Remaining WWII Merchant Marine Veterans and Their Families Still Not Compensated by Republican Controlled U.S. Congress for Their Service and Sacrifice During Last World War Congressman Buyer, Chair of House Committee on Veterans Affairs,

Intentionally Blocking Full Committee Vote on Proposed Bill to Compensate

Thousands of WWII Merchant Marine Veterans That Never Received G.I. Bill of

Rights



    WASHINGTON, Nov. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- The Just Compensation Committee, a
 non- profit unincorporated committee of Veterans representing the interests
 of World War II Merchant Marine veterans, announced today that Congressman
 Buyer (R-IN) is withholding a full committee vote on H.R. 23
 (http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d109:HR00023:), a proposed bill
 that would compensate remaining World War II Merchant Marine veterans that
 were denied the G.I. Bill of Rights that the other military services
 received following the conclusion of World War II. H.R. 23 has been
 awaiting a full- committee vote for the past several months, but has been
 road blocked by Congressman Buyer for political purposes. Currently, H.R.
 23 has 267 co- sponsors and is allocating $1,000 a month for remaining
 Merchant Marine veterans and their widows.
     "The Merchant Mariners of World War II sacrificed their lives in order
 for troops, ammunition, gasoline, military equipment and supplies to reach
 the war front overseas, and to still prevent these remaining veterans from
 being compensated for their service in the name of politics by Chairman
 Buyers is devastating," said Ian Allison, co-chair of the Just Compensation
 Committee.
     "It's not only wrong but also unethical to spend billions of dollars on
 the Iraq War and still refuse a committee vote for thousands of World War
 II veterans from an entire auxiliary service that have been trying for over
 60 years to gain some compensation for the G.I. Bill of Rights they were
 denied. How you treat your veterans from yesteryears is a good indication
 on how you plan to treat veterans from today's wars."
     As of October 2006, H.R. 23 has collected 267 co-signers while the
 Senate companion bill S. 1272
 (http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d109:s.01272:) has collected 41
 co-signers.
     Merchant Mariners' Participation During World War II
     WWII Merchant Marine veterans were responsible for piloting slow moving
 cargo vessels, known as Liberty Ships, which transported the supplies
 necessary to win the War. Their acts of heroism delivering oil, gasoline,
 ammunitions, food, water, troops and military equipment across the seven
 seas, resulted in the highest casualty rate compared to the U.S. Military
 branches during WWII. One of out every twenty-six (26) Merchant Mariner was
 killed during the War. They were also the only auxiliary service under the
 U.S. War Department to accept volunteer civilians with handicaps and
 missing limbs, and had the highest concentration of minorities. Moreover,
 Merchant Marine officers, which, trained at their own federal service
 academy known as the Merchant Marine Academy, were the only federal academy
 cadets to train off base unlike other federal service academies that
 prohibited their cadets from training off base during World War II.
     Why World War II Merchant Mariners Were Denied G.I. Bill of Rights
     Unlike the traditional military services whose servicemen received the
 G.I. Bill of Rights, Merchant Mariners were volunteer civilians who were
 paid by Maritime companies to operate U.S. Government "Liberty Ships" on
 behalf of the U.S. War Department. As a result of the Merchant Mariners
 civilian status, they were denied the G.I. Bill of Rights and veteran
 status by Congress following the conclusion of World War II. However,
 Merchant Mariners' were still ordered to boot camp just like their
 counterparts in the military, and their officers trained at a federal
 service academy. As a result of being denied veteran status, World War II
 Merchant Marine veterans were treated like second class citizens when
 returning home from the war. Their non-veteran status meant they had to
 wait to return home until veterans were sent home first, and were passed
 over for post-War jobs that were preferentially given to veterans. Since
 Merchant Mariners were classified as non-veterans, they were denied the
 G.I. Bill of Rights, which meant further hardships for Merchant Mariners
 when they returned home from World War II. The G.I. Bill of Rights provided
 among other things, college tuition assistance, competitive loans and
 rates, insurance, etc.
     About Just Compensation Committee
     The committee is a non-profit unincorporated committee of Veterans
 registered with the Internal Revenue Service as the Just Compensation
 Committee. The committee has been fighting for World War II Merchant
 Mariners rights for the past several years and is co-chaired by Ian
 Allison.
 
 

SOURCE Just Compensation Committee

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