Fallen Warrior: The Four Chaplains

  • Published
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs

For our Fallen Warrior commemoration this week, we remember U.S. Army Air Force Lt. George Fox, Lt. Alexander Goode, Lt. John Washington and Lt. Clark Poling, SS Dorchester chaplains.

On February 3, 1943, the SS Dorchester was in convoy to Greenland when they were spotted by a German submarine. The submarine fired a torpedo at the Dorchester striking it on the right side. The blast killed many and seriously injured several more men.

The four Chaplains acted quickly to help soldiers find their way to the top deck. When they saw they ran out of life vests, the chaplains each gave up their own vest to a soldier who did not have one. In their remaining time left, they locked arms singing hymns and saying prayers, keeping the crew calm while the ship sank around them.

In December 1944, the four chaplains were posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and Purple Heart. Congress authorized "The Four Chaplains Commemorative Medal" in 1960, and Secretary of the Army Wilber M. Brucker awarded it to the four chaplains' next of kin on Jan. 18, 1961.

Editor's note: The Fallen Warrior series highlights Fallen Warriors who exemplify our core values and paid the ultimate sacrifice. Take a moment to honor this week’s heroes.