American Merchant Marine Veterans

POW/MIA DAY

“America has long stood tall as a beacon of freedom thanks to the women and men of our Armed Forces who safeguard our country and our ideals with courage, honor, and selflessness. While our heroes and their families continue to give of themselves for us all, we must recognize the unthinkable pain that remains with the loved ones of those who have not returned home.” Presidential Proclamation. The White House September 18, 2015


A Fateful Day: The Sinking of the SS Jean Nicolet

“I had just come from the mess room, finished my duties, and I had grabbed an apple, and I walked out on deck. And I laid back on the top of number three hatch, enjoying my apple and looking up. The sun was going down and I was relaxing. And the torpedo hit in number three, right under me, and it blew me in the air.” William P. Flurry, Stewart Department, SS Jean Nicolet (Smithsonian Oral Histories)

On July 2, 1944 the SS Jean Nicolet, a War Shipping Administration Liberty ship operated by the Oliver J. Olson Company and commanded by Captain David Martin Nilsson was hit and sunk by torpedoes fired by the I-8 a submarine of the Imperial Japanese Navy. This would become one of the worst at sea atrocities of World War II.

The first of the 2,700 Liberty ships was the SS Patrick Henry, launched on Sept. 27, 1941, and built to a standardized, mass produced design. The 250,000 parts were pre-fabricated all over the country and the 250-ton sections, complete with portholes and mirrors, were miraculously welded together in as little as four and a half days. A Liberty cost under $2,000,000. Photo and description courtesy U.S. Merchant Marine

The ship was steaming in the Indian Ocean carrying cargo and passengers into the China Burma India (CBI) theater. A few minutes after 1900 (7:00 pm) she was struck by a torpedo near holds number 2 and 3 while a second torpedo struck near hold number 4. Captain Nilsson made one of the most difficult orders a sea captain to make, he ordered the crew and passengers to abandon ship.

The Japanese submarine I-8 surfaced and took aboard some of the seamen, officers, and civilian passengers while leaving a large number in the water. The seamen taken aboard were brutally beaten, forced to crawl thru a gauntlet of Japanese sailors and some were shot as the I-8 commander taunted the men yelling insults.

“You are now my prisoners. Let this be a lesson to you that Americans are weak. You must realize that Japan will rule the world. You are stupid for letting your leaders take you to war. Do you know that the entire American fleet is now at the bottom of the Pacific?” (U.S. Armed Guards, Japanese Atrocities-The Jean Nicolet)

Captain Nilsson and two others were shoved into the conning tower never to be seen by the 23 survivors. The I-8 crew spotted an approaching aircraft and sounded the dive alarm the Japanese sailors sealed the ship to dive and left the remaining merchant mariners to survive in the water. Later, Allied aircraft that were alerted by the ships SOS dropped rafts for the men, which at this point had been in the water for 13 to 14 hours.

“Oh, I heard screams all the time, throughout the night. The sharks were getting a lot of people. I swam for, oh, I don’t know, maybe an hour or so, and I run onto another guy, who is a navy personnelan armed guard from the Nicolet. And we swam together, and he was getting cramps regularly through the night, and I would go over and hold him up and help him and drag him along…” (Smithsonian Oral Histories)

On July 4, the HMIS Hoxa appeared on the horizon retrieving the seamen from the water and transporting them to Addu Atoll in the Maldives where they were interrogated by British Intelligence. Lost were 31 merchant mariners, 18 U.S. Naval Armed Guards, and 27 passengers. Survivors included 10 merchant mariners, 10 U.S. Naval Armed Guards, and 4 passengers.

Francis O’Hara turned up in a Yokohama prison, the Navy had already declared him KIA and a Liberty ship was named after him. He saw Captain Nilsson and Gus Tilden, the radio operator in Penang, Malaysia. He believed Captain Nilsson was put aboard a Japanese submarine or ship which some think may have been sunk by the U.S. Navy.

