The Preamble of our constitution reads as follows: The American Merchant Marine Veterans is a not-for-profit pro-American organization established to gain recognition for what the men of the AMERICAN MERCHANT MARINE have accomplished for our country in war and peace. Our key purpose is to educate the American public as to the importance of having a strong American flagged Merchant Marine at all times and to promote to the best of our ability the cause of AMERICAN SEA POWER and the AMERICAN SEAMEN.
The American Merchant Marine Veterans Inc. (AMMV), an IRS designated not-for-profit Veterans’ 501(c)(19) corporation, is a veteran’s organization that was established in 1984 to gain veterans’ status, recognition, and benefits for Merchant Mariners that served the United States of America. We are chartered in the state of Florida, and organized into 8 regions with chapters across the United States and the world.
World War II American Merchant Mariners, after a successful lawsuit, were granted Veterans’ status in 1988, 43 years after WWII ended. At the time, they were given the standard 1988 benefits accorded to other Veterans. However, they were not given any of the other benefits granted to their military counterparts, by the G.I. Bill of Rights, immediately after WWII. Realizing that perhaps the interim 43 years of non-recognition as Veterans should be recognized and that the original benefits were “too little, too late”. The AMMV and its members continue to fight for Just Recognition to this very day.
AMMV National Origin
In March of 1983, Bob Lanyon placed a small ad in the Fort Meyer’s News Press which started off: “We are looking for all who served in the United States Merchant Marine during World War II. The brave deeds performed by the Merchant Marine must be recognized now.”
Bob was soon contacted and a meeting was held in Lehigh Acres, attended by Edward Anderberg, Edwin Bodden, John Breaz, Ernie Fous, and Leon Kalwara. On July 6, 1983, another meeting was conducted at Fort Meyers. This particular gathering (with 13 in attendance) resulted in the birth of an organization of Merchant Marine Veterans, to be a part of the U.S. Merchant Marine Veterans of WWII.
Because their aims differed from the parent organization, this group decided to go off on their own only weeks later. They then chose to call themselves the American Merchant Marine Veterans. AMMV soon grew with an affiliated chapter in San Pedro, CA (China Coasters), and continued to steadily recruit members from all over the United States. AMMV incorporated in 1984 with Chapters forming throughout the country. The first National Convention was held in 1987 in San Pedro.
One of the goals of these founding AMMV members was to obtain Veteran status for U.S. Merchant Mariners who served in WWII; this was achieved in 1988. Our archives show that Leon Kalwara, who served as AMMV’s first Executive Officer (presumably a title that predated the National President position), worked extremely hard in the fight to obtain Veteran status for the WWII MM.
(Note: The archives indicate that AMMV at one point had 74 Chapters and about 5,000 members.)
– AMMV Chapters and members have gained recognition of Merchant Marine contributions at the National WWII memorial
– At a local level, memorials to merchant seamen have been placed in many parks and elsewhere
– Historical literature and verbal information, about our members’ quest for Just Recognition, has been widely distributed at a national level to Congress
– Schools, libraries, newspapers and other venues for publicity have been contacted to perpetuate public recognition of US Merchant Marine history
– Members support current maritime activities such as advocating for the continuation of the Jones Act; maintaining and increasing the American Flag fleet; recognizing the efforts of Military Sealift Command (MSC); providing additional personnel training; advocating active support of the U.S. maritime schools and other goals
To develop an all-inclusive organization of U.S. Merchant Mariners, of all wars, who will work together to gain recognition for their heroic and vitally needed service to our Nation, in Peace and War.
To promote a strong, present day national defense, which includes a trained base of mariners with an adequate U.S. Flag merchant fleet, to support our country in times of war.
1) To educate the American public and Governmental Agencies as to the importance of having a strong American flagged Merchant Marine at all times and to promote the cause of AMERICAN SEA POWER and the AMERICAN SEAMEN and to maintain well-trained and efficient manpower to crew this fleet.
2) To continue to publicize the services of the American Merchant Marine Seamen in World War II, and gain recognition and Veterans status for the services and sacrifices of Korean, Vietnam, Middle-East and all post WWII conflicts from the United States Government’s Veterans’ Administration.
3) To preserve the spirit of Comradeship among the American Merchant Mariners, and our fellow seamen who served in the Merchant Marine fleets of the nations allied with the United States.
4) To maintain and extend the institution of American freedom and encourage loyalty to our country’s laws and Constitution.
WHO WE ARE (UNITY AND COHERENCE)
AMMV is all inclusive and is the only organization representing the individual U.S. Merchant Mariners interests relating to veteran’s status and recognition for their patriotic contributions to America. AMMV actively supports our Proclamations and Purposes. We are a non-profit, non-partisan Merchant Mariner organization.
– We accept donations (IRS allowed tax deductions) to support our Proclamation and Purposes.
– We work to gain recognition and veteran’s status of Merchant Mariners for their patriotic contributions in Peace and War.
– We support and promote an active U.S. Flag Merchant Marine which meets the needs of our U.S. national security. We must maintain equivalent manpower training capabilities.
– We do push for public recognition of Merchant Mariners and their history at public functions and other places.
– AMMV, as an organization, does not lobby politicians nor donate to their political ambitions.
To join the AMMV by mail, simply click HERE to download the application.
Complete application and mail with your check in the amount of $32.00 (annual dues) to:
American Merchant Marine Veterans
P.O. Box 2024, Darien, CT 06820-2024
To join using PayPal, Simply click HERE and follow the instructions.
NOTE: Existing Member at Large (MAL) members (Not Chapter Members) may renew their membership by using either of the above methods for renewing.