Fallen Warrior: The Four Chaplains

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  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs

For our Fallen Warrior commemoration this week we remember U.S. Army Chaplains George Fox, Alexander Goode, Clark Poling and John Washington.

In 1943, the four chaplains were on the U.S.A.T. Dorchester, along with a crew of 920 soldiers headed from New York to an Army base in Greenland. Once the Dorchester was approximately 150 miles from its destination the ship was crossing through an area known as Torpedo Junction, where German submarines had sunk many allied ships during World War II.

Shortly after midnight Feb. 3, 1943, the Dorchester was struck by two torpedoes from a German submarine. The four Chaplains helped as many soldiers as they could by helping crew members into lifeboats and passing out life jackets.

There weren't enough life jackets for the crew, so the four chaplains took off their own to give it to others, giving up whatever chance of survival they had. As the Dorchester was almost completely underwater, with the deck at an angle, the four Chaplains braced against the railing, linked arms and gave one last word of faith to soldiers.

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 hero.