What's your most impossible dream?

all in all though, with the governments printing and spending money based on feelings and favoritism I guess trying to be practical about saving, or where it’s spent is hot air anymore.

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Where Neptune fears to tread, and not to throw fuel on a fire, but…

What about companies like Blackwater, or Dynacorp?

Then there are commercial airline crews, the military often charters commercial aircraft to transport troops, and in Vietnam some came under fire (read Home Before Morning by Lynda Van Devanter)

You mention Civmars, but what about those of us you sail commercial, or for companies like Patriot? Before, and during the first Gulf War, I sailed with Boston Ocean Carriers, and later Glenneagle, we sailed furtehr into the Gulf than the Navy, and were under fire, yet we didn’t even qualify for the Marad Gedunk medal (Merchant Marine expeditionary medal) because we didn’t carry military cargo, this in spite of the fact that moving oil was the casus belli for the U.S. involvement.

To Steamers point explicitly, an Army cook, making SOS, next to a contractor cook, would be a veteran, while the contractor would not.

I am on record saying I think anyone who sailed a US Flagged ship beyond helicopter range should be considered a veteran… but we have to start somewhere. Where we start is supporting each other so: thank you for your service.

That is an excellent point. So is the aircrew point.

What is not a valid point is comparing them to us.

Look I would be happy to consider giving them status… but that’s not my battle to fight. It’s theirs. We have enough problems and so need to remain focused on our little corner of the world: the maritime domain. Dragging other parties into the debate is just not productive.

my impossible dream is that the US Congress recognize that these words which begin the Merchant Marine Act of 1936 remains law today and actually takes action (including appropriating the funding) to ensure a sitting Administration follows that law


To further the development and maintenance of an adequate and well-balanced American merchant marine, to promote the commerce of the United States, to aid in the national defense, to repeal certain former legislation, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


SECTION 101. It is necessary for the national defense and development of its foreign and domestic commerce that the United States shall have a merchant marine

(a) sufficient to carry its domestic water-borne commerce and a substantial portion of the water-borne export and import foreign commerce of the United States and to provide shipping service on all routes essential for maintaining the flow of such domestic and foreign water-borne commerce at all times

(b) capable of serving as a naval and military auxiliary in time of war or national emergency,

(c) owned and operated under the United States flag by citizens of the United States insofar as may be practicable, and

(d) composed of the best-equipped, safest, and most suitable types of vessels, constructed in the United States and manned with a trained and efficient citizen personnel. It is hereby declared to be the policy of the United States to foster the development and encourage the maintenance of such a merchant marine.

sadly though, I now am resigned to die without seeing this dream realized


I don’t know what you are pissed off about, I said I was playing the Devil’s advocate in my original post and have no issue with civmars receiving military benefits. And why is that cook’s service any less honorable or dangerous than a civmar who delivers uncooked food to the military port nearest the hostilities?

I think it is a crock of congressional crap that we waited until virtually all the WW2 mariners were dead before acknowledging their service. As one who sailed a Cape ship to Saudi carrying vehicles in the first Gulf War I understand what is involved and what it feels like.

You can’t intelligently argue for one thing without understanding how the opposition might argue against it. You may not like seeing it but you can’t deny the validity of both sides. Modern political posturing and mini-wars are not WW2 and the people who participate and promote them don’t necessarily act on the same principles or participate for the same reasons.

And by the way, that civilian cook at the forward operating base may have been among the Department of Labor’s list of 1,822 civilian contractors killed in Afghanistan as of March this year. Not many of us mariners were lost. I have had more spent bullets land on deck in San Francisco than the Gulf.

Recognized how? Last I heard the only thing my mom was offered a little medal and she had to ask a senator how to get that. The senator’s staff had no idea what she was talking about once they finally answered she told them to fuck off, you’re 75 years too late. He is dead.

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There is a real equity problem re: awarding benefits to USMM mariners for post-Vietnam conflicts.

I sailed in the war zone during the first Gulf War. That war lasted only a few months. Only 100 hours of ground conflict. Nevertheless, in order for a soldier to get military benefits after service they would need to serve ALL of their four years–or get injured.

There were USMM crew getting on and off the ship I was sailing on, flying stateside. No big deal, apparently. We changed crew members in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi. So “serving” was a choice. But the soldiers we met in Dammam had been in-country for months, and were going to stay there until all their rolling stock and equipment was loaded aboard our ship and others. We got back to Bayonne before a lot of them did, then signed off.

If you wanted to give USMM mariners who worked during post-Vietnam conflicts the same military benefits as servicemen, how would you apportion it? Would you give them full benefits for life because they happened to be on a ship that was in the war zone for four days, or four weeks, or four months? That’s a slap in the face of the soldier who has to go through 4 years of service, with no relief during a conflict, to get the same benefit. And if you want to apportion a lesser benefit, how do you do that?

The same logic pertains to any other conflict since Vietnam.


Specifically by saying I’m obfuscating the issue by mentioning so many points. I have researched the hell out of this topic and the evidence is overwhelming. If you don’t want to take the time to review each line I wrote objectively then find but then your confusion is on you and is not the result of obfuscation by me.

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Because this is a maritime forum. I don’t have a problem with discussing the merits of civilian cooks in combat or honoring them. I have a problem with discussing them here.

We need to focus on us because, history shows, if we don’t recognize ourselves nobody else will. Mentioning them here is besides the point.

Actually, it’s obfuscating the point.

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We start with the most obvious - Korean merchant marine war veterans who served 4 years - then we work forward to vietnam.

No problem with that. As I said in a previous post, for the wars where there was a draft, benefits for USMM mariners makes sense. IMO it is much less do-able and sensible for post-Vietnam conflicts.