In 1948, O’Hara returned to Japan as a witness in the War Crimes Tribunals, but what happened to the I-8 commander is questionable some reports state he committed hari-kari while bringing his last ship the I-401 into Tokyo Bay to surrender. The last survivor William Flurry joined his shipmates on August 25, 2010. This closed the story of one of the worst at sea atrocities of the war.

Within the Chapel, the Roll of Honor Book is stored. This book, permanently housed in a brass and glass display case mounted on Vermont marble immediately in front of the altar, lists the name, rank or rating, ship and date of sinking of over 7,000 officers and seamen who lost their lives on merchant ships during both World Wars Photo courtesy U.S. Merchant Marine Academy

Although the Merchant Marine suffered high casualties during the war, they were not given veterans status until the Merchant Mariners Fairness Act of 1988. In the Merchant Marine Academy’s Chapel in Kings Point, New York, the Roll of Honor sits in front of the altar and lists the names, rank or rating, ship, and date of sinking during World Wars I and II. Each day a midshipman ceremoniously opens the display case and turns the page so that all mariners will be remembered.

Read more about POW/MIA day

To read more about the SS Jean Nicolet and the U.S. Merchant Marine in Wold War II read Heroes in Dungarees published by U.S. Naval Institute Press.

A version of this article was previously published on Naval Inelligence Professionals (C) 2015 David Mattingly

Dave Mattingly is a retired Master Chief Petty Officer, writer, and national security consultant. He is a member of the Military Writers Guild, NETGALLEY Challenge 2015 and a NETGALLEY Professional Reader.

Stories of the Sea by David C. Holmes

First Story:

“One thing that stands out in my memory at the U. S. Merchant Marine Academy in October of 1942 was a close friendship formed, namely Norman Vail of Tea Neck, N. J.  Norman’s father was an alleged executive with Standard Oil Company, and Norm made it very clear to me that his dad “had influence” when it came to being assigned to ships in late November. Standard Oil tankers had their danger factor, but the food was reputed to be great and the quarters nothing less than luxurious. When the assignments came, instead of being assigned to a fine tanker, Norm and I found ourselves on the S.S. Gargoyle, a 1918 Socony Vacuum Oil Company tanker with a top speed of 8 knots and a capacity of breaking down on frequent occasions out at sea.

The food was passable, but the quarters for the four cadets was a kind of locker with port holes directly next to the engine room exit. During the winter time, the heat was bearable, but in the tropics, it was murder. Roaches abounded and at night would crawl over us when asleep.
I might mention that the S.S. Gargoyle had a kind of international crew left over from the old time when service in the U.S. Merchant Marine was the means that many foreigners chose to become U.S. citizens. the captain was Norwegian, Second Mate Russian from St. Petersburg, a Third Engineer from Germany, a Chinese cook, Greek pump-man and so on. American sailors were in the minority.

I might mention the Chinese cook wasn’t half bad at what he had to prepare.”  On another cadet voyage months later same ship he wrote, ”One beautiful evening in August when sailing in the Gulf of Mexico, a brand spanking new tanker over took us and sailed grandly towards the horizon. I can remember standing at the rail, watching this ship with a kind of fascination and a bit of jealousy. I was about to turn away when there was a bright flash, followed by a large volume of black smoke. I had a watch cap on at the time and pulled it purposely over my eyes to keep anyone from noticing how scared I was. The time of that torpedoing was 7:22 PM.”

Second Story:

This was November 1942 on the S.S. Gargoyle (foreign voyage) before and after weighing anchor off Staten Island. Four cadets from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, Long Island were aboard among an international crew from the old merchant marine days. My dad was one of the cadets (graduating USMMA June 6, 1944 by then already a veteran mariner having seen plenty of action at sea). So in his own words we begin:
“One incident which I remember with great clarity was as follows: Prior to our leaving the dock to anchor off Staten Island and putting to sea a very large Coast Guard commander came aboard with an entourage of sailors and wanted to demonstrate a new life saving device intended to save the lives of sailors swimming in cold seas.

