Four Chaplains Remembrance Ceremony
Halfmoon, NY - 02-09-19
|Mission applies to the following Region(s).||Region 4, Region 5|
|About the Mission:||The organizers of the 2nd Annual Four Chaplains Remembrance Ceremony have invited the Patriot Guard Riders to participate in the services honoring these four heroes.
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 torpedoes . 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 Time:||10:00|
|AM or PM||AM|
|Staging Location||The Church at Lower Newtown Road
142 Lower Newtown Road
Halfmoon, NY 12188
Click here for map
|Lead Ride Captain||Daniel Nolin|
|Lead Ride Captain Phone #:||518-361-6410|
|Special Information:||We will stand flag line for the arrival of guest's, then a little before 11 a.m. we will proceed inside the church where we will continue our flag line for the posting of the colors. We will then be seated until the service is over, and will again form our flag line for the retiring of the colors. All members are invited to and encouraged to stay for a luncheon.|
|Submitted by:||Daniel Nolin, Senior Ride Captain, R4|