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It was on Feb. 3, 1943, that the troop ship Dorchester, with 900 soldiers and the Four Chaplains aboard, was torpedoed in the dead of night on its way to Greenland. The explosion ripped through the Dorchester from below the water line. Many troops drowned below decks as the Dorchester flooded and swiftly began to sink in the frigid sea.
The Four Chaplains acted to calm and aid the troops, in part by distributing life jackets to those who became separated from their own in the chaos and darkness created by the torpedo blast. When there were no more life jackets, each of the Four Chaplains, knowing that it meant certain death, took off his life jacket and put it on a soldier without one. They continued to help troops into lifeboats, until no room was left.
Then, as surviving soldiers who witnessed it later testified, the Four Chaplains went to their deaths together, their arms linked, praying for...