It was a heavy rubber suit which covered the whole body excepting a space for the face. The Commander was in a hurry with his demonstration and volunteered the Chinese cook much to the amusement of everyone. The object was to put the suit on and jump into the water. The Captain, who spoke with a heavy Norwegian accent, was not a bit amused and protested to the Commander that ” you can’t throw my cook in da water”! The Commander was very reassuring, “The inventors made this whole thing perfectly safe.”

The Captain’s answer was ” I don’t give a (expletive) about the inventors put a line around that (expletive).” To get the whole thing over and done with, a line was tied around the cook and he was pushed into the bay. He sank like a stone. Bubbles commenced coming up at the spot where he sank. The Captain screamed for someone to pull up on the line, and the cook was hauled up on board swearing in Chinese and threatening to kill someone if he had the chance. The Commander had in his haste neglected to insist that a life preserver be worn under the suit. The Commander, and his men, left in a great huff, but the crew were laughing about it for days.

The following day, being Sunday, and unreasonably warm for the last of November, we anchored off Staten Island. I can remember the cows being herded into a barn at a nearby farm. At around eight in the evening, we weighed anchor. I grabbed four hours of sleep prior to going on watch at 12:00 AM. When I climbed up on the bridge to join the Second Mate, on the starboard side was the burning wreckage of a single cargo vessel. No survivors. This was how close the U-boats got to our shores. We pressed on knowing any second our fate could be the same, but it rarely came up in conversation as we all went about our duties.”

Third story told still as a cadet on the S.S, Gargoyle: Dad thought this story was written up in the “Saturday Evening Post” circa 1943 but I have not researched it as yet.

“One incident which I thought was interesting concerned the Third Engineer, who was German and spoke English with great difficulty. Apparently he had become despondent, possibly feeling that he should be home fighting against the Allies instead of helping them. The mess boy and I were at the back of the ship when the Third Engineer ran past us and leaped over the ship’s fan tail in a suicide attempt. In our excitement the mess boy and I threw the engineer a broom instead of a life ring, which wasn’t far away. It is amazing what one will do when there isn’t time for logic.  However, it was the broom that saved his life.

Now you have heard stories of survivors being spotted in the ocean and consequently rescued.  These have to be sheer fabrication. Once in the water, a swimmer blends in incredibly with his surroundings and becomes almost invisible.  The captain (Norwegian), who acted with promptness as upon learning of the man over board immediately ordered a life boat launched, being manned by the closest available sailors which included myself.  The boat in question was propelled by oars, not by motor. As we rowed away from the ship, I can to this day hear the captain’s voice booming from the bridge, “He’s over dere” which happened to be quite a distance from where we were located. After we had rowed to the point where the captain indicated, we could hear, “No, No, No, he’s over dere!”. By this time my arms were in pain. It was terribly hot. I didn’t think I could lift another stroke, and then we heard a voice crying, “sharks!”.

Looking in that direction we could see the broom. When reaching that point, we pulled the engineer into our boat with numerous cuts on his body where the sharks had tried to bite him. He had literally fought the sharks off with that broom.  The Third Mate Matson wrote up this account and submitted it to “The Saturday Evening Post”, and it was published in a kind of digest form.”

This next account is of the last wartime voyage of the Jeremiah O’Brien leaving July 27th 1945 and returning back to San Francisco January 22, 1946 (see the pdf attached of dad’s “Continuous Discharge Book” showing the stamped dates of departure and return).  In his account he lists wartime ports of call and ports of call right after the war which I’ll will write down. His last stop was Freemantle, Australia (The War Bride Story). Now as to this I’ll write down what he said happened on that voyage (dad was Second Mate on that ship). You may or may not want to publish it as it showed the captain in an unflattering light, but here it is. Also look at the jpeg labeled May 5th 1945. This was a San Francisco night club where that night May 5th 1945 he was there with another Merchant Marine officer and their girlfriends and some other ladies. Dad is to the left looking down at his drink and holding the hand of a pretty woman to his left. His friend is on the far right of the picture. Just for human interest the club was “Dave Hersh’s Richelieu Casino” in San Francisco 1039 Gerry Street near Van Ness. Of course today I have no idea of what is there. Now to his last voyage of WW II and the ports of call.

