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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: February 2, 2017 01:50 PM
From: Senator Randy Vulakovich and Sen. Jay Costa
To: All Senate members
Subject: Four Chaplains Day
 
Next week, we will be introducing a resolution designating February 3, 2017, as "Four Chaplains Day" in Pennsylvania.

Lt. George Fox (Methodist), Lt. Alexander Goode (Jewish), Lt. John Washington (Roman Catholic), and Lt. Clark Poling (Dutch Reformed) were serving in World War II when their troop transport, carrying 900 soldiers to a base in Greenland, was struck by a German torpedo just after midnight on February 3, 1943. 100 men were killed instantly, and the ship lost communications and power. The remaining troops hurried to crowded lifeboats. In an act of heroism and selflessness, the four Chaplains hurried to comfort the dying, pray with the wounded, and encourage the living, guiding them to lifeboats in the dark. All four gave up their own life jackets to men who had none, sacrificing their lives to save their fellow soldiers. They were not among the 230 survivors rescued by nearby ships. The chaplains were posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and Distinguished Service Cross, but were technically ineligible for the Medal of Honor. Congress, wishing to honor their service, authorized a one-time Special Medal for Heroism that was awarded posthumously to their next of kin in 1961. Today, the Four Chaplains Memorial Foundation of Philadelphia honors their legacy by recognizing unconditional acts of service performed by citizens for their communities.

Last session, this resolution was introduced as SR 281 and was sponsored by Senators Wiley, Bartolotta, Browne, Costa, Dinniman, Farnese, Fontana, Greenleaf, Rafferty, Reschenthaler, Sabatina, Scavello, Schwank, Teplitz, Vulakovich, White and Yudichak.



Introduced as SR20