The Rumford Napoleon Ouellette American Legion Post 24 will perform their annual ceremony of the 72nd anniversary of the Four Chaplain’s sacrifices at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 1. This is open to the public with a light meal to follow.
The Four Chaplains
Early on the morning of February 3, 1943, the U.S. troop transport “Dorchester” was wallowing through icy seas off Greenland. Most of the 900 troops on board were asleep in their bunks. Suddenly a torpedo smashed into the Dorchester’s flank. Frantically pounding up the ladders, the troops milled in confusion on the decks.
In those dark moments of panic, the coolest men aboard were four U.S. Army Chaplains: 1st LTs Clark V. Poling (Reformed Church of America); Alexander D. Goode (Jewish); John P. Washington (Catholic); George L. Fox (Methodist). The four chaplains led the men to boxes of life jackets, passed them out to the soldiers with boat-drill precision.
When the boxes were empty, the four chaplains quietly slipped off their own precious life preservers, put them on four young GIs and told them to jump.
The Dorchester went down 25 minutes later in a rumble of steam. Some 600 men were lost, but the heroic chaplains had helped save over 200. The last anyone saw of them, they were standing on the slanting deck, their arms linked in prayer to the one God they all served.
Please join them as they honor these brave men and the sacrifices they made for others. Their monthly membership meeting for the Post, Auxiliary and SAL will follow at 5 p.m.