To be honest, I don’t care about Recognition, I care about remembrance.

I am pushing for veteran status for merchant mariners of the later wars because without them there is no continuity. Nobody to hold the flag. And without flag bearers your father’s service will be forgotten.

Was freighteman’s service on merchant ships in the first Gulf War as brave or deserving as your dads? Probably not. But, unlike your dad, freighteman can stand up at veterans events and walk-in Veterans parades but only if he’s invited to do so.

Is the service of anyone in the first gulf war equal to that of the men on D-Day. No but seeing them march in the parade and salute the flag makes us remember d-day. That’s how it works.

Without an active legacy, your dad’s service and those of his shipmates and all that served in the Merchant Marine before him will only exist in books nobody reads.

By recognizing the young veterans of today we are remembering those that went before them. That’s all there is to this.

If you don’t want to be recognized for your service in the merchant marine… that’s fine but I think you’re being selfish because… it’s not about you… it’s about THEM.

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I’m not sure your information is correct, if I’m not mistaken the threshold for veteran’s benefits is 181 days of peacetime service, or 90 days of service during wartime (no requirement to have served in the war zone) and have discharge other than dishonorable.

I was in the military from 80-85 and I have what benefits there are,(there’s really not a lot)


I think you have totally missed the point. The politicians and military didn’t want to give WW2 mariners veteran status because they didn’t want to get into a fight over who and what industry to stop including. They would rather give our cash to defense contractors, admirals, and generals than to sailors, cooks, truck drivers, gunsmiths, and longshoremen.

The point I made and you missed is that how can you differentiate between the value added by one component over another? That cook that has you so upset contributed as much to the battle as the guy who humped the box of mortar rounds from the truck to the helicopter that delivered them to the fire base. That guy contributed just as much as the crew of the ship that delivered it from a US port to the offload port in Bumfukistan and as much as the guy who drove the truck from the ammo plant to the munitions warehouse. Where should we stop, John?

We aren’t fighting WW2, there is no draft, the nation is not and has not been in a declared war since 1945 so the old rules don’t apply. If you want to measure job value by risk of death then breakdown the stats on the 1,822 who died in Afghanistan and what job they held. Should we give veteran status to those who died while performing the deadliest job and ignore the rest? Maybe the top 3 occupations? Or should we take your lead and claim only mariners deserve recognition and let the others fight their own battles. Maybe they already did and we lost.

What exactly are you dreaming about or asking for? Are you upset that you did not get veteran status simply by virtue of being a mariner who sailed on a ship carrying military cargo? While I am disgusted that the WW2 guys were cheated out of the opportunities provided other veterans I haven’t wasted a single minute bemoaning the fact that I gained nothing from the Gulf War other than some photographs, memories, and contempt for Kuwaiti youth.

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Fuck you. Go watch my video before coming up with bullshit accusations like that. The entire title of my video is “I am not a veteran and I do NOT want veteran status”.

Let me repeat I do NOT want veteran status I do NOT want to wear that stupid merchant marine veteran hat.

I wear it sometimes because little kids see it and they ask questions and I tell them how awesome people like your dad were. And maybe then the next generation will not be so selfish and will do something for the greater good like your dad.

That’s all the fuck there is to this.

So F you

And before you make more assumptions nope that what really pisses me off is that whenever anyone take some fucking personal pride in their profession and fucking country… fellow merchant mariners come out of the fucking woodwork to tear them down.

I’m standing right here wearing a fucking hat that I don’t deserve but was given by people who do deserve it so… if you wanna tear me down and make assumptions… Drive right up here and take it off my F’n head. I dare you. I double dare you.

It don’t matter to me because it’s a win-win for me. Either I kick your ass or I don’t have to wear the stupid hat any more because you took it.

Food contractors are not in the unified chain of command as opposed to MSC or contracted merchant ships.

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I’m going to step back in here, I have a few comments I probably shouldn’t, but here goes.
I’ll start with the personal attacks on Captain Konrad are completely out of line, anyone can make a point without being disrespectful, and if your opinion of our host here is really so low, leave.

However, if you do leave, good luck finding much meaningful maritime news anywhere else, since Carl Nolte at the SF Chronicle has become semi-retired there’s not a lot of people writing about us.

I’ll will say, I don’t completely agree with captain Konrad that we become veterans the moment our ships sail out of chopper range, but that is an area for respectful conversation, and I’ll point out, that our host is likely doing pretty well, and would be unlikely to see any real personal benefit from any veteran’s benefits.

As for the point of taking pride in our industry, not only yes, but HELL YES, there wouldn’t be a U.S. without a merchant marine, to be blunt, there is no practical war plan that does not depend on the merchant marine, all other civilians listed in the above post (yes including the ones I mentioned) could simply be drafted, not so with merchant mariners, and yes, that does rate some special consideration.

Even without war, the U.S.is dependent on merchant shipping, likely we’ve all heard, and repeated “90% of everything”, which is of course true, but more than that, I’ll back up a bit here, I’ve seen thousands of memes to the effect of, “if you have it, it came on a truck”, true enough, and truck drivers are celebrated from Sonny Pruitt to about 7000 country songs, but it is not only that 90% of everything on those trucks came by ship, there wouldn’t be any trucks without ships, no fuel for those trucks, there would be no power plants, or manufacturing of any kind, I could go on, but I hope you get the point, without us, no U.S., in Peace or War, and we should take a great deal of pride in that.

So Captain wear your hat, you deserve it as much as anybody else, I fly a Merchant marine flag at my home for much the same reasons


Love that guy!