The Navy's Military Sealift Command will
commemorate the Merchant Marine heroes of yesterday and today at a 2:30 p.m. Maritime Day ceremony May 22 at Pier One East on the historic Washington Navy Yard
. Rear Adm. David L. Brewer III, USN, commander, MSC, will host the event, and MSC fleet ocean tug USNS Mohawk will be pierside, serving as the backdrop for the ceremony.
Mohawk is one of about 110 ships operating daily around the world supporting MSC's mission as the ocean transportation provider for the Department of Defense. All MSC ships are crewed by merchant mariners, and MSC is the world's largest employer of the U.S. mariners with more than 3,000 civil service mariners serving on MSC ships and nearly 2,000 mariners crewing ships under contract to MSC.
Merchant mariners play a critical role in our nation's defense, enabling the U.S. military to operate in the four corners of the globe. Since the events of Sept. 11, merchant mariner-crewed ships have been at the tip of the spear in the Arabian Sea, providing critical fuel, food and supplies to Navy and allied ships participating in Operation Enduring Freedom. MSC ships have also carried ammunition destined for military planes flying over Afghanistan.
The U.S. Merchant Marine has been on the front lines preserving U.S. freedom since the nation's infancy -- serving in every conflict from the Revolutionary War to the present. The per capita death toll of the U.S. Merchant Marine in World War II was second among the armed services to only that of the Marines.
"At MSC where proud of our partnership with the U.S. Merchant Marine and proud to be a part of a long tradition of excellence and sacrifice," said Rear Adm. David. L. Brewer III, USN, Commander, MSC.
Maritime Day is celebrated May 22 each year to commemorate the first voyage of a steam ship across the Atlantic Ocean on May 22, 1819, by SS Savannah. The day was proclaimed a holiday in 1933 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.