American Merchant Marine Veterans, Inc. (AMMV) has discovered that some members are not recorded as having a USCG-issued Honorable Discharge (Form DD-214 or DD-256). Copies of these forms will be needed for qualification to receive a CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL replica in honor of your service as a U. S. Merchant Mariner in World War II. Also noted should be that an Honorable Discharge – form DD-214 – for another service will not qualify our members for the replica. So, if you do not have either a DD-214 or DD-256 issued by the U. S. Coast Guard for your WWII Merchant Mariner duty time, please apply today.

WHY TO APPLY: Per the U. S. Coast Guard National Maritime Center: World War II Veteran Status was finally granted to merchant seamen who served on oceangoing voyages during World War II on January 19, 1988. On that date, the Secretary of the Air Force, on behalf of the Department of Defense, signed a Secretarial Determination. This document was published in compliance with orders issued by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. It stated that, “…the service of the group known as the ‘American Merchant Marine in Oceangoing Service during the Period of Armed Conflict, December 7, 1941, to August 15, 1945, shall be construed active duty for the purposes of all laws administered by the Veterans Administration.”

National Maritime Center Providing Credentials to Mariners 5/30/2013: The United States Coast Guard has set up a special unit to assist former merchant seamen to obtain the evidence of wartime service required to qualify them for veteran status. This unit should be the first point of contact for former seamen, who should submit copies of any documents in their possession which could help to verify their service, along with Form DD 2168. “Application For Discharge of Member or Survivor of Member of Group Certified To Have Performed Active Duty with the Armed Forces of the United States.”

HOW TO APPLY: Mariners in “ocean-going service” during World War II have Veteran Status. They may be entitled to VA medical benefits, a gravestone, flag for their coffin and burial in a National Cemetery. Check with the Veterans Administration for medical and other benefits. Mariner or survivor should complete the following steps and mail to the proper address:

• Complete Form DD-2168. Supply as much information as possible. Address for mailing is below.

• Include photocopies of discharges, identification, and other supporting documents.

• You will need the mariner’s signature or a certified death certificate. The Coast Guard will issue documents for a person listed as an official casualty without a death certificate.

• No fee required if service was between December 7, 1941 and August 14, 1945. Include check or money order for $30 payable to US Treasury if seeking veteran status for the period from August 15, 1945 through December 31, 1946.

Note: Forms DD-2168 may also be obtained from offices of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (formerly called the Veterans Administration); your Congressman; your local VA Service officer or those of the American Legion; our National Administrator’s office; Sindy Raymond, Editor of the AMMV NEWS or included in this AMMV NEWS Magazine. Application may also be done online with fillable pdf files.

Acceptable forms of documentation are: Certificates of Discharge (Forms 718A), Continuous Discharge Books, Company letters showing vessel names and dates of voyages, and logbooks.

Applications should be mailed to: National Maritime Center (NMC-421) ATTN: WWII 100 Forbes Drive Martinsburg, WV  25404 Main Inquiry Line:  1-888-I-ASK-NMC (1-888-427-5662) Alternate Line:  1-304-433-3400