Voice to Congress

Merchant Mariner Heroes of WWII Need Your Help
The Issue
Our armed forces relied on the Merchant Marine to ferry supplies, cargo and personnel into both theaters of operation during World War II, and they paid a heavy price in service to their country. Hundreds of American merchant vessels were lost and damaged to enemy action. Thousands of U.S. seaman perished, and thousands more returned home wounded. Dozens were captured and tortured as POWs. In fact, our Merchant Marine suffered the highest per capita casualty rate in the U.S. armed forces during World War II; one out of every twenty-six casualties.  An estimated 8,300 mariners lost their lives, and another 12,000 were wounded, to make sure our servicemembers could keep fighting.  

The Solution
The Navy League of the United States is urging the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate to pass H.R. 550 (Rep. Garamendi) and S.133 (Sen. Murkowski), respectively in the 116th Congress, bills to award a Congressional Gold Medal, collectively, to the United States Merchant Mariners of World War II, in recognition of their dedicated and vital service during World War II.  The American Merchant Marine Veterans organization (AMMV) estimates that less than 2,000 U.S. WWII Merchant Marine Veterans are still alive. This legislation recognizes their sacrifice with a gold medal.    

The Congressional Gold Medal has a long and storied history, and it has been awarded to some of America's most prominent leaders, soldiers, inventors, academics and artists. Past recipients include Ulysses S. Grant, the Wright Brothers, Thomas Edison, Rosa Parks, Frank Sinatra, the Tuskegee Airmen and the Navajo Code Talkers, among many others. The bill to award the medal to WWII Merchant Mariners has been introduced previously, beginning in 2015, and is similar to H.R. 5879 and S. 2127, which were introduced but never passed in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate in the 115th Congress.  It has attracted consistent bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress. 

Why you should act
America would not be the great nation it is today without the valiant service and sacrifice of the Merchant Marine of WWII.  They are commonly overlooked and have been ignored for far too long. It is time we show our gratitude for these veterans and honor their sacrifice by asking your Member of Congress and Senators to cosponsor H.R. 550 and S. 133, respectively, which would award one of the highest honors in the United States to the mariners who sustained American armed forces throughout the war. 

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