Re: [PMMC-NLUS] Merchant Marine veterans in the news
- ----- Original Message -----From: capt.ob@...Sent: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 2:45 PMSubject: Re: [PMMC-NLUS] Merchant Marine veterans in the newsDear Brother & shipmate,
It was good to read about your experiences at sea....a couple of corrections:
1.Cam Rahn Bay instead of Cameroon Bay
2. Veterans are entitled to a FREE FLAG for their memorial, whether cremated or not.The Flag is usually presented to the widow by the branch(Navy, Army,Merchant Marine) in which the veteran served. If no widow, the daughter, son or next of kin.
Most funeral directors provide the flag, if requested, otherwise your local post office will provide the flag gratis, if proper documentation of service(DD-214) is provided.
3. I have performed some 60 Memorial services in my life...Am doing one tomorrow....buried 5 men and 2 women at sea also.
4. During WW II the Merchant Marine (usually Dept of Commerce) and the US Coast Guard (usually Dept of Treasury) were BOTH transferred to the Department of NAVY. Later, after the war , the Merchant Marine and Coast Guard WERE BOTH TRANSFERRED to the Department of Transportation. After 911 the Coast Guard was transferred to Department of Homeland Security, and will never be subordinate to the Dept of Navy again.
The Highest Military Officer that the Merchant Marine is under, is a 4 star General in the US Air Force, at Scott Air Force Base in St.Louis. This man is always Air Force and commands TRANSCOM, which includes all airplanes and ships in the private sector. Many steamship companies receive about 1 million dollars a year subsidy for each of their ships that are "on call."
The CINC (Commander in Theater, 4 star, Navy, Marine,Army or Air Force) requests transportation assets from TRANSCOM...the order for merchant ships (e.g. ammo) is forwarded to Dept of Navy, from Transcom, down the chain to MCS (Military Sealift Command) down the chain to MARAD (Maritime Administration) down to the private Steamship Co that is ordered to crew up and sail. The steamship co (e.g. APL) has the fiduciary responsibility to victual and call the hall, and be ready to sail in X number of hours.Some of these ships are RRF (Ready reserve Fleet) with a skeleton crew aboard....Some are loaded as we speak, full and down with beans, bullets and bombs, at Diego Garcia, Guam, and the Med and East Coast.
I have visited Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. One of the largest ammo stores in the world, and the longest airplane runway in the world.I have served as Chief Mate in several reserve ships.....In the Deck Dept. there is Only a Chief Mate, Bosn and one Ordinary Seaman are in these ship on standby.
Hope this is enlightening and interesting.
Captain K.C. O'Brien, USMM (Ret)Life Alum, Naval War College
- Phelps: I note an inaccuracy in K.C. OBrien's piece. By definiton the Merchant Marine is not a unit or service, but a business and therefore not transferable. Some have referred to it as the "merchant service." Control and wartime,/emergency acquisiton is feasible. The M.M. is not an academic or has any heraldry signifiance, but has been a popular, but as yet not recognized, indicator of Master Mariner. Refer" A CAPTAIN BY ANY OTHER NAME" Vox Oceanus, Pacific Maritime Magazine July 2008.JGD
- The Merchant Marine represents the civilian shipping flying that country's flag.
I repeat: In time of war, the US Merchant Marine (American flag vessels) are under the Department of Navy, which answers to TRANSCOM at Scott Air Force Base.If one sails in an American Flag Merchant Vessel, he or she is an American Merchant Mariner, sailing in the United States Merchant Marine.
The United States Maritime Service, or USMS is under MARAD. Officers like Adms. Tom Patterson, George Jahn,and Frank X. Johnston received their Commissions from this Enity. I have several United States Maritime Service Commissions in my office beside me that I would be willing to share with anyone one disputes this. They state that the Merchant Marine Officer named is hereby commissioned a Lt. Cdr in the US Maritime Service.
Reference: United States Naval War College.
Captain K.C. O'Brien, United States Merchant Marine(ret MMP)