American Spirit Inspirational Pages


U.S. Merchant Marine

Merchant Marine picture display

Highest World War II Casualties

During World War II, 250,000 men served in the United States Merchant Marine. Over 9,500 gave their lives, 11,000 were wounded and 718 were taken prisoner with only 620 returning home.

Members of the U.S. Merchant Marines serving aboard U.S. cargo ships and tankers during World War II suffered a greater percentage of war related deaths than did the nations regular armed forces combined.

Some 43 years after the war, on January 19, 1988, those who served on ocean-going vessels were granted veteran status by Congress.

"[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. As time goes on, there will be greater public understanding of our merchant's fleet record during this war [World War II]." President Franklin D. Roosevelt