House OKs bill to pay WWII Merchant M...

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

There are 48 comments on the Merced story from Jul 31, 2007, titled House OKs bill to pay WWII Merchant Marines $1,000 a month. In it, Merced reports that:

“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

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Merced

E Milling

United States

#21 Apr 11, 2010
Well my father was killed in WWII with no benefits for his wife or family. I've been trying to secure a death certificate for him as he was lost at sea. It's been two years and I'm afraid I'm going to die before I'm able to obtain this so that I can have a marker put on my mother's grave.

Clearwater, FL

#22 Jul 13, 2010
The WWII Merchant Marine bills HR23 and S663 in Congress will have their best chance of becoming law if they are lobbied in Congress. That's the way Congress operates. Lobbyists require money for their time, efforts, staff, materials, expenses, etc.

Therefore, if you want these bills to become law, then I suggest you donate to the Amercian Merchant
Marine Veterans and the Just Compensation Committee, P.O. Box 1705, Santa Rosa, CA 95402
(Sindy Raymond, 1/800-545-4173), which collects the funding for lobbyist organizations such as
NAUS ( ). There is not much time left in the 111th Congress, so the sooner you can
donate what you can afford, the better.
Bill Pomeroy

Redford, MI

#23 Aug 16, 2010
I too am a Merchant Marine veteran of WW II and an Army veteran of the Korean War, 1960-1963.
I follow all postings concerning the issue of benefits for Merchant Mariners who served during the period Dec. 7, 1941 to Dec.31, 1946.One question continues to concern me.How can it be that "military service" veterans who never left the continental United States received all veterans benefits yet Merchant Mariners who entered a combat zone the moment their vessels left port were denied those same benefits? Unfortunately, MM veterans of WW II are few in number and have virtually no congressional influence but all Marchant Mariners who served after World War II are numerous. Why have we not received their support?
Pete Kurkimilis Z-268841


#24 Aug 27, 2010
How does Senator Daniel Akaka sleep with a clear conscience?He needs to be reminded that merchant seaman provided his Hawaiian Islands with every thing they needed to survive during ww 11....FOR SHAME .......

Malden, MA

#25 Sep 24, 2010
I have it on really good authority that this bill did not pass. My Dad, a Merchant Mariner, has all the info and showed it to me last week. We will fund mosques and not Mariners, give me strength.
Melvin OKlock

Lynchburg, VA

#26 Nov 4, 2010
I joined at 16 in 1944 and served as a helmsman on board several tankers that carried high octane fuel and ammunition both in the Atlantic and Pacific war zones until Aug. 1945. The only benefits I received were a personal satifaction that I helped in defeating our enemies and the love of my family. Since I could not get the G.I. Bill, I joined the Army Air Force for a 3 years so that I could get the program.
In 2006 (61 years later) the American Legion post awarded myself and another gentleman a medal for our service to our country.
The House of Rep. has recognized us, now hoe about the Senate. IT IS TIME

West Chester, PA

#27 Nov 9, 2010
Man the ships read the recruiting signs, and many
did after rigorous training at Sheepshead Bay,
Hoffman Island and a host of other training camps.
The training camps were very similar to Naval and
Coast Guard , except that graduates were at times
treated to a trip to Murmansk, or a munition loaded
Liberty Ship. Those who underwent the training and
service were treated as lepers after the war, some
being drafted after WW II. A shabby treatment for
those who believed that they were serving our Country
I enlisted at 17 and did not realize the treachery
that was to follow for serving as Merchant Seaman
Cindy Rhoades

Sweet Valley, PA

#28 Jan 7, 2011
My Father-in-law now 86 years old and was a Merchant Marine in the United Stated Navy during WWII. He saw a fellow ship being blown up and watched other service men left in the water to fend for themselves as they needed to keep moving so they too would not get bombed. He often tells us that he never thought he would live long enough to come home from the service. He has done and seen so much and continues today telling us stories of times past in the service. I agree whole heartedly that our servicemen need to be recognized and given the $1,000 a month for their time, sacrifice and service to our Country! Thank you!!
Pete Kurkimilis Z-268841


#29 Jan 8, 2011
It looks like bills hr-23 and s-663 have to start all over again in the 112th congress.It passed in the house by voice vote by 82 percent and sent to the senate veterans affairs committee chaired by senator akaka......Senator Akka saat on the bill and would not send it to the senate floor for an up or down vote....The VFW opposed the bill claiming falsely that merchant seaman were not veterans and unfortunately they had senator Akaka in their pocket so the bill s-663 died in committee.How sad that a senile old man should have so much power that he could thwart the wishes of so many congressmen and fifty one senators....He is 87 years old and will meet his maker eventually and maybe then will repent for the damage he as done to the unsung heroes of the war.....I sailed through out the war-murmansk at age 16 and the Normandie invasion in a troopship-the s.s.bienville...May God bless all the ship mates that I lost and all the seamen who never returned home. Capt Pete Kurkimilis U.S.Merchant Marine (retired )..!!!!!!!january 8th-2011

Indianapolis, IN

#30 Jan 18, 2011
My dad served in the Merchant Marine in the Pacific during WW2. He came back an alcoholic, and died in 1967. Had he lived, he would have been 101 last October. That isn't really important. What IS important is that the MM was second only to the Marines in deaths and other casualties during that war. It won't help Dad, but this bill is/was long overdue.
Mike - Rocky Hill CT

Wethersfield, CT

#31 Jan 24, 2011
My father also served during the Karean Conflict and you would think that with so few of those brave service men/women left the government would do what is right. I think the government is dragging it's feet because they just do not understand what sacrifices they made. I also think that part of the problem is that the majority of people in government presently have no clue what it was to serve for their country. We have lost an appreciation and love for this country.
Government should do the right thing and finish what they started with this Bill. But instead they did like they do with so many bills they disagree continuously and never get anything done.