“The remaining part of the war was spent in the South Pacific with various duties to all battle areas from Milne Bay, Holandia, Williams haven, New Guinea, Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Enewetok, Funa Futi, Saipan, and lastly Australia, India, and China. Also we briefly touched down at Pitcairn Island, of Munity on the Bounty, fame. The people there were very polite and welcoming. The war did not seem to touch them and life went on there as it always had been.

At the end of the war (War Bride Story) when stopping at Fremantle, Australia we took on a non-military cargo of wool and 39 Australian war brides or wives of U.S. service men.

In addition to this the U.S. Counsel to New Zealand came aboard with his new bride and told me confidently that she was in the personal charge of the captain.  In fact, the captain had made special arrangements to have her cabin right next to his in order to see “after her comforts”.

The captain, a degenerate, double dealing, lying, drunken specimen of manhood assured the Counsel, who seemed to dote on every word of the captain, that his wife would be very safe with him. He would personally see to it. I pleaded with the Counsel to put his wife’s quarters down with the other women, but he would hear nothing of it.

Well, during one of those beautiful moonlit nights when I was on watch, I saw the girl in question running down the fore deck, scantily clad, with the captain in close pursuit, saying “here kitty, kitty”. This is a true story so help me.

There was a general relief of all on board due to the war finally being over and some of the crew and the other women on board took advantage of the situation and I guess decided that any port was OK in a storm sort of speak with all night card playing and romantic activities going on in lifeboats and other hidden parts of the ship. We arrived thirty-two days later at San Francisco with all such activities at an end and life in a post war world about to begin.”

STARS AND STRIPES reports on Memorial Day Events, including Dave Yoho, Keynote Speaker

Published: May 29, 2017 by Lauren King

WASHINGTON — They gathered Monday morning at the World War II Memorial to remember the fallen on Memorial Day, but survivors can feel that responsibility every day.

“We are gathered on the last Monday in May in solemn tribute to those who have paid the supreme sacrifice,” said Josiah Bunting III, chairman of the Friends of the National WWII Memorial. “We should honor them not only on the last Monday in May but in the way we conduct our own lives as citizens of this great republic every day of the year.”

Marine veteran Edward S. Kachinske was surrounded by family members following the ceremony. He shook hands with admirers and posed for photos. Behind him, his oldest son, Tim Kachinske, said he never knew much of his father’s war experiences or wounds until he was well into adulthood.

“We really never knew the suffering he went through,” Tim Kachinske said.

Pfc. Kachinske was an amphibious tank driver when he was wounded on Okinawa in 1945. He was riding on top of a tank when it hit a mine. He had a broken pelvis and shrapnel wounds, his son said. After he returned home, he was unable to continue as a dairy farmer because sitting was painful. He got a construction job at which sitting would have gotten him fired, his son quipped.

“He never felt sorry for himself,” Tim Kachinske said.

That selfless mentality also was visible at the dawn of WWII.

Jim Downing, the second-oldest Pearl Harbor survivor, was having breakfast with his wife in Hawaii when he heard the attack at Pearl Harbor in 1941. He got into his car and rushed to the dock, but he couldn’t reach his ship, the USS West Virginia, Mike Hydeck said in his introductory remarks on Monday. The ship was on fire after having been struck by nine torpedoes. Downing jumped onto the nearby USS Tennessee, slid down the gun barrel and landed on the USS West Virginia.

Hydeck said Downing held a firehose in one hand and with his other hand studied the dog tags of dead sailors aboard his ship. He memorized their names so he could write to their families and tell them they were all heroes.

Memorial Day at the World War II Memorial in Washington on May 29, 2017.

This survivor’s work was not finished. That afternoon, he visited the hospital with a notebook and a pencil, Hydeck said. The sailor took down messages from the wounded so they could be sent home. For some of them, those were their last words.

