The American Maritime Partnership, to which the SIU is affiliated, has issued the following news release. The official announcement from the White House is available HERE.
The SIU actively supported this legislation. Thousands of SIU members sailed during World War II; more than 1,200 lost their lives in service.
President Trump Honors WWII Merchant Mariners with Congressional Gold Medal
White House official reflects on the importance of pausing to recognize American heroes in the midst of national crisis
WASHINGTON — The American Maritime Partnership (AMP), the voice of the domestic maritime industry, joins President Donald J. Trump and congressional leaders in honoring the merchant mariners who served during the Second World War. AMP commends bill sponsors Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA) and Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) for bringing this legislation, “Merchant Mariners of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2020” (H.R.6571), forward.
On Friday, March 13, 2020, President Trump signed this legislation authorizing the Congressional Gold Medal for American merchant mariners whose honorable deeds were critical to U.S. and Allied objectives and ultimate success in World War II. The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. Congress. The legislation passed the House and Senate without objection.
In the midst of a national crisis, it is important to honor our nation’s heroes of both the past and present as we continuously fight to protect, strengthen and preserve American sovereignty and prosperity.
In an opinion piece published in the New York Post on Saturday, March 14, Dr. Peter Navarro, Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, wrote, “Let this Congressional Gold Medal not only celebrate some of the most unsung heroes of World War II; let it also reawaken our interest in promoting U.S.-flagged ships and credentialed merchant seamen and strengthening our shipyards and broader defense industrial base. Such a result would be a truly lasting tribute to those World War II merchant mariners who defended freedom then and a broad salute to our future merchant mariners who will defend us in the tomorrows to come.”
“We applaud this bipartisan action that honors these extraordinary American heroes,” said Mike Roberts, President of the American Maritime Partnership. “Since the earliest days of our nation’s existence, America has relied on a strong domestic maritime capability. During World War II, almost 250,000 merchant mariners transported tens of millions of tons of war supplies and more than seven million servicemen under the most challenging circumstances imaginable. Their actions were heroic and courageous yet second nature to them. We all owe these heroes a debt of gratitude that can never be fully repaid.”
The World War II merchant mariners are renowned for their bravery and contribution to the Allied victory 75 years ago. They suffered the highest per capita casualty rate in the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II, with one mariner out of every 26 lost. Of the 250,000 merchant mariners deployed, an estimated 8,300 mariners lost their lives, and another 12,000 were wounded. Yet, these mariners who put their lives on the line were not provided veteran status until 1988.
Today, American mariners continue to be essential for the nation’s security posture, ensuring a readied base of American mariners that can operate large, ocean-going ships at a moment’s notice during wartime or another contingency. America’s domestic maritime industry is the largest single commercial source of mariners for national security.
American Maritime Partnership (AMP) is the voice of the US domestic maritime industry, a pillar of our nation‘s economic, national, and homeland security. More than 40,000 American vessels built in American shipyards, crewed by American mariners, and owned by American companies, operate in our waters 24-hours a day, seven days a week, and this commerce sustains nearly 650,000 American jobs, $41.6 billion in labor compensation, and more than $154.8 billion in annual economic output.
The American Merchant Marine Veterans (AMMV) is a not-for-profit pro-American organization established to gain recognition for what the men of the American Merchant Marine have accomplished for our country in war and peace. Our key purpose is to educate the American public as to the importance of having a strong American flagged Merchant Marine at all times and to promote to the best of our ability the cause of American sea power and the American seamen.