by J. Sebastian
“Take it, lad. You need it more than I do.” – Chaplain George Rentz, giving his life jacket to a seaman following the sinking of USS Houston during the Battle of Sunda Strait, 1942.
Commander George Rentz was a Chaplain aboard USS Houston, a cruiser sunk during a fierce naval battle with superior Japanese forces in the dark days of 1942. Clinging to a desperately overloaded piece of wreckage with several other sailors, he relinquished his spot of safety. Giving his lifejacket to a young seaman with those words, he pushed away, treading water for a while before his strength gave out and he sank below the waves, joining 800 other men from Houston who perished that day. He was awarded the Navy Cross for his action, the only chaplain so honored during World War II.
Please God that he has received a far greater reward.
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