Dave Yoho, a Merchant Marine during World War II, cited the movie “Saving Private Ryan” and said many survivors have asked themselves the same questions for years: “Did I lead a worthy life? Did I lead a worthy life? Did what I do count?” he said, banging on the lectern with each word. “And despite the reassurances from those who love us, the question remains: ‘Did I lead a worthy life?’ ”

Both Yoho and Downing also talked to the crowd about their fellow veterans.

To those who suffered postwar from visible and invisible scars, inequality, survivors’ guilt, unemployment or homelessness, or had committed suicide, Downing said they were heroes to him, and Yoho offered his prayers.

“Some are here with us today. Many more lie in eternal rest in a foreign soil or at the bottom of the sea in a watery grave,” Yoho said. “Others live too distant to be here, and there are those whose health does not permit them to travel. They are all in our prayers.”

king.lauren@stripes.com

Twitter: @laurenking

Fox News Live with Dave Yoho at National WWII Memorial

May 27, 2017, 0900, Washington, DC ·

Fox News was live — at National World War II Memorial.

One of our own, Dave Yoho, is a guest speaker at this event. You can fast forward to about 32 minutes to access his talk.

Memorial Day ceremony at the National WWII Memorial to “honor and remember more than 400,000 Americans who lost their lives during WWII.”

World War II Merchant Marine veteran Dave Yoho gestures as he delivers a keynote speech at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Memorial Day 2017.

JOE GROMELSKI/STARS AND STRIPES
By LAUREN KING | STARS AND STRIPES

Published: May 29, 2017

WASHINGTON — They gathered Monday morning at the World War II Memorial to remember the fallen on Memorial Day, but survivors can feel that responsibility every day.

“We are gathered on the last Monday in May in solemn tribute to those who have paid the supreme sacrifice,” said Josiah Bunting III, chairman of the Friends of the National WWII Memorial. “We should honor them not only on the last Monday in May but in the way we conduct our own lives as citizens of this great republic every day of the year.”

Marine veteran Edward S. Kachinske was surrounded by family members following the ceremony. He shook hands with admirers and posed for photos. Behind him, his oldest son, Tim Kachinske, said he never knew much of his father’s war experiences or wounds until he was well into adulthood.

With a fountain at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., in the foreground, a bugler plays taps at the Memorial Day ceremony on May 29, 2017.

JOE GROMELSKI/STARS AND STRIPES

“We really never knew the suffering he went through,” Tim Kachinske said.

Pfc. Kachinske was an amphibious tank driver when he was wounded on Okinawa in 1945. He was riding on top of a tank when it hit a mine. He had a broken pelvis and shrapnel wounds, his son said. After he returned home, he was unable to continue as a dairy farmer because sitting was painful. He got a construction job at which sitting would have gotten him fired, his son quipped.

“He never felt sorry for himself,” Tim Kachinske said.

That selfless mentality also was visible at the dawn of WWII.

Jim Downing, the second-oldest Pearl Harbor survivor, was having breakfast with his wife in Hawaii when he heard the attack at Pearl Harbor in 1941. He got into his car and rushed to the dock, but he couldn’t reach his ship, the USS West Virginia, Mike Hydeck said in his introductory remarks on Monday. The ship was on fire after having been struck by nine torpedoes. Downing jumped onto the nearby USS Tennessee, slid down the gun barrel and landed on the USS West Virginia.

Hydeck said Downing held a firehose in one hand and with his other hand studied the dog tags of dead sailors aboard his ship. He memorized their names so he could write to their families and tell them they were all heroes.

Memorial Day at the World War II Memorial in Washington on May 29, 2017.

This survivor’s work was not finished. That afternoon, he visited the hospital with a notebook and a pencil, Hydeck said. The sailor took down messages from the wounded so they could be sent home. For some of them, those were their last words.

