Should Merchant Mariners be able to use USO facilities? Are we?

I was checking bags with a rip off airline and was about to pay big bucks to fly home two bags. One of work clothes and one with my gear in it.
The guy behind the counter noticed my TWIC which looks just like a military id. He also saw my MMC that was in the same billfold.
He asked me if I was military. I told him no and that I was a merchant seaman.
He checked to see if that counted as military.
I guess it did. He took down the last 5 of my MMC and my bags flew for free that time.
That was flying home from Quebec.

I don’t ever ask for a military discount or pretend to be active military but sometimes I think the airport people mistake our twics for a military id because of the micro chip and watermark.

I show my TWIC whenever I am flying and sometimes my passport. The minute they see that UV watermark they wave you through.

I have sailed MSC before which makes you almost feel like you are Navy.

I am ex navy and I used to use the USO.

Don’t get me wrong I think it is first and foremost for our foreign vets and active military but shouldn’t we as merchant seaman be included in the club?

We as merchant mariners sometimes travel great distances also to get to and from our boats or ships.

Some USO’s are really nice. They have a place where you can take a nap or freshen up. You can go sit and watch a movie or nap in an easy chair. Things like that beat the heck out of waiting in one of those comfy airport terminal chairs.

Why should I have to pay for my bags to travel to and from the ship? I can’t write that off on my taxes. If I do it isn’t usually worth the extra line on my tax preparations.

We as merchant seaman can be called upon in times of war to help with the sea lift.

You know if things got bad enough to have a draft again like in WWII that it would not be “voluntary” to sail for sea lift in a national crisis or world war.

Often times the companies we work for service the military like Chou est.

When I was in the navy we had to sign in to use the USO. Everyone was very friendly and most if not all were volunteers.
They made sure you signed in and then after that they would help you or leave you be depending on what you wanted.
But the main reason, as I understood it, for making sure we signed in was the funding was based upon how many visitors they got.

I am sure there are more than a few merchant seaman who would be more than happy to help them boost their raster sheet.

I bet I could probably go into one and they would let me in but I don’t want to disrespect the military fighting men and women so I don’t.

Anybody?

1 Like

I’ve never used a USO facility out of respect for those in uniform. There is a similar outfit for merchant seamen in ports around the world called USS. United Seaman’s Service. The one in Naples, Italy has killer meals, cheap. So does the one on Diego Garcia.

[QUOTE=seadog6608;46398]I’ve never used a USO facility out of respect for those in uniform. There is a similar outfit for merchant seamen in ports around the world called USS. United Seaman’s Service. The one in Naples, Italy has killer meals, cheap. So does the one on Diego Garcia.[/QUOTE]

I used to like the USS clubs quite a bit. Good place for an economical meal, beverage and currency exchange. Many have good local advice, too. When I was sailing, the USS clubs were usually my first stop. I remember a Scandinavian Club in Manila that was extremely good, but there was a membership charge of about US$0.16 a year. Even as a cadet I could handle that one. Not sure if it was a USS club, though. I am not even sure if it is still there.

Ex Navy?

Are you fucking KIDDING me!?

The fact that yer asking the question leads this Retired BMC to believe that you KNOW the answer to the question.

I don’t care HOW far you got to travel - yer making a CHOICE and could just as quickly walk away - NOT the case with ANY Active Duty sailor and YOU KNOW THIS

Could be called upon? When you get the call, shipmate I’ll be the first to drag you to the closest Enlisted Club or USO and pony up a bevy - until then, suck it up buttercup.

I can’t answer for the stupidity of people who don’t know the difference between a legit Military I.D. but anyone who tries to milk this, IN MY OPINION - CHAPS my ass.

Just sayin’

BMC(SW) John E Dupee, USN Retired
1984 - 2006

[B][U]IMHO[/U][/B]…some years back when contracted to the military we were allowed limited access to various on base facilities…a privilege that was offered not expected but was greatly appreciated non the less…doubt that sort of thing is still being done…that said…while traveling internationally as a “US Merchant Marine in transit” I have on more than one occasion taken certain “liberties” to include 5 days in Paris all expenses on Air France when the “frogs” managed to loose my luggage while en route to Cameroon…nothing ventured nothing gained…no Walmarts in Africa at that time don’t you know!!

