VIDEO: Brooks Supports Passage of Bill to Honor WWII Merchant Mariners
WASHINGTON, DC – This week, the House of Representatives passed H.R.550, Merchant Mariners of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2019, a bill Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks (IN-05) co-sponsors and previously introduced. Prior to passage, Brooks provided the following remarks to encourage her colleagues to formally pay respect to all deserving veterans and recognize the countless sacrifices and contributions of the Merchant Mariners:
To watch Brooks’ remarks, click HERE.
This legislation will present the highest civilian award Congress can bestow to the Merchant Mariners who acted heroically to transport troops and provide critical supplies of war to U.S. troops by sea during World War II.
During wartime, Merchant Mariners serve as an auxiliary to the Navy and are responsible for the transoceanic transport of military and civilian personnel as well as combat equipment, fuel, food, commodities and raw materials. Risking their lives to provide the needed supplies for battle, Merchant Mariners had an estimated 9,300 casualties and bore a higher per-capita casualty rate than any other branch of the military. In total, hundreds of Mariner ships and thousands of men were lost to enemy combatants during the course of the war.
Brooks met with Merchant Mariners at the American Legion Post in Fishers in October 2014. Gene Taylor, a member of the Indiana Chapter of the U.S. Merchant Marine, served as a WWII Merchant Marine in the South Pacific from 1944-1945. Taylor trained with the U.S. Coast Guard at Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, New York and served primarily in the South Pacific during WWII.
At that time, Taylor said, “I would like for my grandchildren to realize that I fought for our freedom as well as any U.S. Service did.”