D-Day 70, 2014 WWII Mechant Marine Service Act

By Michelle Howard
Friday, June 06, 2014
Klaus Luhta

During the 70th observance of D-Day, 10,000 surviving World War II American merchant marines, the International Organization of Masters, Mates and Pilots and U.S. Representative G.K. Butterfield will be pressing the Senate to pass legislation giving these veterans benefits they were promised but have been denied for decades.

According to MM&P, a few weeks before the D-Day anniversary, on May 22, 2014, the U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 4435 – the Defense Authorization Act. It includes Department of Defense 2015 funding and the WWII Merchant Marine Service Act provision, authored by Butterfield, a North Carolina Democrat. The bill is now headed to the Senate.

“D-Day would not have been possible without the Merchant Marine. Now that the long-awaited day is history and great Allied forces have been landed in France, it is permitted to indicate the part played by these intrepid civilians, whose deeds for the most part have gone unsung,” published the New York Times on June 10, 1944.

“The benefits many WWII merchant marines were granted but never provided include healthcare, disability payments and 21 gun salute funerals at America’s 120 national cemeteries,” explains Captain Klaus Luhta, MM&P’s chief of staff.

Luhta adds, “Imagine how these 85 to 100 year-old men and women will feel watching D-Day ceremonies on TV knowing their country officially recognized them as veterans and granted them benefits, which ‘red tape’ has made unobtainable.”


House Passes Bill Just Before D-Day 70
Getting these benefits is now one-step closer to reality.

“The WWII Merchant Marine Service Act simplifies the benefits qualification criteria by broadening acceptable forms of evidence proving actual service,” explains Butterfield.

The 1977 GI Bill Improvement Act deemed WWII merchant mariners are entitled to the same benefits as other combat veterans. However to qualify for these benefits these people have to produce an array of documents difficult to produce, according to MM&P.

“After the attack on Pearl Harbor, during the rush to recruit merchant mariners, enlistment documents were either not filed, lost or destroyed,” explains the Congressman. “The new bill allows Social Security Administration records, testimony by the applicant or closest living relative, and other records as sufficient proof of service.”


Congressman's Three Year Fight For Passage

Luhta, a merchant marine deck officer and attorney specializing in regulatory and legislative affairs, says, “For three years, Congressman Butterfield has pushed passage of the bill but each time it sinks either in committee or in the Senate.”

“If the legislation continues treading water in the Senate, where it has previously drowned, these last remaining heroes who dodged Nazi U-Boat torpedoes and Japanese Kamikaze missions, while delivering supplies to U.S. troops, may all be gone before they receive the benefits they rightfully earned. That would be an American tragedy,” says Captain James Staples, MM&P’s Senior Advisor.

According to the now-defunct U.S. War Department, there were more than 250,000 merchant mariners serving during WWII, of which 9,000 were killed in action. More than 15,000 were seriously injured.

D-Day: Operation Neptune
Operation Neptune is the name given to the U.S. Merchant Marine D-Day mission of water transportation of men and equipment to Normandy, France. The initial assault ships carried 160,000 troops and 16,000 vehicles. The assault armada numbered 6,939 ships, boats and amphibious craft -- the largest number of vessels ever assembled.

WWII Merchant Marine
From 1941 to 1945, private industry-owned cargo vessels and tankers transported armaments, fuel, supplies and troops to the European and Pacific theaters. These ships traveled in convoys. They were easy enemy prey, especially when sailing alone.
 

Maritime Today


The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

Maritime Reporter February 2016 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

SunEdison Restrained from 'Unusual' Asset Transfers

Solar company SunEdison Inc said a U.S. court has restrained the company from making any unusual asset transfers until a hearing in a lawsuit brought on by investors

Maersk to Scrap Ships at India's Alang Beaches, NGO Dismayed

Maersk Line said on Friday it had chosen four shipbreaking yards along India's Alang beaches to handle an increase in vessels that need to be scrapped, to the dismay

Teknotherm Marine Moves HVAC Arm to Bergen

Maritime heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) firm Teknotherm Marine has established a new subsidiary is established with the name Teknotherm Marine HVAC AS.

Legal

Cautious Optimism on Pacific NorthWest LNG Report

Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA)  has ruled that Pacific NorthWest LNG’s project in British Columbia would likely harm harbour porpoises and contribute to climate change,

UPS Oposes CP-NS Merger

UPS, one of North America’s largest intermodal shippers, has told federal regulators that it is against Canadian Pacific Railway's (CP's) proposed acquisition of Norfolk Southern Corp.

SunEdison Restrained from 'Unusual' Asset Transfers

Solar company SunEdison Inc said a U.S. court has restrained the company from making any unusual asset transfers until a hearing in a lawsuit brought on by investors

Navy

DARPA All Set To Launch Submarine Hunting Drone

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) will launch in April a sleek, 132-foot warship from Portland, OR, testing its abilities over a succeeding period of 18 months.

All-Women Crew Indian Navy Ship Enters Chennai Port

The Indian Navy said on Saturday that its sailing vessel Mhadei, having an all-women crew of naval officers, has entered the Chennai Port.    The vessel which had left Visakhapatnam on February 9,

NATO Ships Arrive in Batumi

This morning, four NATO ships assigned to Standing NATO Mine Counter-Measures Group TWO (SNMCMG2) arrived in Batumi, Georgia for a scheduled visit in an effort

News

Brazil's CEEE to sell stakes in Wind Farms, Dams

Brazil's Companhia Estadual de Energia Elétrica (CEEE), a power utility controlled by the state of Rio Grande do Sul, will sell assets including stakes in wind farms,

N.E. Fishermen Warned of Extreme Cold, Wind Chills

The Coast Guard is urging the Massachusetts and Rhode Island fishing fleet to take caution heading into the weekend when life threatening temperatures and wind chills are forecasted.

Hapag-Lloyd Enhances Conosur Service

Hapag-Lloyd has informed about its service enhancements on the Conosur Service (South America West Coast to South America East Coast). This is being upgraded by

Government Update

DP World Bolsters Investment in India

DP World Pvt. Ltd, the world’s fourth biggest container port operator majority owned by the Dubai government, has plans to invest over $1 billion in India for augmenting its port-related operations.

Philippines Mulls Bilateral Sea Talks with China

The Philippines may consider two-way talks with China to resolve a territorial dispute in the South China Sea but only if it wins its case with Beijing at an arbitration tribunal in The Hague,

NATO Sea Mission Launched against Migrant Traffickers

NATO ships are on their way to the Aegean Sea to help Turkey and Greece crack down on criminal networks smuggling refugees into Europe, the alliance's top commander said on Thursday.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Security Navigation Offshore Oil Pod Propulsion Port Authority Ship Electronics Ship Repair Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1082 sec (9 req/sec)