Chaplain’s Report


The story of the Four Chaplains is to the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps, what Belleau Wood is to the Marine Corps. It has become part of our lore. February 3rd is celebrated as “Four Chaplains Day” by our Corps every year. On Feb. 3, 1943 the U.S.A.T. Dorchester was sunk carrying 902 service members. Only 230 survived. The four chaplains on board tended to the wounded, prayed for the dying and preached courage to those who would live. When there were no more lifejackets available, the chaplains removed theirs and gave them to four service members. Survivors saw the four chaplains standing on the deck with their arms linked as the ship went down. Among them was Reverend George Fox.

On 15 February 2024, I had the privilege of presenting posthumous awards for Chaplain (1LT) George L. Fox to his granddaughter, Mrs. Lisa Hirbour, at her home in Douglas, MA. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star and his second Purple Heart.

Personally, the story of Chaplain George Fox intrigues me. He was 17 when the U.S. declared war in 1917, and he lied about his age so that he could enlist as a private in World War 1. He served as an unarmed ambulance driver. He survived his first trip across the Atlantic through submarine infested waters to
serve on the front in France. He survived an artillery attack, but his back was never the same after that. He received a 29% disability rating. Upon his return home he finished high school, went to college, met his wife, became a preacher, and then went to seminary. He was a pastor and he became the chaplain for the American Legion where he was known for his kindness and concern that transcended denominational lines. When World War 2 broke out, no one would have blamed him for standing on the side lines as an injured war veteran. But at 41 years old, he was medically cleared to reenter the Army as a chaplain. He went back to serve Soldiers, knowing better than many what lay before them. Then, when the time came for him to do his duty for God and country, he didn’t flinch. He gave his life for his brothers in arms.

It was an honor and a privilege to play a small part in paying our respects to Chaplain Fox. I think one of the reasons why the Chaplain Corps reveres the Four Chaplains is because they embody the first amendment right to the free exercise of religion, and they demonstrate that in a religiously pluralistic society we remain united around common principles, including selfless service. The Four Chaplains demonstrate to the Army, and to our United States, that greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

MissionInsite Resource
Communication Is As Much About Doing As It Is Saying