Thursday, December 4, 2014

WW II COASTWISE MERCHANT MARINERS TORPEDOED BY CONGRESS


My fellow Mariners we just got the word that all effort to have some 30,000 coastwise mariners from WWII gain recognition as veterans has been torpedoed and we have lost the battle.  Our own congress did what the enemy couldn't do to our mariners.  They turned their back on their own and put us up on the beach.  They also did this behind closed doors and via staff procedures vice on the Senate/House floor for all to see.

What can be said about those that stand up for our country when they were needed; only to be keelhauled by those that purport to support them?  What can be said about those that use the veteran platform, with all types of promises on their journey to congress, only to cut them adrift when they launch their career?  What can be said of those who use misinformation to state their reason to not support them and use the same info to sink it when it does have a chance to make it out of congress?  What can be said when they destroy the chance of some 30,000 mariners to gain recognition as veterans at no cost to our government?

This just happened to our Congressional bill, “WW II Merchant Mariners Service Act” that was amended into the House National Defense Authorization Act and a proposed Senate amendment to the Senate National Defense Authorization Act.  Both were set for review; and through this backdoor staff committee of individuals from both Veterans’ Affairs Committees.

Information received indicates that some staff members of the committee objected to the language contained in the bill and decided against it.  Perhaps that may have been the language that described the necessity to use alternative methods of recognition to assist these mariners to obtain their due recognition as veterans.  Or the Language to replace documents that were destroyed/denied by predecessors of the Agencies these staffers represent. Perhaps it was the language that would have provided information that would have identified that some assertions made by Senate members may have been in fact misinformation that was used to put us on the beach.


Some 30 thousand mariners and the many tens of thousands of their descendants will not find closure for their loved ones that our Congress had in their hands to make available but failed to deliver. This travesty will not even make the history books and will be lost to oblivion as these mariners seemed to be.  A shame I hope many will know,bare and remember.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Final Attempt to Obtain Support WW II Merchant Mariners Service Act, Same letter sent to all US Senators

WW II Coastwise Merchant Mariners
J. Don Horton, President                                                                                                                          104 Riverview Ave,                        252 336 5553                                                                                                                                              Camden, NC 27921
jdonhorton@embarqmail.com                                                                                                                                                                                www.usmmv.blogspot.com
http://www.usmm.org/images4/flag.gif
The Honorable Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY                                                              25 Nov. 2014
Member of the US Senate
478 Russell SOB, Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Gillibrand,

The 113th Congress is closing very soon and a very important issue is still hanging in the balance.  The vast majority of our veterans of the WW II Merchant Marine still lack their due recognition as veterans, including those that gave their lives for our country.  The court ruling via Schumacher, Willner, et al, V. Secretar  of the Air Force Edward C. Aldridge, Jr 665 F supp 41 1987 provided veteran status to our Mariners, providing they could prove service.

The US Coast Guard (USCG) cannot provide accurate numbers as to how many mariners served during WW II IAW GAO/HEHS-97-196R findings. The USCG states as many as 840,000 credentials were issued to seafarers during 1939-1946 but are unable to state how many served in combat zones.  Historians have settled on about 250,000 serving in combat zones.  The National Maritime Center (NMC) states only about 91,000 have received their due veteran recognition.  Official USCG records identify more than 5650 mariners having been KIA/MIA during WW II yet the NMC state only about 414 have been recognized as veterans.  New York lost the most mariners of any state with the greatest majority still not recognized.

Anyone who honorably served our nation has a right to be recognized for their service.  This has been recognized and so stated by just about everyone who served our nation as a member of our Congress.  We believe you share this sentiment.

When Congress convenes next month, they should address our National Defense Authorization (NDAA) Bills.  There are provisions already in the HR 4435 and an Amendment (SA 3548) for inclusion in S 2410 of the Senate representing WW II Merchant Mariners Service Act that will allow for alternative methods of recognition. These alternative methods of recognition will supplement Government actions that removed some of the required documents from the reach of our veterans. These bills have been scored by CBO as DeMinimis so costs are not an issue.

Accordingly the WW II Coastwise Merchant Mariners respectfully request your support in getting these bills to the floor and incorporated into the prevailing NDAA. We represent some 30,000 mariners and the many thousands of descendants from 3 and 4 generations of seafarers who are looking for closure to a travesty ongoing for more than 70 years. I come from a family of 6 who served.  Will you help us?  We stand by anxiously awaiting your response and intent.

