House OKs bill to pay WWII Merchant Marines $1,000 a month

Jul 31, 2007 Full story: Merced Sun-Star.com 46

“We took the same oath as the armed services”

Fresno resident Rufus Hernandez and his fellow Merchant Marine veterans from World War II would receive $1,000 a month tax-free under a bill passed by the House on Monday. via Merced Sun-Star.com

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Ed Grant

Irvine, CA

#1 Aug 2, 2007
My Dad,now 87 years old, served in the Merchant Marines in the European and Pacific theatres of World War II. He contributed as much any other combatant in his service to our nation during that horrible period of history. It is absolutely imparative that this bill be passed into law for the few surviving MM Vets remaining. My Dad, to this day, has nightmares about the horrors of war he witnessed. It is time for the nation to show these valiant sailers that their sacrifices were and are appreciated.
Ron

AOL

#2 Aug 4, 2007
As I read this article. I am glad for my Dad! Because if these civilians that participated in the WAR when they wanted to, at there convenience, with higher then military wages, will receive $1000.00 per month. Then my Dad that was drafted into the Army through no choice of his own. Served Our Country and was in combat or combat training for most of his service career. Should be receiving $5,000.00 tax free per month. This will be a real blessing. I am so glad that The House is finally taking care of ALL AMERICAN VETERANS!!!! I am sure that there are a lot of us Veterans anxiously awaiting our Tax Free money form this Bill that was past by The House.
Blaine

United States

#3 Nov 24, 2007
My wife's step father is 78 years old. He served in the Merchant Marines during WWII from the time he was age 15 to the end of WWII. He went into the Marines and served in the Korean War. I work as an Actuary for an insuarnce Company. Because of the high average age of current surviving Merchant Marines from the WWII era the benefits should be significantly higher for the shorter future life expectation and the delayed payment of the benefits. President Roosevelt had intended to do something to thank the Merchant Marines for the part they played in WWII and he died before it happened. Why has it taken our government more than 50 years top say thank you? Why is this Bill to give benefits to the WWII Mercahnt Marines stuck in the Senate? Lets hope this effort does not die before the final WWII Merchant Marine survivor dies!!! Had these WWII Merchant Marines recieved the benefits that other armed servicemen recieved: THE GI BILL for WWII Veterans included mortgage benefits, education benefits, and medical benefits to name a few. Senate, please get this resolved before Christmas Recess.
John

Athens, AL

#4 Jan 8, 2008
My father served as a Merchant Marine during WWII and since has found out that causually rate was extremely high. When he got out jobs were for "Veterans Only", Houses were built for Veterans Only, thus he was discriminated clearly. They had NO GI benefits yet put their lives on the line making sure supplies were received in Europe and around the world. A thousand dollars a month is a token... but a well desired one.
Cathy

Brentwood, TN

#5 Feb 23, 2008
Hello, fellow MMFamily members! I've been trying to gather info for my Dad's 81st birthday related to his tour of duty as a Merchant Marine. Funny how today's kids learn NOTHING about the job these fine men did during WWII. How sad to lose so much history. But, we're still here to carry the flag, so to speak. I'm really interested in learning more about this bill... for example, the bill number, ANYTHING... this is the first our family has heard of this.$1,000 a month... hmmm... that'd be nice, probably help with the costs of health care, funerals, etc.... in other words, too little... but never too late. My thanks to all who served in this war as Merchant Marines, without you guys, NONE of us would have the freedom to complain or compliment. Your service was indispensable to the war effort. I SALUTE YOU ALL!!!
suzanne Smith

United States

#6 Jan 25, 2009
My dad is 88 and he cannot talk about his service in the Merchant Marines during WWI without tears. I have gone to almost all his ports of call to document in photos his service. It is a legacy I've wanted to give to my grandchildren. I'm proud they are finally making this right. My father was denied the GI bill for education. He wanted to be an attorney, instead, he worked and went out to sea so my brothers and I could have college educations. Its time. Its right. I'm proud we can honor these men and women.

o
Ed Grant wrote:
My Dad,now 87 years old, served in the Merchant Marines in the European and Pacific theatres of World War II. He contributed as much any other combatant in his service to our nation during that horrible period of history. It is absolutely imparative that this bill be passed into law for the few surviving MM Vets remaining. My Dad, to this day, has nightmares about the horrors of war he witnessed. It is time for the nation to show these valiant sailers that their sacrifices were and are appreciated.
Tom Bogner

Gilbert, AZ

#7 Feb 19, 2009
Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska, who I think was a Merchant Marine himself, was pushing this bill for several years. At one time he had 60 plus co-sponsors in the Senate, I heard it died in a House Committee. Wouldnt now be the time, whil Congress is bailing out banks, and Insurance companies to provide a little help to the MMWWII vets. 1,000 a month to my mother would be equivalent of a billion dollar bail out to Citi Bank.... Should we petition Senator Nelson to revive this..???
Howard E Morseburg

