Hundreds of American merchant vessels were lost and damaged to enemy action in WWII. 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 a casualty rate of 1 in 26. Yet, this group of heroes were not granted veteran status until 1988. At this point they were at or near retirement age, and too old to capitalize on any GI bill benefits. Because of this fact, they (along with their supporters) have been trying for years to pass legislation to obtain some type of recognition from the government.
The Navy League of the United States is urging Members of Congress to support H.R. 5879 and S.2127, Merchant Mariners of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2017. 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.
Why you should act
The Merchant Marine of WWII have been ignored for far too long. It is time we show our gratitude for these veterans by passing H.R.5879 and S. 2127. Please ask your representatives to consider co-sponsoring this legislation to show our gratitude for their sacrifice.