Letter: Honor brave chaplains who paid the ultimate price

Published 6:58 pm Monday, January 20, 2020

Feb. 3 will mark the 77th anniversary of the sinking of the troopship USAT Dorchester. It carried to their death 672 men, including four U.S. Army chaplains of three faiths, who stood united in prayer as the ship went down. 

These four chaplains, Roman Catholic, Jewish and Protestant, gave their own life jackets away, not asking if those receiving them were Catholic, Jewish or Protestant. They simply gave their jacket to the next one in line, thus sacrificing their own life to save others.

The heroic deeds of Chaplains Lt. George L. Fox, Lt. Alexander D. Goode, Lt. John P. Washington and Lt. Clark V. Poling are inspiring and ever shining examples of real brotherhood for all times and all peoples. We, as Americans, must never forget their supreme sacrifice for our freedom. May our lives prove that their sacrifice was not in vain.

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As American Legion 1st District chaplain, it is my hope that on Feb. 2, all people in all places of worship would take some time to honor these four men of God, who gave up their lives that others may live. The Bible states in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” After being hit by a German torpedo and as the Dorchester was sinking, the four chaplains did just that. It was Feb. 3, 1943, in the icy Atlantic waters 150 miles from their destination to Greenland.

If you would like more information about Four Chaplains Sunday, contact me, Larry Otto, at 507-475-0363 or search the web with key words “Four Chaplains Sunday.” I thank you, in advance, for your consideration to honor these brave Army chaplains on Feb. 2.

Larry Otto


1st District American Legion