Los Alamos, CA

#8 Mar 25, 2009
I too went to sea, all documented on my site, www.howardsviews.com and I am now doing videos addressed to Sen. Daniel K. Akaka, who keeps Senate Bill 691 bottled up.
In the meantime $15,000 has been finally passed for payment to Filipino veterans.
But, the unheard of gall to approved of $135 million in reparations to citizens of Guam for the atrocities committed against them by the Japanese Army takes the cake! We are paying them for what the Japanese did to them! And meantime Congress ignores the Veterans of the Merchant Marine, now 83 years of age upward.
Investigte this calumny, report on it.
My Youtube site, also under Howardsviews will tell this story.
Howard E Morseburg

Los Alamos, CA

#9 Mar 25, 2009
AN AUXILLARY WARSHIP
Although continually denied, the fact that a Liberty ship had two major guns, 5"38, a 4"50, and 8 20MM, manned by a combination of US Navy AG and assisted by US merchant seamen, and was, in an emergency, capable of a stand-alone warship, classifies it as an Auxillary Warship.
One merchant ship, SS Stephen Hopkins, sank the German raider Stier, in a battle with two German raiders, testimony that all Liberty ships deserved such a designation and merchant seamen were part of the Armed Forces. Cadet Edwin O'hara, who fired off the last 5 shells at the Stier did so in the highest tradition of any member of the Armed Forces, and his heroism would have earned him a Medal of Honor.
Roque Government

Orlando, FL

#10 Mar 25, 2009
This bill comes a little to late for my uncle, he would have been 84, he passed when he was 80 (my aunt passed 6 months after he did) he was a Merchant Marine in WWII...At least any surviving veterans will get it...
Howard E Morseburg

Los Alamos, CA

#11 May 17, 2009
There are many who do not understand a single thing about the Merchant Marine, and that the wage disparities began before the war, before Pearl Harbor, in 1939, when merchant ships were unarmed, no side armor either, capable of only 8 to 10 knots, and being sunk faster than America could build them.
What a helpless feeling, to see a sub rise from the ocean nearby, and not have a single gun aboard to defend yourself with, a sub that can outrun almost any cargo ship afloat!
No one came out of the war whole. Approximately 2,800 merchant ships were sunk. ALL merchant seamen were overseas veterans, and on "the front lines" but not all Army or Navy personnel were. It would take a long discussion to explain, but you can find much of it on the Web.
There's more myth to truth in pay factors, because the Services paid 365 days of the year and took care of all other issues; the men of the Merchant Marine did not. All who served, in no matter which capacity, deserve honor and recognition, but the men of the Merchant Marine were not.
judith

Rancho Santa Margarita, CA

#12 Jun 6, 2009
in the Senate?
Patty

Columbia, IL

#13 Jun 25, 2009
My dad passed away in 1980. He served 4 years as a Merchant Marine during WWII. I was very upset to learn when he died that he was not eligible for any benefits which also affected my mother as a middle-aged widow (52). If this bill passes the Senate, are widows eligible for this monthly stipend? How long will will the bill "sit" until voted on?

Thanks
James

Moore, SC

#14 Aug 14, 2009
Dear Ron. You are all wrong. My father served in the merchant marines during World War 2. Your father received the apportunity to a free college education after the war as well as the right to buy a house with no money done as well as job hiring preference. My dad did not. He did serve in a branch of the military that suffered a higher casualty rate than the army. The navy deserted the merchant marine convey during one his Murmanski runs. German U boats sunk convey ships for days and still they sailed bravely on. Check history before you whine. Without my father and other brave merchant marines we would have lost the war. Many personnel of the army, navy and air force saw less combat action than my father.
Jacquline

United States

#15 Aug 27, 2009
Ron you are grossly misinformed and out of line and owe an apology for misspeaking. These men are not civilians according to the retroactive status that should have been applied under FDR, as he promised. This is not about money. It is about the undoing a grave injustice.
Ron wrote:
As I read this article. I am glad for my Dad! Because if these civilians that participated in the WAR when they wanted to, at there convenience, with higher then military wages, will receive $1000.00 per month. Then my Dad that was drafted into the Army through no choice of his own. Served Our Country and was in combat or combat training for most of his service career. Should be receiving $5,000.00 tax free per month. This will be a real blessing. I am so glad that The House is finally taking care of ALL AMERICAN VETERANS!!!! I am sure that there are a lot of us Veterans anxiously awaiting our Tax Free money form this Bill that was past by The House.
Jacqueline Fowler

