Commemorative Medals
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Army Chaplain Medal of Valor


Description

A gold medal oval device 2 5/8 inches (6.67 cm) in height and 2 /16 inches (5.24 cm) in width overall, surmounted by an eagle, its wings elevated throughout, perched upon two olive branches arched at base, stems crossed and entwined at base, all gold. Displayed on the reverse, eight rays radiating from the center, bearing above the images of the Christian faith (a cross) and Jewish faith (a double tablet bearing Hebrew numerals from 1 to 10, surmounted above two equilateral triangles) surmounted at base, an olive wreath, ending over the outer rays, superimposed over the wreath an open book inscribed with the stacked names of the four chaplains who gave their lives in the line of duty - George L. Fox, Alexander D. Goode, Clark V. Poling and John P. Washington and the date the medal was established – July 14, 1960, all gold.


Symbolism

The soaring eagle is representative of the majesty of the spirit and of the government in whose service the four chaplains gave the last full measure of devotion. The olive branches symbolize spiritual peace and renascence. The Christian Cross and the Tablets of Moses with the Star of David represent the faiths of the four chaplains whose names are inscribed forever in the annals of heroism. July 14, 1960 reflects the date the decoration was approved by an Act of Congress.


Ribbon

A silk neckband 1 3/16 inches (3.02 cm) in width consisting of a 15/16 inch (2.38 cm) Bluebird (67117) ribbon with a 1/8 inch (.32 cm) Black (67138) stripe at each edge.


Background

a. The decoration was approved by an Act of Congress on 14 July 1960 (Public Law 86-656, 74 Stat. 521) and read: Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the President is authorized to award posthumously appropriate medals and certificates to Chaplain George L. Fox of Gilman, Vermont; Chaplain Alexander D. Goode of Washington, District of Columbia; Chaplain Clark V. Poling of Schenectady, New York; and Chaplain John P. Washington of Arlington, New Jersey, in recognition of the extraordinary heroism displayed by them when they sacrificed their lives in the sinking of the troop transport Dorchester in the North Atlantic in 1943 by giving up their life preservers to other men aboard such transport. The medals and certificates authorized by this Act shall be in such form and of such design as shall be prescribed by the President, and shall be awarded to such representatives of the aforementioned chaplains as the President may designate

b. On 12 August 1960, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Mr. Stephen S. Jackson, forwarded a memorandum to the Assistant Secretary of the Army indicating that the Secretary of Defense was desirous that the proper designs for subject medal be submitted for the President’s approval as soon as possible. On 5 September 1960, The Institute of Heraldry forwarded to the Office of The Quartermaster General a number of suggested designs for this medal together with the proposed ribbons and a draft of the proposed certificate to accompany the medal. On 27 September, 1960, the designs were returned to the Institute of Heraldry with the request for certain modifications. These modifications were made and again submitted to the Office of The Quartermaster General on 28 September 1960. A meeting with the Commission of Fine Arts was held on 18 October 1960. The Commission made several suggestions as to possible refinements. On 28 November 1960, the Office of The Quartermaster General forwarded the approved design for the medal and certificates to The Institute of Heraldry requesting that immediate priority action to be taken to provide the medals, ribbons and certificates at the earliest possible date. On 2 December 1960, all data required for development was forwarded to the Quartermaster Research and Engineering Command, Natick. The development was completed and the medals forwarded to The Institute of Heraldry on 4 January 1961. On 5 January 1961, the Institute of Heraldry forwarded the medals to the Office of the Quartermaster General.

c. The medal commemorates the actions of the Four Chaplains who gave their lives in the line of duty on 3 February 1943. It was designed by Thomas Hudson Jones of The Institute of Heraldry. It was presented posthumously to the next of kin by Secretary of the Army Wilber M. Brucker at Ft. Myer, Virginia on January 18, 1961.






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