Dave Yoho, a Merchant Marine during World War II, cited the movie “Saving Private Ryan” and said many survivors have asked themselves the same questions for years: “Did I lead a worthy life? Did I lead a worthy life? Did what I do count?” he said, banging on the lectern with each word. “And despite the reassurances from those who love us, the question remains: ‘Did I lead a worthy life?’ ”

Both Yoho and Downing also talked to the crowd about their fellow veterans.

To those who suffered postwar from visible and invisible scars, inequality, survivors’ guilt, unemployment or homelessness, or had committed suicide, Downing said they were heroes to him, and Yoho offered his prayers.

“Some are here with us today. Many more lie in eternal rest in a foreign soil or at the bottom of the sea in a watery grave,” Yoho said. “Others live too distant to be here, and there are those whose health does not permit them to travel. They are all in our prayers.”

king.lauren@stripes.comTwitter: @laurenking

You can fast forward to about 32 minutes to access Dave’s talk.

Happening Now: Memorial Day ceremony at the National WWII Memorial to "honor and remember more than 400,000 Americans who lost their lives during WWII."

Posted by Fox News on Monday, May 29, 2017


31st AMMV Annual Merchant Marine Convention & Reunion – 2017

Go to our bar menu under EVENTS and click on drop down menu item “31st Annual ———-“ to find our final version of the agenda for our 31st Annual  AMMV convention. Join us to enjoy and be informed by the many outstanding speakers lined up to address our assembly. Your attendance will be rewarded with the important and informative content of their presentations.

How to Join, Be a Social Media User and Contact Your Congressperson

FACEBOOK

Submitted by Patti Scafidi, Member-at-Large

WHAT IS FACEBOOK?
Facebook is used by individuals who wish to stay connected with, or reconnect with, people that they know offline. As well as maintaining a personal profile and posting messages on their “wall,” users can upload photo albums and videos, share links, write long notes, send private messages to friends, text, video chat, and play games. And, for our purposes, it allows you to stay in contact with your Legislator.

HOW TO JOIN:
Google website: www.facebook.com. When you see the signup form, fill out your name, email address or phone number, password, birthday and gender. If you don’t see the form, click Sign Up, then fill out the form. Once you sign up, you’ll need to confirm your email address or phone number. Facebook will send you either an email or phone message, depending on which sign-in method you chose. There will be a link to CONFIRM. CONFIRM!

HOW TO USE:
You are now a member of Facebook! Sign on to use and at the top of your page you can look up your Congressperson. Ninety-nine percent of LEGISLATORS have FACEBOOK accounts, whereas only 94 percent have both TWITTER and FACEBOOK accounts. Admittedly, Facebook is the easiest to use, starting out. The good thing about Facebook is that you are not limited to 140 characters or @ signs. With Facebook, you can submit requests/recommendations using as many words as you like. I WILL HELP YOU! My Facebook address is https://www.facebook.com/patti.scafidi or just look for PattiAmmvScafidi. Go to my Facebook address and send me a friend request. I will help you any way I can. See below for all my contact info.

OUR NEW JUST RECOGNITION MOTTO: HELL NO; WE WON’T GO AWAY.
It is very important that we urge our legislators to co-sponsor HR.563; so

TO CONTACT A CONGRESSPERSON ON FACEBOOK ABOUT HR.563:
After you sign on to Facebook, all you have to do is type the name of the Congressperson or Senator in the top search bar and you will find their Facebook page. You will either be able to post right there or send them a Private Message. BE SURE TO follow up with phone calls & letters. Example: I (or person you are writing about) am a WWII Veteran Merchant Mariner and your constituent. Please Co-sponsor our bill #HR563 I am (88-?) AND TIME IS RUNNING OUT for us!

Patti’s note: If you have any questions about these instructions, please email patti.scafidi@gmail.com or send me a private message on my Facebook page. OR call me at 228-671-6384. THEN also be sure to mark “like”, if you do, and comment on our AMMV Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AMMV1775. Or just search for AMMV in the search box. Need Help? Please don’t hesitate to call! I am here for YOU!

