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The United States Merchant Marine

A brief overview of the Merchant Marines.
by

Alexis Keslinke

on 29 April 2010

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Transcript of The United States Merchant Marine

The United States Merchant Marine The Merchant Marine refers to the fleet of U.S. owned merchant ships. The Merchant Marine is responsible for transporting cargo and passengers during peace time. In times of war, the Merchant Marine is an auxilary to the Navy, and can be called upon to deliver troops and supplies for the military, as it was during World War II Through the course of WWII, over 250,000 men served on every kind of boat, in every sea. One in 26 merchant mariners who served died A greater proportionality than that of any other service, inluding the Marine Corps http://americanhistory.si.edu/onthewater/assets/audio/merchant_mariners/campbell/4-4.mp3
Spud Campbell describes the sinking of the Liberty ship SS Henry Bacon by German aircraft on February 23, 1945. Sixteen merchant mariners and twelve members of the Navy Armed Guard were killed in this attack
Merchant marines often manned Liberty Ships, which
could haul 10,000 long tons of cargo. Almost 3,000
were produced during the course of the war. Many of the Liberty ships did not survive their first trip (including the U.S.S. Mallory-above)
They went down with valuable cargo and hundreds of merchant mariners Survivors were often picked up by the Coast Guard, or Allied ships and brought to the nearest port The merchant mariners were not treated well. "If there was a Navy man and a mariner both in the water, they always pulled the Navy guy out. We had to swim for it," said one merchant crewman Merchant marines often had to make their own way home from foreign shores. They could be designated "missing" or "lost at sea" for months before making it back to U.S. soil There were many who never made it back. They did not receive military burial rites, and their wives and children received no pensions There weren’t any parades for the United States Merchant Marine.
—Rear Admiral Thomas Patterson, United States Merchant Service (Ret.) After the war, the merchant marines returned home to little recognition and no benifits Merchant mariners were not considered veterans
under the 1946 G.I. Bill. As a result, many were
unable to get a job, buy homes, or attend college.
With no place to go, many went back to sea It wasn't until 1988 that Merchant Marine veterans of WWII
attained non-civilian status. By then, most were too old to take
advantage of the G.I. Bill Since the early 1990's, veterans have lobbied
Congress for recognition of their services HR63 passed the House on May 12, 2009
Its counterpart, S663 remains stalled in the
Senate A 'Belated Thank You to the Merchant Marine' was
proposed in early 2009,
awarding a $1,000 a month stipend
to WW II veterans There are less than 10,000 merchant marines left.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates the cost
of the bill at less than $1 per American citizen Veterans like A.J. Wichita
(president of the USMM WWII
veterans association)
continue to lobby Congress
for support in every way possible "In every state, thousands of
Mariner's descendants are waiting
for their Senator to honor their fathers,
grandfathers, and great-grandfathers." These brave men continue
to wait for recognition for
their sacrifices “I was a member of the United States Maritime Service.
I was a Merchant Marine. I was a soldier,” said Roger Harding.
“I just want people to know what I did.” No cross marks the place
Where we now lie
What happend is known to us
You asked and we gave our lives
To protect our land from the enemy

No Flanders Fields
Where poppies blow
No gleaming crosses
Row on Row
No unnamed tomb
For all to see
And pause and wonder
Who might be The sailors Valhalla
Is where we lie
On the ocean bed
Watching our ships pass by
Sailing in safety
Now thru the waves
Often right over
Sea locked graves

We ask you
To just remember us
Full transcript