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American Legion honors Four Chaplains

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Sixty-nine years ago, on Feb. 3, 1943, the U.S.A.T. Dorchester was tragically sunk. Of the 902 young men on board, only 230 survived. Many of those survivors owe their lives to the courage and leadership exhibited by the heroic Four Chaplains: a Rabbi, Alexander Goode; Catholic Priest, John Washington; Protestants George Fox and Clark Poling.

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In attendance for the American Legion Post No. 148 West Point program was distinguished guest Lois Hall, state auxiliary department president. Presenting the individual life stories of the four chaplains were Amanda Walker, Ron Steinmacher, Donna O’Neill and Tiny Bowen. The Saga of the Four Chaplains was read by Linda Drummond. Jerry Board, Carey Board, Amanda Walker and Mike Chatman comprised a quartet singing “The Anchor Holds.” Andy Sabol, Samuel Collins, Jim Daley, and Eddie Curl represented the four Chaplains whose images were shown behind a illuminated screen.

Briefly, the ship was en route to an American base in Greenland. When only 150 miles from its destination, a German U-boat fired a torpedo, striking the starboard side. The boat sank in 20 minutes. The Four Chaplains brought hope in despair and light in darkness. Calming the frightened, tending the wounded, offering prayers for the dying and encouraging those who would live. Their ultimate gift was to remove their life jackets and give to four young men when there were no more life jackets.