POMEROY — Legionnaires of Drew Webster Post 39, Pomeroy, held services in observance of Four Chaplains Sunday at the Bradbury Church of Christ as a part of the regular Sunday worship service.
The post traditionally remembers in a church service the four chaplains who remained on the USS Dorchester as it sunk into the ocean off the shore of Greenland during World War II. Legionnaire Wayne Thomas again this year read the story of the torpedo which hit the Dorchester, a U. S. Army troop with more than 900 men on board. Several other legionnaires from the Post participated in the service.
The four Chaplains on board, two Protestant pastors, a Catholic priest and a Jewish rabbi, were among the first on deck, calming the men and handing out life jackets. When they ran out of life jackets, the chaplains took off their own and placed them on waiting soldiers. Approximately 18 minutes after that the ship went down. The chaplains were last seen by witnesses as standing arm-in-arm on the hull of the ship, each praying in his own way for the care of the men.
Almost 700 died, making it the third largest loss at sea of its kind for the United States during World War II.
The four Chaplains were Father John Washington (Catholic), Reverend Clark Poling (Dutch Reformed), Rabbi Alexander Goode (Jewish) and Rev. George Fox (Methodist).
In 1960, Congress created a special Congressional Medal of Valor, never to be repeated again, and gave it to the next of kin of the “Immortal Chaplains.”
Several local legionnaires also attended the Eighth District American Legion, Department of Ohio, Four Chaplains dinner and program at the American Legion Post 21 hall in Athens. There Frank Ryther gave a tribute and George Hoffman, Wally Hatfield, Sam VanMatre and Wayne Thomas told the stories of the four chaplains.