Very Respectfully,                                                                           Fax: 202 208 0282                                                                                                                                                                                           J. Don Horton

Saturday, November 15, 2014

WW II MERCHANT MARINERS STILL BEING TORPEDOED BUT NOT BY THE ENEMY

Battle Stations.... WW II Coastwise Merchant Mariners.... We are under attack!!!

Excerpt from the Fleet Reserve Association (FRA) email sent to all FHA Members on 14 Nov, 2014 @ 10:11 AM

“Lame Ducks Work on NDAA.
Although voters selected a new Congress, the current (Lame Duck) Congress still holds office until January 2015. The current Senate is considering derailing floor amendments and a final vote on the Senate National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA-S. 2410) and will go with a separate Defense Authorization bill that has been worked on behind closed doors with staff and select members of House and Senate Armed Services Committees. This still unnumbered bill will be delayed until December and will have to be put on the fast-track without any committee or subcommittee hearings. This mystery bill will only have time to get an up or down vote in the House and Senate without any opportunity for amendments.”


If this be the case, this move in affect will torpedo all hopes of getting the WW II Coastwise Merchant Mariners recognized for their services.  With less than 1000 still on-board, there is little chance of ever getting them recognized via congressional efforts.  As with many veteran bills, most in congress have little incentive to step up and stay the course when General Quarters are sounded and all hands turn to. Some simply move below decks away from the action or tire of the effort and move on to something more suitable and favorable to them. A sad commentary for those mariners who stood up for us when called upon.  For more history of these gallant seafarers please visit... www.usmmv.blogspot.com

Friday, November 14, 2014

Request for co sponsorship of Of Senate Amendment SA 3548 to the NDAA bill in the Senate, sent to all US Senators

WW II Coastwise Merchant Mariners
J. Don Horton, President                                                             252 336 5553                                      104 Riverview Ave, Camden, NC 27921
jdonhorton@embarqmail.com                                                                                                                                                                               www.usmmv.blogspot.com
http://www.usmm.org/images4/flag.gif
The Honorable Elizabeth Warren, D-MA                                                                         07 Nov, 2014  
Member of the US Senate
218 Russell SOB, Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Warren,

Senator Chris Murphy, D-CT has introduced an amendment (SA 3548) to S 2410, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2015 and needs cosponsor to support this most historic issue.    We must garner the necessary support for this bill or it may be lost to history and we would again have let some veterans down after they stepped up and offered all for this country so that we may enjoy the freedom we have today.   As you know this bipartisan bill was scored by CBO as DeMinimis and should offer no resistance if allowed to proceed when Congress convenes later this month

This amendment would allow alternative documentation be used to support some World War II Merchant Mariners in their quest to obtain veteran status under current laws.  Due to lost and/or denied documentation some of our mariners cannot prove service without additional avenues.   The use of other non-military documents is necessary to prove service.  Specifics will be sent to your staff.

Several actions by our government have put the status of veteran out of reach and without expanding current requirements, allowing other non-military documentation, these veterans will not achieve what has been promised to those who stepped up and served our nation when it was most needed.

In addition to the issues of destroyed/denied documentation, many of these mariners consisted of elderly handicapped, school children and women who stepped up and answered the call to duty.  Often they worked alongside credentialed seamen and performed the same duties. They drew the same wages and paid the same taxes.  They also experienced the same conditions and dangers from the dreaded submarines as their brother seamen.  The only difference was they served without the proper credentials due to the disability, age or gender.  Today this is called discrimination. They contributed greatly to war II.

Senator, we need your help to correct this travesty by setting the record straight and get the few remaining veterans or their families their due recognition?  Soon the S. 2410, National Defense Authorization Act, will be brought to the floor for debate and further action.  Therefore, the WW II Coastwise Merchant Mariners respectfully request your support as cosponsor to Senator Murphy’s amendment allowing alternative non-military documentation to prove service as veterans for some WW II coastwise mariners be included in the NDAA.   Thank you for all you do in the US Senate in support our veterans.  Please confirm receipt of this letter and offer your intent.   Happy Veteran’s Day, Senator.

