Re: [PMMC-NLUS] Merchant Marine Panel Discussion.
- 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 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.RADM Thomas J. Patterson, USMS (Ret.)----- Original Message -----Sent: Monday, April 07, 2008 11:20 PMSubject: [PMMC-NLUS] Merchant Marine Panel DiscussionDear Members and Friends,