Legislation from United States of America House of Representatives

Merchant Mariners of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2019


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Merchant Mariners of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2019

Merchant Mariners of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2019
This bill provides for a Congressional Gold Medal to be awarded to the U.S. Merchant Mariners of World War II, in recognition of their service during World War II.
Following the award of the medal, it shall be given to the American Merchant Marine Museum, where it shall be available for display and research.


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Introduced in House

Date: January 15, 2019

Armed Forces and National Security
Merchant Mariners of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2019
Date: January 15, 2019 Official Title: To award a Congressional Gold Medal, collectively, to the United States Merchant Mariners of World War II, in recognition of their dedicated and vital service during World War II.Short title This Act may be cited as the "Merchant Mariners of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2019".Findings Congress finds the following:
  • (1) 2015 marked the 70th anniversary of the Allied victory in World War II and the restoration of peacetime across the European and Pacific theaters.
  • (2) The United States Merchant Marine (in this section referred to as the "Merchant Marine") was integral in providing the link between domestic production and the fighting forces overseas, providing combat equipment, fuel, food, commodities, and raw materials to troops stationed abroad.
  • (3) Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King acknowledged the indispensability of the Merchant Marine to the victory in a 1945 letter stating that, without the support of the Merchant Marine, "the Navy could not have accomplished its mission".
  • (4) President, and former Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, Dwight D. Eisenhower acknowledged that "through the prompt delivery of supplies and equipment to our armed forces overseas, and of cargoes representing economic and military aid to friendly nations, the American Merchant Marine has effectively helped to strengthen the forces of freedom throughout the world".
  • (5) Military missions and war planning were contingent upon the availability of resources and the Merchant Marine played a vital role in this regard, ensuring the efficient and reliable transoceanic transport of military equipment and both military and civilian personnel.
  • (6) The Merchant Marine provided for the successful transport of resources and personnel despite consistent and ongoing exposure to enemy combatants from both the air and the sea, including from enemy bomber squadrons, submarines, and mines.
  • (7) The efforts of the Merchant Marine were not without sacrifices as the Merchant Marine bore a higher per-capita casualty rate than any other branch of the military during the war.
  • (8) The Merchant Marine proved to be an instrumental asset on an untold number of occasions, participating in every landing operation by the United States Marine Corps, from Guadalcanal to Iwo Jima.
  • (9) The Merchant Marine provided the bulk tonnage of material necessary for the invasion of Normandy, an invasion which, according to a 1944 New York Times article, "would not have been possible without the Merchant Marine".
  • (10) In assessing the performance of the Merchant Marine, General Eisenhower stated, "every man in this Allied command is quick to express his admiration for the loyalty, courage, and fortitude of the officers and men of the Merchant Marine. We count upon their efficiency and their utter devotion to duty as we do our own; they have never failed us".
  • (11) During a September 1944 speech, President Franklin D. Roosevelt stated that the Merchant Marine had "delivered the goods when and where needed in every theater of operations and across every ocean in the biggest, the most difficult, and dangerous transportation job ever undertaken. As time goes on, there will be greater public understanding of our merchant fleet's record during this war.".
  • (12) The feats and accomplishments of the Merchant Marine are deserving of broader public recognition.
  • (13) The United States will be forever grateful and indebted to these merchant mariners for their effective, reliable, and courageous transport of goods and resources in enemy territory throughout theaters of every variety in World War II.
  • (14) The goods and resources transported by the Merchant Marine saved thousands of lives and enabled the Allied Powers to claim victory in World War II.
  • (15) The Congressional Gold Medal would be an appropriate way to shed further light on the service of the merchant mariners in World War II and the instrumental role they played in winning that war.Award Authorized