Seventy-five years ago today, on 19 December 1944, the "Four Chaplains" were posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. The award was presented at the post chapel on Fort Myer, Virginia, to the next of kin of Chaplains George L. Fox, Alexander D. Goode, Clark V. Poling, and John P. Washington.
The citation recognized how these four men heroically and calmly moved about the deck of the United States Army Transport Dorchester, after it had been torpedoed by an enemy submarine in the North Atlantic, on its journey to the European theater of war. As the Dorchester began to sink rapidly, the chaplains encouraged the others on board and assisted them to abandon ship, even to the point of giving up their own life jackets to others in need.
The Four Chaplains went down with the ship, while offering words of encouragement to everyone around them, and prayers for their safety and deliverance, to the last.