FYI…most world ports have some sort of facilities for mariners “in transit”…BTW worthy charities to contribute to…[B][U]GOOGLE IT!![/U][/B]

If you said you’re not military after being asked, and they give you a discount anyway, fine. No big deal. That same discount applies to all federal employees when traveling on business. They could have assumed that was the case (the policies are quite liberal actually, and are to be applied by the CSR based on the policy that you haven’t read). I would guess that to be the case as not to infringe upon active or retired active duty military as this can be a sore subject. I’ve had a CAC card for a while - MWR/Commissary privileges - as a dependent - and now as a merchant marine while working MSC contracted vessels. Received many discounts, and never served, or was willing to. Too much exposure growing up - had enough military as a kid with a Division Sergeant Major dad that served '64 - '94 - with 12 years time in grade with a really bad Drill Sergeant mentality. Not for me - No fucking way. I did consider the Navy at one point, and this subject did come up with my dad at the diner table one night - when he asked what I planned to do after High School. “Thinking about joining the Navy dad”, I said. And my dad’s reply, “I rather have a daughter in a whore house than a son in the Navy”. I became a civilian merchant mariner. Dad started as Army Airborne Pathfinder, and finished as mechanized infantry.

[QUOTE=anchorman;46409] “Thinking about joining the Navy dad”, I said. And my dad’s reply, “I rather have a daughter in a whore house than a son in the Navy”. I became a civilian merchant mariner. Dad started as Army Airborne Pathfinder, and finished as mechanized infantry.[/QUOTE]

He was just pissed off that YOU were smart enough to think ahead to hot water, hot food and dry sheets while he chose to camp out in tent

[QUOTE=anchorman;46409] And my dad’s reply, “I rather have a daughter in a whore house than a son in the Navy”. I became a civilian merchant mariner. Dad started as Army Airborne Pathfinder, and finished as mechanized infantry.[/QUOTE]

Anchorman, if Dad is still around this is for him… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZsERX844Tg

I wanna join.

Here is another travel tip for men, use the woman’s bathroom instead, I understand they are often cleaner.

Your right Chief, Merchant seaman shouldn’t get the same freebies active duty military get. Before running my license up to Master I was a former SWO and grew up in a Navy family. I get fired up when I run into guys saying they should qualify for benefits being Desert Storm veterans because they got some campaign participation pin sailing on a merchant ship in the Persian Gulf. One guy who continues to say he’s a “merchant marine” even boasted he got veteran status on his unemployment application! Seeing how WWII Merchant vets who got torpedoed and floated around for days and weeks just got some kind of veterans status within the last 20 years!
Merchant Seaman have the option of quitting anytime they want, get overtime, single room quarters (most of the time), wear raggedy looking outfits and scoff at stuff those in uniform have to do everyday. USO’s are not intended as another freebie for a civilian making probably 3 times what a active duty enlisted person would make. He’s just looking to save a buck. My company reimbursed me for my baggage fees as long as it was 2 bags.
Thanks for your service and putting your 2 cents in.

[QUOTE=Jolly Tar;46404]Ex Navy?

Are you fucking KIDDING me!?

The fact that yer asking the question leads this Retired BMC to believe that you KNOW the answer to the question.

I don’t care HOW far you got to travel - yer making a CHOICE and could just as quickly walk away - NOT the case with ANY Active Duty sailor and YOU KNOW THIS

Could be called upon? When you get the call, shipmate I’ll be the first to drag you to the closest Enlisted Club or USO and pony up a bevy - until then, suck it up buttercup.

I can’t answer for the stupidity of people who don’t know the difference between a legit Military I.D. but anyone who tries to milk this, IN MY OPINION - CHAPS my ass.

Just sayin’

BMC(SW) John E Dupee, USN Retired
1984 - 2006[/QUOTE]

I have a legit MMC. I never misrepresented myself. I was a seaman in transit and they didn’t charge me for my bags to fly. I never used a USO without being active military.

If you check your history you will see that several merchant mariners from WWII were awarded medals and killed in the line of their duty which was hauling goods for their country or their country’s military.

I did my 4 years.

I did not know there were overseas “Seaman friendly” places. I know of one or two places in the states where a seaman can get a fair shake on room and board.

The issue is not misrepresenting yourself or asking for military benefits. The issue is where a merchant seaman who serves his country in his own way can keep from getting taken to the cleaners while in transit which is a good deal of the time.

As for being your shipmate, I have been when I signed “Articles of War” to carry military equipment to the middle east for less than $90/day. But if my ship gets destroyed in combat I am just boat trash right?

Everyone since the draft has “made a choice”. The military is “all volunteer” now. They are no longer conscripts of the government.

I don’t have a choice where my company sends me to work. I have to earn money to feed my family. I have to travel to where the work is. And just like a trucker I am part of the backbone of this US and other economies because I help move the goods and services.

Without us power plants dont run, gas dont get in your mini van, corn dont get to the mill, and much more.

I am not going to get a flame war going with you.

