115th Congress (2017-2018), H.R.154
Honoring Our WWII Merchant Mariners Act of 2017 (Introduced in House – IH)
The World War II Merchant Mariner Veteran played a critical role in victory over Nazism and Fascism. These brave men heroically carried out their missions and served their country honorably. Yet unlike other veterans of the Greatest Generation, these veterans never received the wartime benefits President Franklin Roosevelt promised for their service and sacrifice.
H.R. 154 would complete the long overdue promise and properly recognize Merchant Mariner World War II service. The legislation would provide a one-time lump sum of $25,000 to each of surviving WWII Merchant Mariner.
Many of these veterans are now well into their 90s; fewer than five thousand Merchant Mariners are surviving today. Time is not on our side.
Some Facts about the Merchant Marine WWII Service.
Compiled by the AMERICAN MERCHANT MARINE VETERANS, INC.
(Loss and participation figures related to WWII are taken from web-site usmm.org)
Whereas: General Dwight Eisenhower said; “When final victory is ours, there is no organization that will share its credit more deservedly than the U.S. Merchant Marine”.
Whereas: General Douglas McArthur said: “I hold no branch in higher esteem than the Merchant Marine – they brought us our lifeblood and paid for it with their own”.
Whereas: The Merchant Marine delivered the troops and supplies to all theaters and invasions of the war – in the process they lost 1500 ships (with 1 in 8 mariners losing their ship) and one in twenty-six who served (9300) were killed – the largest casualty rate of all services. 12,000 were wounded.
Whereas: Last to Return: Mariners remained in war zones long after the fighting troops came home to enjoy the benefits of the GI Bill. Mariners suffered many casualties as 54 ships struck mines after V-E or V-J Day.
Whereas: Approximately 250,000 Mariners manned thousands of ships during WWII – they were given discharges (DD-form’s) in 1988 by an act of Congress (42 years after the end of WWII), too late for many benefits.
Whereas: Merchant Mariners were routinely used to man the ships artillery along with their Navy Armed Guard shipmates when meeting the enemy. They were under orders of the U.S. Military.
Whereas: When leaving the ships at war’s end with their Navy Armed Guard shipmates, the mariners learned they were not eligible for VA benefits, including the GI Bill.
Whereas: President Franklin Roosevelt, during signing the GI Bill on June 22, 1944, – “I trust Congress will soon provide a similar opportunity for Merchant Marine members who risked their lives time and time again during war for the welfare of their country”. “ He also stated: [Mariners] have written one of its most brilliant chapters. They have delivered the goods when and where needed in every theater of operations and across every ocean in the biggest; the most difficult and dangerous job ever undertaken.
THEREFORE: Pass HR-154 to provide a one-time award of $25,000.00 to each survivor, which could perhaps alleviate the remaining debt owed to these brave volunteers who were slighted and ignored by their government when they came home from battle.
NOTE: The statements above are in support of the new WWII Merchant Mariners Act of 2016, HR- 154. Make a copy and keep this on your person – use it at every opportunity that you have to address the worthiness of this legislation.
Morris Harvey, National VP
Shelia Sova asks for your support. Shelia is an award winning social media guru for the American Merchant Marine Veterans organization and supports all WWII Merchant Mariners. She is doing this in the name of her father, now deceased.
1) Please sign her petition that she has created in honor of her WWII Mariner father, Click Here.
2) Go to the Navy League website to send a letter to your Congressional Representatives.
The Navy League has made it possible for Shelia to invite you to their website to send a letter directly to your Congressional Representatives – this action will take you to another website. Use the included letter as a Base. We encourage you to edit as desired, and add any personal views you may have about how this issue affects you, your community, and our national security. We urge you to add a personal touch–it will make the letter stronger! Please delete any information that you do not wish to include, such as being a member of the Navy League – they do not require you to join. (This action will take you to another website)
3) Click HERE to become an AMMV Advocate
4) Click HERE to view the current status and approved actions.