Phelps, I served in the Pacific Coast District, then Western Region of Maritime Administration from 1962 to 1982. From 1969 until 1982, I was Western Region
Message 1 of 1
, Apr 9, 2008
I served in the Pacific Coast District,
then Western Region of Maritime Administration from 1962 to 1982.
From 1969 until 1982, I was Western Region Director. We carried out the
Merchant Marine Act of 1970 authorized by President Nixon and drafted by
Andrew E. Gibson, Maritime Administrator with a full input of the Western
Region. We worked closely with Commander Naval Surface Forces Pacific in
carrying out our unified seapower program in the categories of operations,
communications, training, and ship repair. Seagoing Masters and
Commanding Officers were riding on each others ships. I also served as
President of the Navy League, Port of the Golden Gate with 600 members and
President of the Port of the Golden Gate Propeller Club. I served as
Executive Director of the Federal Executive Board consisting of sixty-six
government agencies, both civilian and military. President Nixon was a
great Maritime oriented president. I had the pleasure to be with him in
San Diego with the Maritime Administrator. All of these programs are now
gone. There were fifteen states in the Western Region, including Alaska
and Hawaii. We had a dynamic market development program going on in each
state under the auspices of the National Maritime Council, a coalition of
government, management, labor, and the shippers of cargo. We raised the
percentage of cargo carried on board US flag vessels in foreign trade by more
than fifty percent. All of these programs were turned over to the
industry and MARAD was ordered to cease and desist. Then the subsidy
program for operating US flagships under US flags was phased out.
Presently the percentage of US flagships in international trade is miniscule
compared to foreign flag shipping calling in US ports. The present
administration is concentrating on what they call short sea shipping
(coastwise) and support of the Military Sealift Command, both of which bring
no foreign revenue into the United States. The demise of the Western
Region and our professional mariners who ran this region is another blow
to the US Flag West Coast Industry. SS Jeremiah O'Brien is a living
memorial, fully operational. The US Merchant Marine suffered one of the
highest casualty rates of World War II. One of twenty-six seamen sailing
their merchant ships made the supreme sacrifice. It is a sad memorial to
them seeing the US Merchant Marine decline in the trade routes of the
world. I am still active in supporting our US Merchant Marine and the SS
Jeremiah O'Brien. In October 2007 I travelled to France to thank their
Minister of Defense for the support they have rendered to the National Liberty
Ship Memorial and the Jeremiah O'Brien. Their Admiral, Brac de La
Perriere, head of their Normandy Memoire, together with our thirteen member
committee of French citizens have supported SS Jeremiah O'Brien fully and make
an annual visitation to the ship in SanFrancisco.
All best wishes for your continued
support of the Navy League of the United States.
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