On January 20, 2002, one of our own Marine Corps League Detachment 1267, Col. Phillip C. DeLong, members, James "John" Davies, was bestowed with the "Legion of Honor," from the Chapel of the Four Chaplains. What is the "Legion of Honor"? The Legion of Honor Award, publicly recognizes and honors outstanding members of society, whose lives model the giving spirit and unconditional service to community, nation, and humanity, without regard to race, religion, or creed, and exemplified so dramatically by the Four Chaplains. To be considered, the applicant must demonstrate selfless and transformative achievement above, and beyond that of a professional resume or organizational position.
(Above Center) "James L. Davies, center, proudly displays The Chapel of Four Chaplains Legion of Honor Humanitarian Award he received during Monday night’s meeting of the Col. Phillip C. DeLong Marine Corps League Detachment 1267. Davies was joined by Gene Lamont, left, of the Marine Corps League of Inverness, and Orlando’s John Gionet, who serves as the Department of Florida Young Marines liaison officer."
Where did this honor originate? Well, a brief history of the Chapel of the Four Chaplains, and as told by witnesses and survivors of the U.S.A.T. Dorchester, after being hit by a torpedo off the coast of Greenland in 1943. “As the ship was going down, four chaplains of different denominations, a Catholic, a Rabbi, and two Protestants, were on board the ship. The U.S.A. T. Dorchester carried just over 900 personnel. As the ship was going down, the chaplains made sure that everybody was able to get into the lifeboats. In the process of evacuating the ship, the chaplains also made sure that everybody got life jackets – even to the point to where they gave their own life jackets to those that didn’t have one.”
As the lifeboats filled, there ended up not being room for the four chaplains. “Witnesses and survivors have stated that the last they saw of the four chaplains, they were arm in arm, praying on the bow of the ship, as it went down. In recognition and honor of those four chaplains who gave their all, and gave to others, the Chapel at the Naval Yard, in Philadelphia PA, was renamed the Chapel of the Four Chaplains.”
Only six Bronze Medallions are presented annually, and each recipient is nominated by a member of the Chapel. In 2017, Gregory Hunt, Marine Corps League Foundation president and himself a recipient of the Bronze Medallion once stated, “This is an example that we, as service members, give our brothers if it’s the last we have.” Warren Dupree, also an honoree of the Chapel of the Four Chaplains Legion of Honor Award, stated, “I am not worthy,” “What we do as veterans is from our hearts. We expect nothing in return, but I am honored beyond all.”
James J. Davies clearly was honored to receive The Chapel of Four Chaplains Legion of Honor Humanitarian Award as his fellow Marines showered him with applause. The award, which is rarely given out, came from the Four Chaplains Foundation in Philadelphia following Davies’ nomination by past recipients of the award from within the Marine Corps League of Florida.
Davies started his career as an enlisted Marine and retired more than 30 years later as a lieutenant colonel. He has spent an immense amount of time raising money for the Marine Corps League’s charities and countless hours helping to obtain markers for veterans in unmarked graves.
To learn more about the criteria for this award or to submit someone for this honor, click the following link: Chapel of the Four Chaplins Legion of Honor
For more information on the Chapel of the 4 Chaplains, click the following link. http://www.fourchaplains.org/
The Chapel of the Four Chaplins is located at