HOW TO TWITTER

Submitted by Sheila Sova, Member-at-Large – email for help at shesova@aol.com

ABOUT TWITTER:
Twitter allows users to post 140 character messages, or tweets, and follow the messages of other users on their Twitter feed. It is mainly used to communicate with other individuals with similar interests, regardless of whether users know one another off Twitter.

4 EASY STEPS TO SIGN UP:

  1. Go to www.twitter.com
  2. Click on SIGN UP
  3. Put in your email address and a password.
  4. Give yourself a Twitter address (it can be your full name if you wish to give it out or just a nickname).

You will receive an email to confirm that you are signed up. After this, when you Google www.twitter. com your account should come up automatically.

USING TWITTER:
Twitter Address @: Just like an email address, each person has their own individual Twitter address. An address on Twitter for a musician might be @ rock-and-roll or @pianokeys, which describes something about them. You can also use your name as your Twitter address such as @johnsmith. Warning, someone may already have your same name so you can always add a number after your name such as @ Johnsmith123

To search for a subject: use Hashtags (#): Have a special topic you want to tweet about? Use a hashtag (#) so if you are looking for a special topic or word you can type it into the search bar and it will come up. A hashtag is almost like a “clue to finding a subject” such as searching for the Jones Act or a Liberty Ship. When you type either of those words in the search bar, any picture or comment about those two things will bring up any comments, pictures or videos about Liberty ships or the Jones Act. Examples of hashtags you might want to use or search for are: #jonesact, #libertyship, #merchantmarine, #WWII, and most importantly, #HR563 and  #MMWWII.

TO CONTACT A CONGRESSPERSON ON TWITTER ABOUT HR.563:
How to tweet Congresspersons your concerns for HR563? All you have to do is type the name of the congressman or senator in the top search bar and you find their Twitter address. OR on the Google search line, type in: https://twitter.com/verified/lists/us-congress – to verify their Twitter address.

Outstanding Volunteers – 2016

AMMV’s Outstanding Volunteers: Meet the Team behind the Dream

At the 30th annual AMMV National Convention held in New Orleans (March 2016), six AMMV members received awards for outstanding service to the AMMV organization.

Morris Harvey: Prior to being elected as AMMV’s National Vice President, Morris served two terms as AMMV National President. He is also a former Regional Vice President and after a 12 year hiatus has resumed presidency of the Ocala, FL Chapter. Additionally, he has spearheaded several AMMV Conventions during these periods of leadership. Morris is the Co-Chairman of AMMV’s Government Affairs Committee and engineered the historic “Storm the Hill” campaign in which five WWII MM Vets spent a week visiting Congress (2015) in promotion of H.R. 563.  The creation and management of the AMMV website is yet another accomplishment attributable to his dedication to the organization. Morris continues to work tirelessly in support of his fellow WWII Merchant Marine Veterans.

Patti Scafidi: Patti is the wife of marine artist Don Scafidi, who was a Kings Point cadet during WWII. Their son, Max, is also a USMMA graduate – 57 years after his father! Patti is a strong activist for the Merchant Marine past and present. She currently is the lead Administrator of the AMMV Facebook page and is part of AMMV’s Membership Committee. Her efforts and promotional drives led to several new members in recent months. Patti also provided critical logistical support during the 2016 National Convention. Her husband’s original artwork display was a boost to the event, and she is credited for netting the Maritime Administrator as one of our Convention speakers.

Sheila Sova: Sheila is the proud daughter of a WWII Merchant Marine & Korean Army Veteran who was part of an IL/MO based AMMV Chapter before crossing the final bar. She is a hard-fisted advocate of the WWII MM and has appeared on TV news interviews and radio talk shows in support of these views. Sheila runs the AMMV Twitter page and has carried out many special assignments as an AMMV volunteer. When it comes to WWII MM legislation, she is one of our top promotors.

