GENESEO, N.Y., OCTOBER 26, 2023 – The Livingston County Board of Supervisors has proclaimed October 25, 2023 as United States Army Chaplain, Lieutenant George L. Fox Day in Livingston County in honor of the heroism displayed following the torpedoing of the United States Army Transport Dorchester during World War II.
On February 3, 1943, the United States Army Transport Dorchester was one of three ships en route to an American base in Greenland carrying 902 servicemen, merchant seaman and civilian workers. While nearing its destination, the Dorchester was suddenly attacked by a German submarine, which fired a torpedo that instantly killed scores and injured many more.
Among the chaos, Fox, along with fellow chaplains Lt. Alexander Goode, Lt. John Washington and Lt. Clark Poling, worked to calm the men, tended to the injured and guided disoriented passengers to safety. While doing so, the four chaplains were confronted with cold artic winds and deteriorating conditions aboard the vessel. In spite of the conditions, the four chaplains found a storage locker and began to distribute life jackets. Upon realizing that there weren’t enough for everyone on board, the four chaplains removed their own life jackets and gave them away.
As the ship went down, survivors recalled seeing the four chaplains with arms linked as they prayed and sang hymns. Of the 902 men aboard the Dorchester that night, 203 survived – many because of the heroism shown by the four chaplains.
As a result of their selfless actions, the four were posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Purple Heart and each received a Special Medal for Heroism called the Four Chaplains’ Medal.
Born in 1900 in Lewiston, Pennsylvania, Fox enlisted as a medic in World War I and was awarded the Silver Star, several Purple Hearts, and French Croix de Guerre for his extraordinary service in the Great War. Following his service, Fox enrolled in Moody Bible Institute in 1923 before receiving a bachelor’s degree from Illinois Wesleyan University in 1929. For several years, he held the posts of State Chaplain and Historian in Vermont before being called back into duty following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in 1941. While serving, Fox was stationed at Camp Davis in North Carolina before being ordered to Boston Port of Embarkation where he would begin his travel overseas.
To learn more about the heroic actions of the four chaplains, please visit the United States Army’s website.
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About Livingston County:
Founded in 1821, Livingston County, N.Y., is home to more than 61,000 residents in 17 towns located across 631 square miles of the Finger Lakes region.