Us Remember the U.S. Merchant Marine
Merchant Marine of World War II suffered a greater percentage
of war-related deaths than all U.S. Armed Forces combined.
Most donít know we were the only all-volunteer service.
We were what the battle of the Atlantic was all about.
D. Roosevelt ē One of his many statements about the U.S.
Merchant Marine: They 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 merchantís fleet record during
this war.President Roosevelt, as he signed the GI Bill
in 1944: I trust Congress will soon provide similar opportunities
to members of the Merchant Marine who have risked their
lives time and time again during war for the welfare of
years after WWII (1988) the Merchant Marine were finally
given their veterans rights. However, not completely or
in accordance with the other services. We were cut off as
of Aug. 15, 1945. The other services received WWII veterans
rights to Dec. 31, 1946 or 14 more months than we did. For
10 years, our American Merchant Marine organizations had
to struggle to make us equal with the other services. That
finally happened on Nov. 11, 1998. After 53 years, we are
now equal with the five armed forces.
now, old men of the sea, continue our fight for recognition.
For example, a several million dollar veterans monument now
stands in Columbus, Ohio. There was not a mention of the Merchant
Marine. After three years and a lot of politics, we now have
a very small plaque to remember us.
were 250,000 mariners during the war. Today, only 75,000 of
us are with you. When asked to stand, we will proudly stand
"Corky" Matthews: USMM Radio Officer
World War II Veteran; Payson, Arizona