A Dominican Priest in the Trenches
November 9, 2012
November 10 is the Marine Corps birthday, and the Province remembers its own Dominican “Devil Dog” Fr. Quitman Francis Beckley, O.P. Although commissioned as a naval officer on June 26, 1917 he became a chaplain in the Marine Corps on April 2, 1918. With the United States entrenched in the bloodshed of World War I, he was assigned to the 3rd Replacement Battalion of the American Expeditionary Force. While his life both before and after World War I is a veritable checklist of assignments throughout the Province it was in a place called Belleau Wood that he lived out his priestly vocation under the added stress of heavy German artillery bombardment, fixed bayonet attacks, and deadly mustard gas barrage. The Marines suffered 9,777 casualties, including 1,811 killed; but the Germans failed to take the forest, and deliver the decisive blow that they were certain would spell victory. Along with the marines he served during the “Battle of Belleau Wood,” the French awarded him the distinguished Fourragere aux couleurs de la Croix de guerre. Please remember to pray for the men and women in the United States military, especially with Veteran’s Day approaching.