Good day

In time of war the US Merchant Marine is an auxiliary to the Navy and mariners are considered military personnel (Jones Act). Without reading the particulars, does it mean a formal declaration of war or just military action? Don’t know and don’t care. Do some guys get veteran status for a variety of things having been a Merchant Mariner in a combat zone? Yes, it’s the way the laws have been adapted and I see no problem with it. If it’s legal, then by all means…

For the attitude some have about it? Screw them! LOL Came back to work one time and the new deckhand was stowing a line when I stepped aboard. Introduced myself and noticed his fishing hat with a miniature CIB (Combat Infantryman’s Badge). I asked him where he got it and he told me Panama. So it’s a great conversation piece for someone that doesn’t know what it is nor what he did to earn it (or more appropriately, didn’t do). Regs are 6 months in a combat zone. I don’t think playing music for Noriega for 2 or 3 weeks should qualify, but what the hell do I know. Anyway, it set the tone for our caustic working relationship and his eventual departure.

Oh yeah, write the baggage fees off on your taxes. You don’t need a separate line item for them, just include them in the cost of travel, which it is.

In regards to Merchant Mariners getting recognized by way of discounts / services. If you happen to be in the Boston area, remember that there’s that “Boston Mariners House” that’s advertised constantly in [I]Workboat[/I] and [I]Professional Mariner[/I]. If your travels bring you to the Big Apple (NYC), the there’s the Seaman’s and International House located on 15th and 3rd, if my memory serves me correct. Only three-some block from the Union Station subway, an okay Irish pub next door, and roughly $65 a night for a single bed (fold up bed included), but you have to share a shower/head. Front up some more cash, roughly $100-120 for your private shower/head. That’s not a bad deal for an okay area of downtown Manhattan!

Just be sure to mention you’re a mariner on the phone for reservations AND bring your MMC. They may charge you a higher rate if you can’t show proof.

If I can check my bags for free by showing a MMC and a TWIC, fine by me. If somebody else takes offense, whatever. I don’t think this is a case of Merchant Mariners trying to do a BAD thing and parade around as vets or active duty. If the person working the ticket counter doesn’t know the difference between a TWIC and Military ID and I get my bags checked free, works for me.

I go out of my way to explain to an all too ill-informed public what the Merchant Marine is and what Merchant Seamen do. I get tired of people thinking that we are military. The USMM has a proud history and record that speaks for itself. No need to make stuff up.

BTW, I’ve had plenty of active duty and retired military who saw my merchant mariner gear and thanked me for my “service” and they knew damn well that the merchant service is all civ crewed.

" I never used a USO without being active military."

[B][U]IMHO[/U][/B]…for those interested in seeing the inside of a USO…next opportunity suggest offering to accompany and treat 3-4 active service members…not as frugal as swilling your $7.00 “airport draft” alone but much more gratifying!!

[QUOTE=seadawg;46521]" I never used a USO without being active military."

[B][U]IMHO[/U][/B]…for those interested in seeing the inside of a USO…next opportunity suggest offering to accompany and treat 3-4 active service members…not as frugal as swilling your $7.00 “airport draft” alone but much more gratifying!![/QUOTE]

That’s a great idea Seadog. Anyone who served active duty military knows how good it feels to be appreciated.

i’ve used my zcard for a military discount @ hotels on more than one occasion. Hell i got a cheap tixs @ disney as well. I’m prior service & i’ve done my time & i will continue to use it to save a buck.

[QUOTE=Tugted;46558]i’ve used my zcard for a military discount @ hotels on more than one occasion. Hell i got a cheap tixs @ disney as well. I’m prior service & i’ve done my time & i will continue to use it to save a buck.[/QUOTE]

I showed my old MMD (when asked for ID when buying a ticket or doing a check-in) more than a few times and I got an automatic military discount, no questions asked.

I see the TWIC will now serve the same purpose.

Not necessarily - the people at the airport are usually more confused than helpful when I try and use one of those for ID. The TSA folks rarely have a clue what the TWIC is, although I hear if you flash it at Logan Airport (Boston) they whisk you down the pilots only line and you cut everybody else. Haven’t had that happen yet!

[QUOTE=New3M;46588]Not necessarily - the people at the airport are usually more confused than helpful when I try and use one of those for ID. The TSA folks rarely have a clue what the TWIC is, although I hear if you flash it at Logan Airport (Boston) they whisk you down the pilots only line and you cut everybody else. Haven’t had that happen yet![/QUOTE]

I am surprised the TSA workers don’t have to have it but they have their own form of Federal ID just like many others. Most federal id’s have the UV watermark and the mircochip. That is all an airport worker needs to see to give you a federal discount or a military discount. Again I have never claimed to be active military with it. If you point out that it is a TWIC instead of a “federal style id” then all you will do is confuse the TSA worker and they will just ask to see another form of ID. That happened to another fella I know that tried to check in at the ticket counter with his TWIC but he made the mistake of asking if they accepted the ID. Of course they do. It is a federal id.

I don’t hesitate to use the “expert” traveler lane at security and when traveling internationally I show my MMC and my Passport at the same time which helps. People understand that merchant seaman also travel great distances to get to and from their families.