The Four Chaplains' Monument
At 12:55 am on February 3, 1943, a German torpedo struck the USAT DORCHESTER transporting soldiers in the North Atlantic during World War II. Twelve of the fourteen lifeboats were unusable and there were not enough life jackets for the frantic soldiers. Rabbi Alexander Goode, Rev. George L. Fox, Rev. Clark V. Poling and Father John P. Washington gave their life jackets to others.
Remaining on board, the Chaplains offered solace to the frightened men. Their actions saved lives. Soldiers, who survived, tell of the Four Chaplains, each of different faith, standing arm in arm, praying and singing as the ship vanished beneath the waves.
Posthumously, each Chaplain was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and the Purple Heart for heroism. In 1948, the U.S. Postal Service issued a commemorative stamp, citing their bravery as "Interfaith in Action."
Only 230 of 902 Americans survived this tragedy.
Sponsored by: Indian River County Historical Society, Four Chaplains Monument Committee, and the City of Sebastian, FL.
The Four Chaplains' Medal was a decoration approved by an Act of Congress on July 14, 1960 (P.L. 86-656, 74 Stat. 521). The decoration recognizes the heroic actions of four Army Chaplains during World War II.
The Chapel of the Four Chaplains is located at 1201 Constitution Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19112 the site of a World War II Navy Chapel.