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Memorial Mission

Four Chaplains of WWII
Remembrance Ceremony


Waterford, New York - 03 Feb 2018


ABOUT THE MISSION:

Members of the American Legion Lt. Fred H. Clark Post 91 have invited the Patriot Guard Riders to attend a Memorial Service being conducted in honor of the Four Chaplains.

About the Four Chaplains
It was the evening of Feb. 2, 1943, and the U.S.A.T. Dorchester was crowded to capacity, carrying 902 service men, merchant seamen and civilian workers. Once a luxury coastal liner, the 5,649-ton vessel had been converted into an Army transport ship.

The Dorchester, one of three ships in the SG-19 convoy, was moving steadily across the icy waters from Newfoundland toward an American base in Greenland. Having been made aware of enemy activity in the area, the captain had ordered the men to sleep in their clothing and keep life jackets on. Many soldiers sleeping deep in the ship’s hold disregarded the order because of the engine’s heat. Others ignored it because the life jackets were uncomfortable.

On Feb. 3, at 12:55 a.m., only 150 miles from its destination, the German submarine U-223 spotted the Dorchester and fired a fan of three torpedeos . The one that hit was decisive–and deadly–striking the starboard side, amid ship, far below the water line. In less than 20 minutes, the Dorchester would slip beneath the Atlantic’s icy waters.

Aboard the Dorchester, panic and chaos had set in. Through the pandemonium, according to those present, four Army chaplains brought hope in despair and light in darkness. Those chaplains were Lt. George L. Fox, Methodist; Lt. Alexander D. Goode, Jewish; Lt. John P. Washington, Roman Catholic; and Lt. Clark V. Poling, Dutch Reformed.

Quickly and quietly, the four chaplains spread out among the soldiers. There they tried to calm the frightened, tend the wounded and guide the disoriented toward safety. By this time, most of the men were topside, and the chaplains opened a storage locker and began distributing life jackets. It was then that Engineer Grady Clark witnessed an astonishing sight. When there were no more lifejackets in the storage room, the chaplains removed theirs and gave them to four frightened young men.

As the ship went down, survivors in nearby rafts could see the four chaplains–arms linked and braced against the slanting deck. Their voices could also be heard offering prayers.

Of the 902 men aboard the U.S.A.T. Dorchester, 672 died, leaving 230 survivors. When the news reached American shores, the nation was stunned by the magnitude of the tragedy and heroic conduct of the four chaplains.

Portions of the above narrative are contained on the Four Chaplains Foundation website, and can be viewed here: http://www.fourchaplains.org/the-sag...our-chaplains/


PRIMARY STAGING DETAILS: 03 Feb 2018
Primary Staging Time: 10:15 A.M.

The Church at Newtown Road
142 Lower Newtown Road
Waterford, New York - 12188
https://goo.gl/maps/6rzZkn55Uhk


Ride Captain:

"Big Dan" Nolin
dan1nolin@yahoo.com


Special Instructions:

Staging at the church with flag line for the arrival of guests. Members will re-form the flag line inside for both the posting and retirement of the Colors by the Saratoga County Sheriff Color Guard. PGR members are cordially invited to attend the luncheon following the ceremony.


Flags & Water:

Flags Will NOT Be Provided, Please Bring Your Own.
Large Bike Flags will NOT be needed.
Water WILL NOT be provided, please bring your own.





Submitted By: Ray Sestak
Position: Assistant State Captain

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