Four Chaplains Day

American Minute with Bill Federer

Four Chaplains Day: Sinking of USAT Dorchester & Courageous Self-Sacrifice

On the frigid night of FEBRUARY 3, 1943, the overcrowded Allied ship U.S.A.T. Dorchester, carrying 902 servicemen, plowed through the dark, freezing waters near Greenland.

At 1:00am, a Nazi submarine fired a torpedo into the transport’s flank, killing many in the explosion and trapping others below deck. It sank in 27 minutes. The two escort ships, Coast Guard cutters Comanche and Escanaba, were able to rescue only 231 survivors. 

In the chaos of fire, smoke, oil, and ammonia, four chaplains calmed sailors and distributed life jackets:

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