American Merchant Marine Veterans


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Bacon
May 31, 2005, 01:37 AM
Thousands of WWII Merchant Marine Veterans Still Not Fully Compensated for Deadliest Maritime Services Performed in America's Naval History
Monday May 30, 6:00 pm ET
Exclusive Segment About World War II Merchant Mariners' Untold Story to Appear on NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams

SAN FRANCISCO, May 30 /PRNewswire/ -- The North Bay Chapter of the American Merchant Marine Veterans national organization, today announced that an exclusive segment about the plight of the World War II (WWII) Merchant Mariners will appear on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams tonight. Thousands of WWII Merchant Mariners have still not been compensated for their heroic services performed on board Liberty Ships. The U.S. Merchant Marine operated under the auspices of the U.S. War Department during WWII, but did not receive any benefits from the G.I. Bill of Rights that Congress passed in 1945.

WWII Merchant Marine veterans were responsible for piloting slow moving cargo vessels, known as Liberty Ships, which transported the supplies necessary to win the War. Their acts of heroism delivering oil, gas, ammunitions, food, water, troops and military equipment across the seven seas, resulted in the highest casualty rate compared to the U.S. Military branches during WWII. One of out every twenty-six Merchant Mariner was killed during the War. They were also the only auxiliary service under the U.S. War Department to accept servicemen with handicaps and missing limbs, and had the highest concentration of minority servicemen.

"Over nine thousand of my fellow Merchant Mariners were lost at sea with no tombstone to account for their life and service to their country during World War II," said Ian Allison, World War II Merchant Marine veteran and co-chairman of the United States Merchant Mariners Just Compensation Committee. "It's unthinkable that even the Merchant Mariners that survived and returned home never received any benefits for their great personal sacrifices during World War II. Approval of Congressman Bob Filner's 'Belated Thank You' Bill, H.R. 23, can at least rectify some of the thousands of dollars we could have earned if the government paid for us to attend college under the G.I. Bill."

Not until 1988 did Congress pass legislation to benefit WWII Merchant Marine veterans. The Seamens Acts of 1988 finally granted Merchant Mariners the status of veteran, but with a 'watered down' GI Bill of Rights. Some portions of the GI Bill have never been made available to veterans of the Merchant Marine. Steps have been taken to rectify the 60-year-old plight of Merchant Marine veterans. Just recently, Congressmen Bob Filner (D - CA), proposed H.R. 23, a belated thank you to the Merchant Mariners of World War II Act of 2005, which would pay each eligible veterans a monthly benefit of $1,000. More information about H.R. 23 can be found by visiting Congressman Filner's Web site: http://www.house.gov/filner/ .

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Art Eatman
May 31, 2005, 09:28 AM
Way OT, but I'll sticky it for a couple of days...

Art

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