WW II Coastwise Merchant Mariners
J. Don Horton, President 252 336 5553 104 Riverview Ave, Camden, NC 27921
The Honorable Richard Burr, R-NC 28 Oct. 2014
The United States Senate
217 Russell SOB, Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Burr,
With the 113th Congress coming to a close, the WW II Coastwise Merchant Mariners respectfully request your support of Senator Chris Murphy’s (D-CT) bi-partisan amendment, S. 1361, into S. 2410, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2015.
This amendment would allow alternative documentation be used to support some World War II Merchant Mariners in their quest to obtain veteran status under current laws. Due to lost and/or denied documentation some of our mariners cannot prove service without additional avenues. The use of other non-military documents is necessary to prove service. The Congressional Budget Office has ruled that this amendment would be de Minimis or have minimal budgetary impact
Several actions by our government have put the status of veteran out of reach and without expanding current requirements, allowing other non-military documentation, these veterans will not achieve what has been promised to those who stepped up and served our nation when it was most needed.
The US Coast Guard, under Information Paper #77 of April, 1992, identifies three specific documents they allow to prove maritime service during WW II. Two of these documents are non-military issued. These specific documents have now been almost impossible to find due to past government actions including their destructions and denial. They are (1) Shipping/Discharge certificates (2) non-military ships logbooks and (3) non-military company letterhead papers showing shipping information.
In addition to the issues of destroyed/denied documentation, many of these mariners consisted of elderly handicapped, school children and women who stepped up and answered the call to duty. Often they worked alongside credentialed seamen and performed the same duties. They drew the same wages and paid the same taxes. They also experienced the same conditions and dangers from the dreaded submarines as their brother seamen. The only difference was they served without the proper credentials due to the disability, age or gender. Today this is called discrimination. These seafarers were part of a small group who manned old outdated barges and tugs that moved war materials to defense plants along enemy contested waters of our coastal ports. They contributed greatly to war II.
Senator, will you help us correct this travesty and set the record straight and get the few remaining veterans or their families their due recognition? Soon the S. 2410, National Defense Authorization Act, will be brought to the floor for debate and further action.
We respectfully request your support to Senator Murphy’s amendment allowing alternative non-military documentation to prove service as veterans for some WW II coastwise mariners be included in the NDAA.
Very Respectfully, Fax: 202 228 2981
J. Don Horton