Updated 02/03/2013 10:00 PM
Four Chaplains Honored on Dorchester 70th Anniversary
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ROCHESTER, N.Y. - February 2nd, 1943. The U.S.A.T Dorchester is attacked by a German submarine while crossing the icy waters near Newfoundland.
"Aboard the Dorchester, Panic and chaos set in," said American Legion Chaplain, Gayle Marshall told the crowd at the St. Boniface Roman Catholic Church.
There were 900 people on board the Dorchester including four chaplains, Lt. George L. Fox, Lt. Alexander D. Goode, Lt. John P. Washington, and Lt. Clark V. Poling.
"They were willing to give up their lives so that others could be saved," Marshall told YNN.
After the chaplains handed out the last life jackets, they took off their own and handed them to four helpless soldiers knowing that their own deaths were certain.
"They linked arms and they went down with the ship, singing and praying," Marshall said.
Their sacrifice at sea became legendary. The four chaplains were Catholic, Jewish and Protestant. On the 70th Anniversary of the attack, the Monroe County Committee of the American Legion aimed to honor their courage Sunday night.
"It was an awesome unselfish act and the four chaplains, they need to be recognized," Marshall said.
The chaplains deaths were also recognized with a Service Cross, a Purple Heart and later, a Special Medal for Heroism awarded by President Eisenhower.
A total of 672 people died that night, but seven decades later, the selfless spirit of the four chaplains lives on.