Archive for March, 2019

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Call Them Mariners

March 10, 2019

I recently posted an article on a Mariner spouse page. Call Them ‘Mariners’

I posted it for a couple of reasons… I’m big on education and if the spouse don’t use the correct terms and history… Well, that’s a pet peeve of mine.

It’s been received well. One person did ask what were the veteran benefits. I answered “Veteran status means getting recognition and benefits like medical care from the VA. So many WWII Mariners died before getting veteran status. Interestingly, it was the newly formed Air Force that opposed Mariners getting veteran status. They weren’t even their own separate branch from the Army in WWII. 😒”

One member asked me why I was singling out the Air Force… She posted the legislation as “interesting reading.” It is a very lengthy PDF from the Congressional Record. 2017 legislation does fix some oversights and errors. It’s a shame that most WWII Mariners are now dead.

My reply was “Yes, it was the Secretary in particular.”

I was then asked why I was dissing the Secretary of the Air Force because he was acting on advice of the Civilian/Military Review Board. I find it particularly interesting that that she mentioned civilian influence.

I replied with my go-to source that I have used for over two decades. The United States Merchant Marine organization’s position. My detractor sees this source as merely an OpEd piece.

Honestly, I don’t care who is responsible, it’s a shame. Look, I support our military and I am a proud Patriot. But how can someone connected to this industry not want equal recognition and benefits for those who served and also gave the ultimate sacrifice? Vet status given to those who flunked out of military training?? Vet status to dieticians and clerks before a branch of service that list 7,000 men?? And arbitrarily saying vet status was only good up to a YEAR before the official end of the war?? (2017 legislation appears to have fixed this.)

The USMM is older than the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. Certainly older than the Air Force.

During my short time at Sea Power Magazine, I met former military who didn’t know the USMM actually has combat medals. I don’t know how many years the Almanac of Seapower had been published before I asked where were the Mariner medals? No one in the office knew that the United States Merchant Marine Academy is the only federal service academy to send it’s cadets, midshipmen, or airmen into EVERY war and military action. Including Desert Shield/Desert Storm. NONE of the other four took part in that conflict. No one in the office knew that USMMA was the only federal service academy NOT invited to the celebration parade!

I remember being asked to get a picture of a Mariner officer at work so I pulled a picture of the Chief off my cubicle wall and the Senior Editor said, “No I need an officer (in uniform).” My Chief was in jeans and a t-shirt so response was, “My husband is an officer and that is his uniform.”

We aren’t often include in Memorial Day services and Veterans Day services. I met the Merchant Mariner who fought to make sure the USMM medallion was included as part of the World War II Memorial. I met men who had accomplished the 1988 legislation and were still trying to vet status for those who served between 1945 and the end of WWII in 1946, Korea, and Vietnam.

I got tired of hearing that if I took my children out of school to celebrate the one holiday that honors past and present Mariners (Maritime Day–a NATIONAL holiday on May 22nd) it would be considered an unexcused absence.

It’s been 13 hours since I posted my link. I’m assuming the other spouse has Air Force ties. Where I live I know people from every branch of military service. I am not knocking them. I am grateful for their service and sacrifice. And I agree their benefits are grossly inadequate and veteran affairs and medical care needs such an overhaul.

And yet I also know that despite our “civilian pay” and benefits, our Mariners and families make sacrifices too. Currently, no my Mariner has not gone into a war zone but given the fact the Chief is “deployed” 5-7 months a year EVERY year for the past 27 and we don’t have Exchange benefits, support groups, housing, etc…, That if he were ever sent into a war zone I would hope he would be honored with veteran status.

Getting off my soap box now.

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