Little Elm, TX

#32 Jul 11, 2011
Congratulations to my Dad. You deserve it!!!! I have heard his stories about being a merchant marine, and it was not an easy life. He joined on his own and I thought that was so brave and then to have to endure some of the hardships at such a young age is even more admirable. Im so glad that someone has taken this mission on and very happy about the results.
Kent greenwood Mn

Minneapolis, MN

#33 Nov 10, 2011
Patty wrote:
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?
Patty, like you our mother was also a middle aged widow. Where the widows eligible for this monthly benefit? Any information would be appreciated. Thank you
Eddie Baker

Cortlandt Manor, NY

#34 Jan 17, 2012
I lost a lung to asbestos working in the engine room unprotected on a Army ship. I sued third party asbestos manufactures and have moneys settlements that were coming? Medicare wants to take that money because they stated they are paying for my asbestos related sickness medical bills.I pay premiums for coverage. My secondary is paying the additional 20% which was caused while being forced to work with this material on an Army ship or be court martialed.Some thing is not right some were?. When a group of Army air force generals in closed quarters and the head of this group can state that we are a under class publicly slang "the scum of the earth" And put a unrelistic date the WW11 ended in Aug 15 1945 for Merchant marine, Army transport services and when by president decree stated the WW11 ended in 1946 being the law of the land something is very wrong with our democratic way of government? to allow this? "justice for all" and to get away with that?.Those actions are what is done in a dictatorship.
herbert Brooks

Overland Park, KS

#35 Feb 11, 2012
I was sent to nagasaki japan 3 monthes after the bomb went off years later got canser had to quit work lost my business now have many cansers cut off my head each year gov. says it didn't hurt me because i didnt have a dr report winthin 1 year.67 years later some one sitting behind a desk made this asumpson.fair????
Debbie Ray

Tucson, AZ

#36 Aug 9, 2012
What about the Seaback Certificate????

Denver, CO

#37 Aug 14, 2012
Kent greenwood Mn wrote:
<quoted text> Patty, like you our mother was also a middle aged widow. Where the widows eligible for this monthly benefit? Any information would be appreciated. Thank you
No, she is not eligible for anything under my father's service for four years as a Merchant Marine (other than $$ towards his grave marker). Ironically, she remarried a man who "served" for 6 months and the war was over. He trained as a cook in the U.S. and completed basic training. He never left the country. If she runs out of money, she is eligible for benefits for Assisted Living & Nursing Home (she is on hospice now) because of her second husband's "service". Simply amazing!

Houston, TX

#38 May 31, 2013
Patty wrote:
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?
I can't believe we have almost the same story. My father died in 1982 and also served in the Merchant Marines during WWII. He died at age 55, still a Merchant Marine. My mother died in 1997, but we didn't know what to do about investigating veteran status when she was alive. I don't think it was put out in the public as much as it should have been.

United States

#40 Jul 7, 2013
My dad was a Merchant Marine who served in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters during WWII. He never talked about his service. It was my mom who told us he contracted the jungle rot that he managed throughout his life in India during his stint there. And it was my mom who told us about their vessel being hit and the scramble of those in the boiler room to grab their lone-shared-dog'earred copy of Gone With the Wind as water poured in. In 1977 my dad warned me about the dangers of asbestos, when he observed that it was an ingredient in the drywall mud I used daily at work. He told me it was the highest cancer causing agent known to man. It was my mom who told me that my dad used asbestos to pack the boiler pipes during his WWII service. My dad passed away from mesothelioma on Dec 20,1998, 14mos after diagnosis. The asbestos he warned me about took him from us. He suffered horribly. After his death, I found boxes my dad had kept from his war days in the Merchant Marines. Hats, pins, training materials, handwritten homework and diagrams, notes...a hodgepodge of odds and ends. My outgoing dad who loved talking to everyone about everything under the sun, yet who never spoke about his WWII Merchant Marine service and shrugged off questions about it, carried his years of service with him for over 50yrs in cardboard boxes. Now they're mine.

United States

#41 Jul 7, 2013
The US government knew about the dangers of asbestos exposure during WWII, yet did not inform its servicemen. It did not provide protective gear or give training to promote safe methods of handling asbestos. The US government treated my dad and his fellow Merchant Marines as disposable commodities, and then compounded the wrong by shirking the responsibility they had to those who years later developed terminal illnessess due to their asbestos exposure. Its too late for my dad, but will Congress ever step up and do the right thing for the few who remain? My dad's pain and suffering ended on Dec 20,1998 but the pain and suffering we went through watching him die a slow and agonizing death remains seared in our memories. The larger-than-life man with the boundless heart of gold, reduced to a physically ravaged shell struggling through unimaginable pain befuddled by morphine. Its time for the US government to make amends.

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