February And Veterans: Some Dates


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February And Veterans: Some Dates

Lest we forget.

0201 - Last German Forces Surrender To Soviets (1943)

0203 - Four Chaplains Memorial Day: It was the evening of Feb. 2, 1943, and the U.S.A.T. Dorchester was crowded to capacity, carrying 902 service men, merchant seamen and civilian workers. On Feb. 3, at 12:55 a.m., a periscope broke the chilly Atlantic waters. Through the cross hairs, an officer aboard the German submarine U-223 spotted the Dorchester. Orders were given to fire torpedoes. The blast killed scores of men, and many more were seriously wounded. Men jumped from the ship into lifeboats, over-crowding them to the point of capsizing. Other rafts, tossed into the Atlantic, drifted away before soldiers could get in them. Through the pandemonium, according to those present, four Army chaplains brought hope in despair and light in darkness. Those chaplains were Lt. George L. Fox, Methodist; Lt. Alexander D. Goode, Jewish; Lt. John P. Washington, Roman Catholic; and Lt. Clark V. Poling, Dutch Reformed. When there were no more lifejackets in the storage room, the chaplains removed theirs and gave them to four frightened young men. The altruistic action of the four chaplains constitutes one of the purest spiritual and ethical acts a person can make. When giving their life jackets, Rabbi Goode did not call out for a Jew; Father Washington did not call out for a Catholic; nor did the Reverends Fox and Poling call out for a Protestant. They simply gave their life jackets to the next man in line. As the ship went down, survivors in nearby rafts could see the four chaplains, arms linked and braced against the slanting deck. Their voices could also be heard offering prayers. Of the 902 men aboard the U.S.A.T. Dorchester, 672 died, leaving 230 survivors. When the news reached American shores, the nation was stunned by the magnitude of the tragedy and heroic conduct of the four chaplains.

0204 - Navy Cross Created (1919)

0204 - USO Founded (1941)

0204 - First Nuclear-Powered Submarine, USS Nautilus, Logs Its 60,000th nautical mile (1957)

0209 - First US Combat Troops Sent To South Vietnam (1965)

0210 - President Eisenhower Warns Against US Intervention In Vietnam (1954)

0211 - First American POWs Released From Vietnam (1973)

0213 - 1st Medal of Honor Awarded (1861)

0213 - Women's Marine Corps Reserve Created (1943)

0223 - Desert Storm Ground War Began (1991)

0227 - Kuwait Liberation Day (1991)

--- Regards, Walt Schmidt