As February 3, 2019 approaches, we’re reminded of the 76th anniversary of the event remembered as Four Chaplains Day.
Last year, the New York Times released an article that provides a great description of that fateful day. The New York times wrote “On Feb. 3, 1943, the U.S.A.T. Dorchester, a military transport ship carrying 902 American servicemen and civilian workers, was torpedoed by a German submarine about 100 miles off the cost of Greenland. In 18 minutes, the ship would be lost under the frigid sea. Panic ensued. The sailors who were not killed in the explosion or trapped below rushed to the decks, where some of the lifeboats had frozen to the ship, survivors recounted. But four chaplains standing on the decks remained calm, distributing life jackets. When the supply ran out, the chaplains gave the sailors their own.
The New York Times continued, “Only 230 men survived the sinking of the Dorchester, making it one of the worst naval tragedies for the Americans in World War II. Witnesses recalled seeing the four chaplains standing with arms interlocked, each praying in his own way, as the ship sunk. They were Catholic, Jewish and Protestant: Rabbi Alexander D. Goode, the Rev. George L. Fox, a Methodist Minister, the Rev. Clark V. Poling of the Reformed Church in America, and the Rev. John P. Washington, a Roman Catholic priest.”
For more details behind Four Chaplains Day, the Four Chaplains Memorial Foundation provides information here. Additionally, for organizations organizing events to honor Four Chaplains Day, the American Legion recently released guidelines here.
The author, United States Air Force retired Brigadier General Carl Buhler is the CEO and lead consultant of Buhler Consulting, LLC which specializes in providing consulting services for aircraft maintenance, supply, technology, logistics and production. Carl is a proud member of the American Legion.