Very Respectfully,                                                                                                                               Fax:  202 228 2072
J. Don Horton

Letter sent to all US Senators requesting their support for Senator Murphy, D-CT Amendment to NDAA S 2410

WW II Coastwise Merchant Mariners
J. Don Horton, President                                                                                252 336 5553                                                        104 Riverview Ave, Camden, NC 27921
jdonhorton@embarqmail.com                                                                                                                                                                                                         www.usmmv.blogspot.com
http://www.usmm.org/images4/flag.gif
The Honorable Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY                                                                   28 Oct, 2014
Member of the US Senate
478 Russell SOB, Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Gillibrand,

With the 113th Congress coming to a close, the WW II Coastwise Merchant Mariners respectfully request your support of Senator Chris Murphy’s (D-CT) bi-partisan amendment, S. 1361, into S. 2410, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2015.
This amendment would allow alternative documentation be used to support some World War II Merchant Mariners in their quest to obtain veteran status under current laws.  Due to lost and/or denied documentation some of our mariners cannot prove service without additional avenues.   The use of other non-military documents is necessary to prove service. The Congressional Budget Office has ruled that this amendment would be de Minimis or have minimal budgetary impact.  
Several actions by our government have put the status of veteran out of reach and without expanding current requirements, allowing other non-military documentation, these veterans will not achieve what has been promised to those who stepped up and served our nation when it was most needed.
The US Coast Guard, under Information Paper #77 of April, 1992, identifies three specific documents they allow to prove maritime service during WW II.  Two of these documents are non-military issued.  These specific documents have now been almost impossible to find due to past government actions including their destructions and denial.  They are (1) Shipping/Discharge certificates (2) non-military ships logbooks and (3) non-military company letterhead papers showing shipping information.
In addition to the issues of destroyed/denied documentation, many of these mariners consisted of elderly handicapped, school children and women who stepped up and answered the call to duty.  Often they worked alongside credentialed seamen and performed the same duties. They drew the same wages and paid the same taxes.  They also experienced the same conditions and dangers from the dreaded submarines as their brother seamen.  The only difference was they served without the proper credentials due to the disability, age or gender.  Today this is called discrimination.  These seafarers were part of a small group who manned old outdated barges and tugs that moved war materials to defense plants along enemy contested waters of our coastal ports.  They contributed greatly to war II.

Senator, will you help us correct this travesty and set the record straight and get the few remaining veterans or their families their due recognition?  Soon the S. 2410, National Defense Authorization Act, will be brought to the floor for debate and further action.  We respectfully request your support to Senator Murphy’s amendment allowing alternative non-military documentation to prove service as veterans for some WW II coastwise mariners be included in the NDAA.

Very Respectfully,                                                                                                                                 Fax: 202 208 0282

J. Don Horton

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

LAST DITCH EFFORT TO REACH OUR US SENATORS ON BEHALF OF THE WWII COASTWISE MERCHANT MARINERS

WW II Coastwise Merchant Mariners
J. Don Horton, President                                                                                252 336 5553                                                  104 Riverview Ave, Camden, NC 27921
jdonhorton@embarqmail.com                                                                                                                                      www.usmmv.blogspot.com
http://www.usmm.org/images4/flag.gif
The Honorable Richard Burr, R-NC                                                                                    28 Oct. 2014
The United States Senate
217 Russell SOB, Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Burr,

With the 113th Congress coming to a close, the WW II Coastwise Merchant Mariners respectfully request your support of Senator Chris Murphy’s (D-CT) bi-partisan amendment, S. 1361, into S. 2410, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2015.

This amendment would allow alternative documentation be used to support some World War II Merchant Mariners in their quest to obtain veteran status under current laws.  Due to lost and/or denied documentation some of our mariners cannot prove service without additional avenues.   The use of other non-military documents is necessary to prove service. The Congressional Budget Office has ruled that this amendment would be de Minimis or have minimal budgetary impact
.  
Several actions by our government have put the status of veteran out of reach and without expanding current requirements, allowing other non-military documentation, these veterans will not achieve what has been promised to those who stepped up and served our nation when it was most needed.

The US Coast Guard, under Information Paper #77 of April, 1992, identifies three specific documents they allow to prove maritime service during WW II.  Two of these documents are non-military issued.  These specific documents have now been almost impossible to find due to past government actions including their destructions and denial.  They are (1) Shipping/Discharge certificates (2) non-military ships logbooks and (3) non-military company letterhead papers showing shipping information.

