Friday, April 12, 2013

"The Four Chaplains"
The United States Army Transport
For many years I, as a member of the American Legion here in Macon, Georgia, have heard of the "Four Chaplains" and how they gave their lifejackets to others as the Troop Transport Dorchester was sinking near Greenland.

The ship was hit by a German torpedo on February 3, 1943 in the cold waters of the North Atlantic.  As the ship sunk the troops and crew jumped to their certain deaths in the cold waters.

The 2013 Program at the American Legion Post highlighted the backgrounds of the four chaplains and also listed two books which were used as the sources for the program.  I acquired these two books and have just finished reading them.  The books are:

"Sea of Glory" by Ken Wales and David Poling
"No Greater Glory" by Dan Kurzman

As I read these accounts of this event I was impressed with the backgrounds of each of the four chaplains and their love of country, as well as their respective families.  The books contained interesting information about each of the four chaplains and how they were raised and where they studied for their vocations.

In addition to the main emphasis on the Chaplains there were often side accounts about the survivors of this tragic event.

One that was most interesting to me was relayed by Roy Summers, a gunner who had placed his faith in God when he survived the sinking of a previous vessel, the Chatham.  Roy summed up his situation as he decided to jump off of the Dorchester without a lifejacket by telling himself that "God would probably want to be consistent."

In summary, these books are an excellent read and an accounting of a great tragic event.  I would suggest that these four chaplains understood the concept of "Servant Leadership," as they handed their life jackets to others as they knew that they would perish aboard the Dorchester.

Every Middle School Student in the United States of America should have to read at least one of these books.  You can obtain a copy of "Sea of Glory" in like new condition for $2.99 plus shipping. 

The four chaplains were:

George Fox - a Methodist Minister
Alex Goode - a Rabbi
Clark Poling - a Reformed Minister
John Washington - A Roman Catholic Priest

Each of these books are drama filled and transfer the emotions of the situation to the reader very well.  As a U. S. Navy Veteran of the Cold War I was very humbled to read each of these books and often found my eyes tearing up as I read the pages.

A pair of powerful books that relate history as told by the survivors of this tragic event as well as the family members of the "four chaplains."

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