Friday, April 6, 2018

Four Men of God

The Immortal Chaplains
A priest, a rabbi, and two Protestant pastors - four U.S. Army First Lieutenants, four U.S. Army chaplains - stepped into immortality in the early hours of the 3rd of February.

It was 1943, in the cold darkness of the North Atlantic, the ship, SS Dorchester, was less than 150 miles from her destination packed with American fighting men on their way to Greenland when she was spotted by the German submarine U-223.

The German captain identified his target and ordered, "Torpedo los!"

A hit below the waterline sealed the fate of the ship, and most of the men aboard her.

Two-hundred and thirty men were rescued from the ice cold waters off Greenland. Out of nine-hundred and four.

The four chaplains ministered to those who had survived the torpedo, even going so far as to give their life jackets to four young soldiers who had none.
Petty Officer John J. Mahoney, reeling from the cold, headed back towards his cabin. "Where are you going'" a voice of calm in the sea of distressed asked, "To get my gloves," Mahoney replied. "Here, take these," said Rabbi Goode as he handed a pair of gloves to the young officer. "I can't take those gloves," Mahoney replied. "Never mind," the Rabbi responded. "I have two pairs." It was only long after that Mahoney realized that the chaplain never intended to leave the ship. (Ibid)
Praying, in Hebrew, in Latin, and in English, the four men gave succor to those young soldiers who were scrambling to evacuate the sinking ship, for many it would be the last comfort they would receive in this life as many survivors died of exposure in the cold, cold sea.
As I swam away from the ship, I looked back. The flares had lighted everything. The bow came up high and she slid under. The last thing I saw, the Four Chaplains were up there praying for the safety of the men. They had done everything they could. I did not see them again. They themselves did not have a chance without their life jackets. — Grady Clark, survivor (Source)
Coast Guard Cutter USCGC Escanaba rescues Dorchester survivors.
Reverend George Lansing Fox.

Rabbi Alexander David Goode.

Reverend Clark Vandersall Poling.

Father John Patrick Washington.

Lost at sea. Giving their lives that others might live.

No greater love...

Men of God, Men of Faith
Heroes all...
His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Matthew 25:21 KJV


  1. Wow, what a story to start the day with! (a little dusty in here) Thank you!!!

  2. Real dusty in the Milwaukee airport. I blame the custodians. Stories of incredible devotion,courage and honor notwithstanding.

  3. Makes you take a step back and think about things. Thanks Sarge.

  4. Debra Reynolds (doorkeeper)April 6, 2018 at 8:07 AM

    They give the award of the Four Chaplins to those who serve the veteran community. My dad received one some 20 years ago. It's one of his prized possessions.

  5. I was stunned by their service and sacrifice as much today as when I first heard about these great men some 6-7 years ago.

    They were also immortalized by the US Postal Service, as a stamp and a pre-printed envelope.

    Sad to see this level of religious belief and just plain courage get lost by the wayside as 'more courageous' people today stand up to demand coffee gets labeled as a possible cancer source or some other bull-scat.

    1. This nation used to celebrate heroes, now we celebrate...

      I don't know what "we" celebrate in these modern times. I do know that I am out of step with most of the country. I praise the old fashioned virtues: God, Family, Duty, Honor, Country.

      I believe that most who visit here feel the same.

  6. My office must need spring cleaning - dusty in here as well.

    As far as what we celebrate these days, I think there are a LOT of folks who still 'praise the old fashioned virtues', Sarge. They just don't make the news. Not saying a fair number of snowflakes don't need counseling (in the boot camp manner) and an attitude adjustment, but there are still a huge number of good folks just going about their business.

    1. I think you're right Tom, but it would be nice to see it in the news.

      No, I'm not holding my breath on that one.


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