It is written on a plaque displayed prominently in his office. It is the story of “The Four Chaplains” and Chaplain Lt. Col. Paul Hurley knows it by heart. As he starts to tell it before a gathering of other chaplains, it sounds like the beginning of every “a minister, a priest and a rabbi” joke ever told, but the image is dispelled quickly as the message sinks in.
On Feb. 3, 1943, at 12:55 a.m. the U.S. Army Transport (U.S.A.T.) Dorchester was torpedoed by a German U-Boat off Newfoundland with 900 soldiers aboard. One torpedo in a spread of three blew a huge hole below the water line, dooming the ship instantly.