About Alexander D. Goode, Rabbi, Lieutenant
Rabbi and a lieutenant in the United States Army. He was one of the Four Chaplains who gave their lives to save other soldiers during the sinking of the USAT Dorchester during World War II. Awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and the Purple Heart and received national acclaim for his courage and self-sacrifice.
Alexander D. Goode May 10, 1911 – February 3, 1943 (aged 31) Place of birth Brooklyn, New York Place of death USAT Dorchester, Atlantic Ocean Allegiance United States United States of America Service/branch United States United States Army Years of service 1942 to 1943 Rank Chaplain lieutenant Battles/wars World War II Awards Chaplain's Medal for Heroism · Distinguished Service Cross · Purple Heart
Alexander D. Goode (May 10, 1911 – February 3, 1943) was a rabbi and a lieutenant in the United States Army. He was one of the Four Chaplains who gave their lives to save other soldiers during the sinking of the USAT Dorchester during World War II
Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1911, Goode was one of four children of Brooklyn Rabbi Hyman Goodekowitz. Raised in Washington, D.C., Goode excelled at sports at Eastern High School. He became a rabbi after graduating from the University of Cincinnati and in 1937 Hebrew Union College (HUC). While studying at HUC, he spent summers working as a rabbinic student at the Washington Hebrew Congregation. In 1940 he received his Ph.D from Johns Hopkins University. He was married in 1935 to Teresa Flax, niece of Al Jolson, with whom he had one daughter, Rosalie.
Goode served as a rabbi in Marion, Indiana and York, Pennsylvania. In 1941, Goode founded Boy Scout Troop 37 in York as a multi-cultural mixed race troop, the first troop in the U.S. to have scouts earn Catholic, Jewish, and Protestant awards.
In that same year, he applied to become a Navy chaplain but was turned down. The following year he was accepted into the Army, with orders to Harvard where he studied at the chaplain's school in preparation for deployment to Europe followed by brief service at an airbase in Goldsboro, North Carolina. In October 1942 he joined the other members of the Four Chaplains and was detailed to embark on the Dorchester a few months later.
In late 1942, Goode was transferred to Camp Myles Standish in Taunton, Massachusetts and attended Chaplains School at Harvard University. There he met fellow chaplains George L. Fox, Clark V. Poling and John P. Washington. In January 1943, the chaplains embarked on board the USAT Dorchester, which was transporting over 900 soldiers to the United Kingdom via Greenland.
On February 2, 1943 the German submarine U-223 spotted the convoy on the move and closed with the ships, firing a torpedo which struck the Dorchester shortly after midnight. Hundreds of men packed the decks of the rapidly sinking ship and scrambled for the lifeboats. Several of the lifeboats had been damaged and the four chaplains began to organize frightened soldiers. They distributed life jackets from a locker; when the supply of life jackets ran out, each of the chaplains gave theirs to other soldiers. When the last lifeboats were away, the chaplains prayed with those unable to escape the sinking ship. 27 minutes after the torpedo struck, the Dorchester disappeared below the waves with 672 men still aboard. The last anyone saw of the four chaplains, they were standing on the deck, arms linked and praying together.  Remembrance Four Chaplains stamp, 1948
The four chaplains were all awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and the Purple Heart and received national acclaim for their courage and self-sacrifice. A chapel in their honor was dedicated on February 3, 1951 by President Harry S. Truman at Grace Baptist Church in Philadelphia. The Four Chaplains' Medal was established by act of Congress on July 14, 1960, and was presented posthumously to their next of kin by Secretary of the Army Wilber M. Brucker at Ft. Myer, Virginia on January 18, 1961.
Goode is honored with a feast day along with the other Four Chaplains on the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America on February 3.
Alexander Goode, Rabbi, Lieutenant's Timeline
May 10, 1911
Brooklyn, NY, USA
February 3, 1943