The Four Chaplains:
Lasting Legacy of the Sacrifice
During World War II, a U.S.
ship named the Dorchester was crowded to capacity. The
ship carried 902 service men, merchant seaman, and civilian workers. The ship
was moving across the icy waters from Newfoundland
toward an American base in Greenland. The 5,649-ton Dorchester
was once a luxury coastal liner. This ship had been converted into an Army
transport. Hans J. Danielson, the shipís captain, was concerned and cautious
that night. Earlier an enemy submarine had been detected by sonar. The captain
knew he was in dangerous waters. German U-boats were constantly prowling these
vital sea-lanes. Several ships had already been blasted and sunk.
A German submarine torpedoed the Dorchester
on February 3, 1943, at The torpedo knocked out the Dorchesterís
electrical system. The ship was dark. Panic set in among the men on board. The
Four Chaplains sought to calm the men. They organized an orderly evacuation of
the ship. They guided wounded men to safety.
The Four Chaplains helped other soldiers board
lifeboats. They gave up their own life jackets when the supply ran out. The
Chaplains joined arms, said prayers, and sang hymns as they went down with the
ship. These four United States
Army chaplains gave their lives to save other soldiers. The Four Chaplains are
an example of courage, selflessness, dedication, and sacrifice. They were: