.

The Four Chaplains are often held as examples that represent the best in mankind and military service. The Four Chaplains Memorial Foundation, through their Legion of Honor, recognizes their principles of selfless service without regard to race, creed, ethnicity, gender or religious beliefs.

These same principles of goodwill and interfaith cooperation continue today with our military chaplains, said West.

"I am honored," she said, "to receive a medallion that is given in the memory of these four chaplains."

"I have faith that is unshakeable." West said. "I am an example of what true faith can do."

"I except it, not on behalf of myself, but on behalf of those men and women that I am honored to lead, and on behalf of the chaplains of the MEDCOM," she said.

She thanked the men and women who administer to the needs of our servicemembers and families. Among a profession of selfless service, nothing is more selfless than being a chaplain, she said.