Chaplains Give Their Lives to Save Sailors during World War II
On February 3, 1943, the USS Dorchester would become another casualty of World War II. But unlike others before it, what would take place on the upper deck of the Dorchester would become a testament of brotherly love and sacrifice.
Pushing through the treacherous waters with 905 American servicemen aboard bound for Greenland, the Dorchester left its convoy a few hours short of its destination. A Nazi submarine, stalking the ship undetected, fired a torpedo straight toward the ship’s flank, exploding in the boiler room. Many on board died instantly. Others—jolted from their bunks, half asleep—scrambled to reach the upper decks. The ship, rapidly taking on water, began to plunge beneath the sea.
On deck, amid the confusion and fright, Army Chaplains George Fox, Alexander Goode, Clark Poling and John Washington moved through the crowd, calming frightened men, directing bewildered soldiers to lifeboats, and distributing life jackets with quiet precision. Soon, however, the supply of jackets was exhausted and four young soldiers, afraid and without life vests, stood waiting. Quickly the chaplains stripped off their own jackets and forced them upon the young soldiers.
The four men of God (one Catholic, one Jewish and two Protestant) had given away their only means of saving themselves in order to save others. Men rowing away from the sinking ship in lifeboats saw the chaplains clinging to each other on the slanting deck. Their arms were linked together, their heads were bowed as they prayed to the one God whom each of them loved and served.
That’s what real love looks like. That’s what Jesus did for us. He sacrificed his life for ours. He died so that we might live. He went through hell so that we wouldn’t have to.
From a sermon by Scott Bayles, An Easter Love Story! 3/9/2010
Related Sermon Illustrations
Contributed by Aaron Householder on Sep 30, 2004
John Sutherland Bonnell, the great preacher of a generation ago, has suggested five questions which are useful in evaluating Christian effectiveness and commitment. Look Closely at them to judge your strengths and weaknesses as a disciple of Christ. 1. Does my life witness each day to the power ...read more
Contributed by David Thompson on Jul 30, 2005
You see we have the spiritual side of worship, the music we make with our hearts, the bread that represents the body of Christ, the covenant that the cup represents and, the blood of Christ. And over here we have the physical side of worship. Actually eating the bread, and drinking the ...read more
Contributed by Ezequiel Alaniz on Jan 11, 2005
“4 Toros y el León” Había en la selva un león que siempre rondaba unos bueyes que se le hacían muy apetitosos hasta que uno de los bueyes se dio cuenta y les dijo a los otros que si se ponían todos juntos en circulo juntando sus colas, de esa manera los cuernos de ellos harían su trabajo para ...read more