Dave Yoho: Dave was a WWII Merchant Mariner who is now a well-known businessman and motivational speaker. He came in touch with AMMV after discovering his young face on a historic reprint of a recruiting publication from the Sheepshead Bay training facility. Dave has since raised significant amounts of money to be used as “Mission Support”, allowing for expanded outreach efforts and better promotion of AMMV’s core causes. He has also crafted promotional videos in support of AMMV & H.R. 563, and was the opening speaker at our 30th Convention. Thanks to Dave, the WWII MM Vets have a new slogan: “Hell no, we won’t go away!”

Sindy Raymond: Saaren “Sindy” Raymond has dedicated many years to the cause of the American Merchant Marine Veteran. Before taking the job as National Office Administrator, she worked for the “Just Compensation Committee” under Ian Allison. She is referred to by AMMV’s National President as “the most important person in AMMV”. Sindy is the Editor of our quarterly News magazine and a member of the North Bay Mariners Chapter in CA.

Carole Gutierrez: (not pictured) Carole has been deeply involved with AMMV for several years. She produces the newsletter for her Oregon Chapter, of which her late husband Max was the President. Carole is the Graphics Design Coordinator for the AMMV News magazine (and other projects) and serves on our Editorial Committee. One of her primary contributions each year is the production of AMMV’s Convention Book (aka Memory Book). If all that is not enough, she is also a Regional Vice President.

New Orleans Book Signing of “The Mathews Men”

Patti Scafidi represented the AMMV at a book signing in New Orleans. The objective was to meet the book author and offer any support that AMMV could offer to promote the sale of his book and to get this Merchant Marine story out to the public.

THE MATHEWS MEN –The Untold Story of an Epic World War II Sea Battle Just Off the Coast of America

Patti Scafidy traveled from her Mississippi home to New Orleans to represent the AMMV at a book signing for the book, “The Mathews Men”. She was able to talk with the author, William Geroux, while he autographed her book.

Patti Scafidy traveled from her Mississippi home to New Orleans to represent the AMMV at a book signing for the book, “The Mathews Men”. She was able to talk with the author, William Geroux, while he autographed her book.

Mathews County, Virginia, is a remote outpost on the Chesapeake Bay with little to offer except
unspoiled scenery, but it sent one of the largest concentrations of sea captains and U.S. merchant mariners of any community in America to fight in World War II. The Mathews Men tells that heroic story through the experiences of the extraordinary Hodges family and their seven seafaring sons.

The Hodges and their neighbors in Mathews suddenly found themselves squarely in the crosshairs of the U-boats bearing down on the coastal United States in 1942. From the late 1930s to 1945, virtually all the fuel, food, and munitions that sustained the Allies in Europe traveled in merchant ships. After Pearl Harbor, those unprotected ships instantly became the U-boats’ prime targets, and the Navy lacked the inclination or resources to defend them until the beginning of 1943. The U-boats aimed to sink every American ship they could find, sometimes within sight of tourist beaches, and to kill as many mariners as possible, in order to frighten their shipmates into staying ashore.

As the war progressed, men from Mathews sailed the North and South Atlantic, the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean, and even the icy Barents Sea in the Arctic Circle, where they braved the dreaded Murmansk Run. Some died horrific deaths. Others fought to survive torpedo explosions, flaming oil slicks, storms, shark attacks, mine blasts, and harrowing lifeboat odysseys-only to ship out again on the next boat as soon as they’d returned to safety.

The Mathews Men shows us the war far beyond the traditional battlefields-often the U.S. merchant mariners’ life-and-death struggles took place just off the U.S. coast-and also takes us to the landing beaches on D-Day and to the Pacific. “When final victory is ours,” General Dwight D. Eisenhower had predicted, “there is no organization that will share its credit more deservedly than the Merchant Marine.” Their achievements and sacrifices, however, went largely unheralded- Until now.

WILLIAM GEROUX wrote for the Richmond Times-Dispatch for twenty-five years.

His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Associated Press, and various regional
magazines. He has also worked for Maersk, the largest container-shipping company in the world.
He lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia.