January 26, 2009
Mr. Filner submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Armed Services
Expressing support for the designation of Four Immortal Chaplains Day in remembrance of the 4 men who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the name of compassion for those of different races and faiths.
Whereas on February 3, 1943, The Army Transport Service troopship Dorchester was torpedoed in the North Atlantic Ocean by a German submarine, an event that resulted in the loss of nearly 700 lives and for which witnesses have recounted in the Congressional Record the heroism of 4 chaplains of different faiths: Lieutenant George L. Fox, Methodist; Lieutenant Alexander D. Goode, Jewish; Lieutenant John P. Washington, Catholic; and Lieutenant Clark V. Poling, Dutch Reformed;
Whereas witnesses verified that during the approximate 18 minutes the ship was sinking after being torpedoed off the coast of Greenland, the 4 chaplains went from soldier to soldier calming fears, distributing life jackets, and guiding men to safety; Whereas when there were no more life jackets, the 4 chaplains removed their own life jackets and gave them to others;
Whereas the 4 chaplains were last seen arm-in-arm in prayer on the hull of the ship; Whereas many of the 230 men who survived owed their lives to these 4 chaplains, and witnesses among them recounted the unique interreligious spirit and love for their fellow man that was later illustrated in a popular postage stamp issued by the United States in 1948, called ``These Immortal Chaplains--Interfaith in Action'';
Whereas Congress passed House Concurrent Resolution 90 in 1957 to honor these 4 chaplains and the men who died with them, and President Harry Truman and President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued similar proclamations calling for national recognition and participation in memorial services throughout the country that have been observed annually by the American Legion on the first Sunday of February;
Whereas Congress created a special medal for valor given to the 4 chaplains in 1960;
Whereas the Senate passed a unanimous resolution on the first day of the 2d Session of the 105th Congress, on January 27, 1998, designating February 3 as Four Chaplains Day; and
Whereas memorials to the chaplains' heroic sacrifice abound in many places throughout the country, including the Heroes Window in the National Cathedral in Washington, District of Columbia, the Chapel at the Pentagon, and the Chapel at the United States Military Academy at West Point: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives remembers the Four Immortal Chaplains who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the name of compassion for those of different races and faiths and requests the President issue a proclamation calling on the Federal Government, States, localities, and the people of the United States to observe a day in their honor with appropriate ceremonies, programs, and activities. <all>
I want to give thanks to God for allowing me to serve our country in the Marine Corps, Army, and Air Force. In all of my service permitted by God both active duty and reserve, I gave some 29 years, and 29 days of service in the Armed Forces.
To begin my military career, I was trained at Paris Island, SC, how to fight and defend the citizens of the United States with a commitment to lose my own life if necessary to serve my country.
In the process of time, God called me to be a military chaplain. A young Methodist chaplain by the name of James Hull from Greensboro, NC, ministered to me and the men in my organization, the Quantico Marine Band. I must confess, I was backslidding. I had been saved at six years of age in a daily vacation Bible school in Birmingham, Alabama. I was a long way from home and from the authority and observation of my parents. I had stopped going to church, in my case, the chapel on the base. I knew I was not living for the Lord, and felt guilty. One day, Chaplain James Hull visited us on the training field. When I saw the cross on his uniform, that was all I needed . . . The Holy Spirit gave me the desire and ability to confess and repent of my sins, and place my faith in Jesus to forgive me and restore my soul, and live for Him. It was then that I rededicated my life to Jesus to live in relationship with Him. Through the ministry and mentorship of Chaplain James Hull the Lord called me to be a military chaplain. I served in both the Army and Air Force as a chaplain, and retired as a lieutenant colonel in November 1991 in the Air Force Reserve at Robbins AFB, GA. Then, I was asked by Dr. Ronald W. Carpenter, Sr. to serve as the Director/Endorser for Chaplains Ministries, IPHC for 15 years, working under the leadership of Dr. Carpenter, Sr., and later, Bishop Chris Thompson who graciously invited me to continue serving after he became the Chairman of the Chaplains Ministries Board. Bishop Thompson allowed me the privilege to name and mentor my successor, Chaplain (Colonel) Jerry L. Jones, US Army Retired. Jerry is doing a great job and is taking Chaplains Ministries to the next higher level. I am proud of all of our military chaplains who are currently serving on active duty, the guard and reserve components, as well as those who have served and now have retired.
Our chaplains go where your sons and daughters go in their service to our country. They are there to provide spiritual counsel and worship service experiences for them.
It was General George Marshall who said, "I am deeply concerned as to the type of chaplain we get into the army, for I look upon the spiritual life of the soldier as even more important than his physical equipment . . . The soldier's heart and the soldier's spirit, the soldier's soul are everything. Unless the soldier's soul sustains him, he cannot be relied upon and will fail himself and his commander and his country in the end."
Confirming the conviction for the need for spiritual ideals and values of American soldier, General Douglas MacArthur wrote: "Throughout the history of mankind, symbols have exerted an impelling influence upon the lives of men. The cross and flag are embodiments of our ideals and teach us not only how to live, but to die."
In the Army, Navy and Air Force today military chaplains continue the long tradition of ministering the Word and sacraments to military personnel and their families around the world.
Opportunities for unparalleled ministries in the military challenge our chaplains to new and creative ways of presenting the unchanging Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our theme for Chaplains Ministries in the IPHC is "Bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Men and Women int the Military."
Like pastors in civilian parishes, military chaplains preach, teach, lead Bible studies, celebrate the sacraments (ordinances) by water baptism and serving the elements of communion, offer pastoral care and counseling, provide Christian education and discipleship, perform weddings, minister to the sick, bury the dead, and bring comfort to the bereaved. In addition, they advise commanders on all matters regarding morale, ethics, and the spiritual life of the command.
You may go to the website for Chaplains Ministries by Clicking Here.
Chaplain Jones was a career Army chaplain and has served at every level in the Army Chaplaincy. He is a man of faith, moral courage, commitment, and loyalty.
He is eager to communicate with you and walk you through the process of becoming a Chaplain Candidate and as a Chaplain in the Army, Navy, Air Force, VA Hospital Chaplain or Civil Air Patrol.