In addition to the issues of destroyed/denied documentation, many of these mariners consisted of elderly handicapped, school children and women who stepped up and answered the call to duty.  Often they worked alongside credentialed seamen and performed the same duties. They drew the same wages and paid the same taxes.  They also experienced the same conditions and dangers from the dreaded submarines as their brother seamen.  The only difference was they served without the proper credentials due to the disability, age or gender.  Today this is called discrimination.  These seafarers were part of a small group who manned old outdated barges and tugs that moved war materials to defense plants along enemy contested waters of our coastal ports.  They contributed greatly to war II.

Senator, will you help us correct this travesty and set the record straight and get the few remaining veterans or their families their due recognition?  Soon the S. 2410, National Defense Authorization Act, will be brought to the floor for debate and further action.  

We respectfully request your support to Senator Murphy’s amendment allowing alternative non-military documentation to prove service as veterans for some WW II coastwise mariners be included in the NDAA.

Very Respectfully,                                                                                                     Fax: 202 228 2981

J. Don Horton

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Reaching out to North Carolina Senate General Assembly

Email sent to all Senators of North Carolina Delegation on 16 Aug, 2014
NO Replies to date
Dear Senator …………..,

As the 113th Congress draws to a close, we are again faced with reaching an agreement to insure that some 30,000 WW II Coastwise Merchant Mariners will finally obtain veteran status that has been out of reach for over 70 years.  History can be made by securing this recognition for these aging seafarers.

Amendments from both sides of the Congress to the National Defense Authorization Bill (NDAA) contain bills identifying recognition for the mariners.  HR 1288 and S-1361, WW II Merchant Mariners Service Act are incorporated within HR 4435 and S 2410 respectively.

As you know the WW II Merchant Marine were granted veteran status by court ruling via Schmacher, Willner, et al, V. Secretary of the Air Force, Edward C. Aldridge, Jr 665 Supp 41 (D.D.C. 1987).  Yet, many of the coastwise mariners cannot obtain their due status because of government intervention and these bills will correct this issue.  Every county in North Carolina has stepped up and offered support via one facet or another indicating that  the citizens and Representatives of North Carolina  are supportive and want our veterans to gain their due status as veterans.

These bills will for the first time ever allow some elderly handicapped, schoolchildren and women seafarers to gain their rightful status as veterans.  Specific actions of our government have prevented some of these mariners from obtaining their status.  Due to those actions, alternative methods of recognition are required to replace documents that have been destroyed, denied or not issued to some of the 30,000 coastwise mariner who manned old outdated barges and tugs that moved war material to defense plants along enemy contested waters of our coastal ports.

The WW II Coastwise Mariners respectfully request your support in making this a reality.  Our Senate will soon vote on the NDAA and we need your assistance to insure that their passage contain the specifics of HR 1288 and S 1361.  To assure this becomes a reality we respectfully request that you identify your support to Senator Burr with a request that he directs his complete attention and support toward passage of the NDAA bill complete with the WW II amendments within.

Senator Burr has not demonstrated support for the two bills (HR 1288 & S-1361) regarding WW II Merchant Mariner Service Act. He feels a legislative change would allow individuals to provide non-military records in order to receive veteran status would set an unnecessary precedent.  However, non-military records has been used by the merchant marine to demonstrate service has been in use since 1937 (see attach #3).  We believe he is relying on misinformation relating specifically to our bill. Those details are enclosed as one of the attachments and the other is an analysis of the overall situation.  Since the staff of the Senator has chosen to provide their view of the issue then, in all fairness, we should have the opportunity for rebuttal. Please review and utilize as necessary to assist in getting the true facts to the Senator.

This may be the last opportunity to assist these mariners as most have already crossed the bar and the few remaining are losing interest after 70 years of waiting with no results.  We need to make good on our promised to support our veterans and we must do this.  Can we count on you to reach out to Senator Burr and request his support in making a dream come true for a few old seamen?  Thank you for your consideration and your service to our country via the NC Delegation.

Please provide confirmation and intent.  Thank you.

Very Respectfully,
J Don Horton, veteran WW II & Korean War

J. Don Horton, President
WW II Coastwise Merchant Mariners
104 Riverview Ave, Camden, NC 27921
252 336 5553