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Local American Legion members to honor "Immortal Chaplains"

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Posted at 5:22 PM, Jan 24, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-24 22:04:45-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Local members of the American Post 364 are preparing to honor the courage of four unlikely war heroes. February 3rd marks the 80th anniversary of one of the most disastrous sea attacks during World War II - the attack of the U.S. Army Transport ship, the S.S. Dorchester.

The ship left New York en route to Greenland, but its soldiers never made it to the battlefront. The S.S. Dorchester was torpedoed by a German U-boat and sank, and 674 of the 904 soldiers and contractors aboard died.

But the heroic acts of four young first lieutenants and chaplains - two Protestant ministers, a rabbi and a Roman Catholic priest that became known as the "Immortal Chaplains" - is now forever etched in the history books.

At the time of the attack, the ship started taking on water. There were no lights and the crew became frantic. But the four chaplains were there to calm them and guide them to safety. At the darkest hour when the crew found out they ran out of life jackets, George Fox, Alexander Good, Clark Poling and John Washington did not hesitate.

The four men of faith gave up their own life vests to those who had none. Moments later, all four men could be seen linking their arms together, singing and praying as the ship went down.

"They gave of themselves so that someone else can leave someone else can go home, extended their life just a bit longer," Jose Lopez, commander of American Legion Post 364 said.

The American Legion will honor the four "Immortal Chaplains" in a memorial service on Feb. 4 at 10 a.m. at their headquarters located at 5323 Kostoryz Rd.

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Contact Veterans In Focus reporter Pat Simon at pat.simon@kristv.com