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Wed, 02.03.1943

Charles David Saves Many Of His Shipmates Aboard The USS Dorchester

USS Dorchester

*On this date in 1943, Charles W. David of the USS Dorchester gave his life for his country.

When segregation was still practiced in the armed forces, he bravely set out to save lives. The incident occurred when a convoy of three ships and three escorting Coast Guard cutters passed through "torpedo alley" some 100 miles off the coast of Greenland during World War II. At about 1 a.m. that morning, the submarine U-223 fired three torpedoes, one of which hit the midsection of the Dorchester, a U.S. Army troopship with more than 900 men on board. Ammonia and oil were everywhere in the fast-sinking vessel and upon the freezing sea.

Charles W. David, a Black Coast Guard mess attendant, died that day of exposure after plunging repeatedly in the freezing sea to rescue mostly white survivors of the Dorchester. In 1999, The Immortal Chaplains Prize for Humanity was presented in honor of Charles W. David.



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