ROCKSPRINGS — The Drew Webster American Legion Post #39 recently hosted a dinner followed by a service honoring the fallen sailors and the four chaplains that died when the U.S.A.T. DORCHESTER sank off the coast of Greenland after being torpedoed by a German Submarine on Feb. 3, 1943.
The four chaplains moved around the ship trying to calm the frightened and wounded men by offering words of hope and light and spiritual guidance during the chaos. When all life jackets were gone, they removed theirs and gave them to sailors who had none.
With their arms locked together the four chaplains, George L. Fox, Clark V Poling, Alexander D. Goods and John P. Washington went down with the ship willingly giving up their lives so that others may live. Of the 902 men aboard, 692 died that day.
Post 39 Commander John Hood welcomed all who attended, and the presentation of colors was by 8th District Assistant Sergeant at Arms, Norman Price and Bill Spaun, Post #39.
The National Anthem was sung, and the pledge of Allegiance was said by all.
George Hoffman gave the POW/MIA Service.
The Saga of the Four Chaplains was presented by Wayne Thomas, Post 39. Alexander D. Goode was presented by Dan Arnold, Post 39; George L. Fox was presented by Sam VanMatre, Post 39; Clark V. Poling was presented by Wally Hatfield, Post 39; and John P. Washington was presented by Steve VanMeter, Post 39, followed by a short video of the sinking of the USAT Dorchester.
Auxiliary President JoAnne Newsome gave the Roll Call of Post while Lilly Kloes and Kathy Thomas did the lighting of the candles, and Betty VanMatre placed the flowers on the cross.
The presentation of the wreath for all fallen sailors and those from the Dorchester was by JoAnne Newsome and Betty VanMatre. Taps were played by 8th District Assistant Sergeant at Arms, Norman Price.
Chaplin Jerry Frederick gave the benediction and the colors were then retired.
John Hood saluted the flag at the end of the service.
Information and photos provided by Kathryn Johnson, Ladies Auxiliary.