Four Chaplains Day - February 3
Fri Feb 3rd

Four Chaplains Day

Four Chaplains Day honors four military chaplains from World War II who sacrificed their lives for fellow service members on February 3rd each year.

Chaplains in the military are an integral part of the service environment. They provide consulting, spiritual direction, conduct services, and religious rites, among other duties, and are present around the world. If there are military troops stationed there, chaplains are also.

Four chaplains who had attended Chaplain School together at Harvard boarded the Dorchester en route to the Army Command Base in southern Greenland during World War II. 904 service members were aboard the ship.

Reverend George L. Fox, a Methodist minister, Reverend Clark V. Poling of the Reformed Church of America, Rabbi Alexander D. Goode, and Roman Catholic Church Father John P. Washington were among the four chaplains. They began on January 23, 1943, and their journey began on January 23, 1943. At the time, German U-Boats were patrolling the area, and the convoy was on high alert. Chaos ensued after a German submarine torpedoed the Dorchester on February 3, 1943, in the frigid waters off the coast of Newfoundland.

Eyewitnesses recalled the chaplains' heroism, including the gift of their life jackets and gloves to other service members. They pleaded with service members, assisting them in lifeboats. The four chaplains remained on the sinking Dorchester. Only 230 men were rescued from the seas, and only 230 men were saved.

In 1960, Congress awarded the four chaplains the Medal of Honor.

How to celebrate #fourchaplainsday

  • In books such as No Greater Glory: The Four Immortal Chaplains and the Sinking of the Dorchester in World War II by Dan Kurzman or Sea of Glory by Ken Wales, read about the four chaplains
  • Watch the movie Four Chaplains: Sacrifice at Sea
  • The National World War II Museum in New Orleans, The Chapel of the Four Chaplains in Philadelphia, or the Pioneer Chapel at Fort Leavenworth where a stained glass window recalls the chaplains
  • Attend memorial services in honor of the four chaplains

History of the four chaplains day has influenced the day's celebrations

Congress unanimously established Four Chaplains Day in 1988, which is observed annually on February 3rd.