Updated: Apr 10, 2019
By Mark Rhodes / Lou Calleja
On April 6th, 2019, one of our own Marine Corps League Detachment 1267, Col. Phillip C. DeLong, members, Robert Beale, 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.
Legion of Honor Recipient Robert Beale April 6, 2019
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.”
(L-R) Claudette Beale, Robert Beale, John Gionet
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.”
(L-R) Chairman John Gionet, Claudette Beale, Recipient Robert Beale, Lou Calleja
Robert C. Beale, a WWII Marine Veteran who saw action in the Pacific, is a man of action. For over seventy years Mr. Beale has been active in his church, community and veterans' organizations by helping to make the lives of those he touches better. As a school teacher, principal and high school football coach, Bob mentored and guided the young men in his charge, and by his council, many became successful and productive men. Robert is a staunch supporter of education, and to that end, he is always the first to volunteer in fundraising events supporting scholarship awards both in his community and veterans' organizations.
For many years, Mr. Beale has been volunteering to support the Toys for Tots program, and he works many hours sorting and distributing thousands of toys to underprivileged children.
At the age of 93, this WWII Veteran stands for long hours collecting donations for the support of veterans' charity causes, like our homeless problem and suicide prevention.
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