WWII merchant mariners honored with Congressional Gold Medal

World War Ii Vessels

The following is text of a news release from the American Maritime Partnership (AMP):

(WASHINGTON) — President Trump on Friday signed legislation authorizing the Congressional Gold Medal for American merchant mariners whose honorable deeds were critical to U.S. and Allied objectives and ultimate success in World War II. The American Maritime Partnership, the voice of the domestic maritime industry, commends bill sponsors Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, for bringing this legislation forward.

The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest honor bestowed by Congress. The legislation passed the House and Senate without objection.

“We applaud this bipartisan action that honors these extraordinary American heroes,” said Mike Roberts, president of the American Maritime Partnership. “Since the earliest days of our nation’s existence, America has relied on a strong domestic maritime capability. During World War II, almost 250,000 merchant mariners transported tens of millions of tons of war supplies and more than 7 million servicemen under the most challenging circumstances imaginable. Their actions were heroic and courageous yet second nature to them. We all owe these heroes a debt of gratitude that can never be fully repaid.”

The World War II merchant mariners are renowned for their bravery and contribution to the Allied victory 75 years ago. They suffered the highest per capita casualty rate in the U.S. armed forces during World War II, with one mariner out of every 26 lost. Of the 250,000 merchant mariners deployed, an estimated 8,300 mariners lost their lives, and another 12,000 were wounded. Yet, these mariners who put their lives on the line were not provided veteran status until 1988.

Today, American mariners continue to be essential for the nation’s security posture, ensuring a readied base of American mariners that can operate large, oceangoing ships at a moment’s notice during wartime or another contingency. America’s domestic maritime industry is the largest single commercial source of mariners for national security.

By Professional Mariner Staff