United States

#16 Aug 27, 2009
Its not the money, is about sending a message , or so the Joker said in Dark Knight after setting fire to millions of dollars. For over 60 years there has been a conspiracy to bury the truth of the breach of promise to the Merchant Marines and false enticements made personally by FDR( Fireside Chats and other media outlets)that resulted in one of the greatest injustices committed on American Heroes in the history country. 1st, all Veterans who bathed in the luxury of benefits since 1946 are a disgrace to this nation if they fail to stand up for the rights of the Merchant Mariners. It is Veterans who have fought against setting the truth free that would expose the fact that without the Merchant Marines the war would have been lost in Europe.Plain & Simple truth. The military planning and strategy to land on those beachheads at Normandy was not even a possibility without the Merchant Marines and Liberty Ships. There is a concerted effort to surpress who were the real heroes whose bravery and mettle overshadows the Army, Air Force and the Navy, who want to seep it under the mat. We are better educated and more informed now, and it is only a matter of time until the greatest book and war movie ever made brings the Merchant Marines to the forefront for all to see and finally understand. The government's abandonment of these great unsung heroes after the death of FDR is a travesty, and will forever remain a blemish on Roosevelt's record, but more importantly an unpaid debt of gratitude. The government's abandonment of the people left to fend for themselves will be exposed and the fact of the convoy of a few ships who went back to mine infested waters to shuttle food, medicine and families separated in a war torn region as in the hands of the Merchant Marines while all the returning veterans were too busy lining up and grabbing every benefit for himself. But not the MM sailors ..who knew there was no ticker tape parade awaiting them. My faith earned combats bars, two silver stars, a meritorius medal and distinguished service medal on board Liberty Ships that gallant ship awards. He was a truly great man, a legend, accomplished businessman in his own right through the survival skills he learned as a boy at sea , with a lifelong amazing faith. He would have been too proud to ask the government for anything that he did for his country and the good of the world. The government could not order other branches of services to undertake the missions carried out by the merchant marines, it would have taken a lack of conscience for the FDR to order the suicide convoys , and the media was silent on those missions for the government's fear that the all volunteer effort it took to carry out would be lost in a panic if the American people knew of the risk and dangers involved and the high rate of casualties in the first three months. By the time word leaked out, the men who trained at Sheeshead Bay could not be stopped and it was damn the torpedoes the Merchant Marines will get the ammo and supplies through. Does anyone possibly believe the government could afford to pay the kind of money to a sailor today to take such risks. Sometimes it takes a lifetime for greatness and good things to come to light. The Merchant Marines greatness is the brightest shining star in this universe, and their names are written in the good book because of their tested faith in God in the face of death in the dark of night on the North Atlantic, that never wavered and never wondered what was in it for them when it was all said and done. As members of the Senate, if you are not for paying a debt the government owes the Merchant Marines, then you must be part of evil against good, with a personal agenda and motive of suppression, and how could anyone , any nation rely upon you to pay what you owe, if you continue to demonstrate the propensity to wiggle like a snake.
Larry Jackson Calhoun

United States

#17 Oct 16, 2009
I served on a Liberty ship,The William N, Byers,
during WW2.I worked in the engine room and I can
still hear those 500 lb bombs clicking together over
my head in the tunnel shaft as we crossed the atlantic in a storm.Anyway it would be a tremendous
help in paying our medical bills, if this bill were
ever passed. I am 82 years old and we would all be
greatful. If this bill is passed I would like to know
how we would be notified so that we would have time
to take advantage of it.
Patty

Columbia, IL

#18 Oct 16, 2009
Wow, this article was written over two years ago. Only a few more years and all the WWII Merchant Marines will be "gone". I believe that at this point, it's just going to be another stall tactic until the problem goes away (or is the right term "dies").
Linda Ahern

New York, NY

#19 Nov 10, 2009
I have been keeping an eye on this bill and found this site...my dad will be 83 years old in
December and this tribute to his service would ease his stress as he tries to stay in the house he has lived since he came back from the war. Does anyone have a website that shows where the bill is..and how we can keep tabs on it? I believe the house passed it but that it is now stuck in a Senate Review Committee.
Heike-Sacramento

AOL

#20 Jan 22, 2010
We have been getting pretty magazines from the Merchant Marines forever in the mail, PLUS invitations to donate $ and go to golfing, which he really does not care about.
My husband is 87, soon 88 years old, has received nothing for his service during WW2 with the merchant marines, criss crossing the Atlantic.
Wouldn't that be nice if he had $1000 a month extra to breathe better. He and I are below poverty lines and keep struggling every month to just survive.
Who said, the bill passed? I wished it did before he leaves this life.

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