POMEROY — After being torpedoed Feb. 3, 1943, by German submarine U-223 off the coast of Newfoundland, the USAT Dorchester was sinking.
During this chaotic time, while military personnel and civilians were attempting to escape, four chaplains remained on board to help others successfully board lifeboats, and give away their life jackets when they became scarce. The four men also provided spiritual guidance and, with their arms joined, George L. Fox, Clark V. Poling, Alexander D. Goode and John P. Washington went down with the ship.
Before going down with the ship, the men attempted to bring hope and light during the chaos, eventually spreading out around the ship to tend to wounded men, calm anyone frightened and guide anyone disoriented toward safety. Of the 902 men board the Dorchester, 692 —including the four —died. In 1944, the Distinguished Service Cross and Purple Heart were awarded posthumously to relatives of the four men, and President Dwight D. Eisenhower, in 1961, awarded them a special Medal of Heroism.
And Jan. 30, nearly 73 years later, the four men who gave their lives will be honored during the Eighth District Four Chaplains observance at Meigs Local School’s corporate office. The dinner will be 6 p.m. with the presentation afterwards. The event is being put on by Drew-Webster American Legion Post/Auxiliary 39.
The Saga of the Four Chaplains will be presented by Wayne Thomas, Post 39. John P. Washington will be presented by George Hoffman, Post 39; Alexander D. Goode will be presented by John Hood, Post 39; George L. Fox will be presented by Sam Van Matre, Post 39; and Clark V. Poling will be presented by Wally Hatfield, Post 39.
The Roll Call of Posts will be presented by 8th District Commander Mary Austin, Post 11, with the lighting of the candles presented by Eighth District Auxiliary President Cheryl Cox, Post 371. Placement of flowers and the presentation of the wreath will be done by Post 39 Auxiliary members, with Taps played by Eighthth District Assistant Sergeant at Arms Norman Price. Hood will give the benediction, and will salute flag along with Price and Van Matre. The public is invited.
Reach Lindsay Kriz at 740-992-2155 EXT. 2555.