Alternative Methods of Recognition for veteran Status to Merchant Marine Seamen of WWII

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Petition For: Alternative Methods of Recognition for Veterans Status to Merchant Marine Seamen of WWII
TO: Congressman Bob Filner, Chairman House Veterans Affairs Committee; Senator Daniel K. Akaka, Chairman, Senate Veteran Affairs Committee
Please accept this petition asking members of Congress to adopt the included proposal (Alternative Methods of Recognition for Veterans Status to Merchant Marine Seamen of WW II) and place it into law.
This proposal will provide recognition to some 10,000 seamen that have not been able to gain recognition or have already been denied their recognition as veterans because of actions taken by government agencies before Public Laws 95-202 and 105-368 were placed into law.
Expedient approval is a necessity, with the average age of the US veteran to be in the mid 80s and declining at a rate of 850 per year or 2.5 daily.
The USCG reference paper #77 of April 199- defines acceptable forms of documentation to be (a) Certificates of Discharge (Forms 718A) (b) Continuous Discharge Books and (c) Company letters showing vessel names and voyages.
(1) The masters of tugs, towboats and seagoing barges were relieved of the requirement of submitting reports of seamen shipped or discharged on Form 718(A) by the Commandants Order 20 March, 1944. (Reference Commandant, USCG ltr of 29 Sep, 1949, MVP subj: Barge Charles J. Hooper; foundering of on 7 November, 1948
(2) USCG reference paper #77 of April, 199- , page 3, states After World War II, however, the deck and engine logbook of vessels (continuous discharge books) operated by the War Shipping Administration were turned over to that agency by the ship owners, and were destroyed during the 1970s.
(3) Companies have been out of business, with records lost to history, since mid 1950s. Also, during the World War II, strict orders were given to specifically refrain from producing paperwork and even the discussion of ship movements were strictly forbidden. Remember Loose Lips Sink Ships? This makes producing company letters with trip information highly unlikely
Under 112 Statute 3336 P.L. 105-368 of 11 Nov. 1998 sub section 11202. Qualified service, there is no specific identification of acceptable forms of documentation.
This proposal presented below, will allow for alternative methods of documentation suitable for identification of services and allowing benefits to those remaining seamen on those coastwise tugs, towboats and seagoing barges that are now being denied services because records are "not available to prove acceptable service".

Committee: ____________________ Principal Author: ___________________________

Bill No: __________ Delegation: _______________________________

Title: Alternative Methods of Recognition for Veteran Status to Merchant Marine Seamen of WW II
Be It Enacted by the one hundred & eleventh Congress of the United States
1. Preamble: Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of
2. America in congress assembled; Public Law 95-202 & 105-368 provided veteran status for members
3. of the U.S Merchant Marine who served during WW II between 07 Dec, 1941 and 31 Dec, 1946 and
4. who were able to prove their service. Various actions by governmental personnel have destroyed or
5. caused these documents to be unavailable. These actions prohibit merchant marine veterans of
6. WW II from receiving the recognition and benefits of veterans status provided by these laws.
7. Alternative methods to prove service are required, as just compensation, for records lost by
8. government actions.

9. SECTION 1: Records held by the Social Security Administration that denote dates, wages earned and
10. companies employed shall be utilized when USCG forms 718 (any date) or other official data such
11. as ships logbook, etc, are not available.

12. SECTION 2: Validated testimony from the veteran or primary next of kin as to employment shall be 13. allowed to determine eligibility; and

14. SECTION 3: Other official documentation offered by the veteran, shall constitute replacement of
15. records that were destroyed or from other actions causing the required records to be unavailable
16. that were committed by those responsible for the control and maintenance of veteran records.

17. SECTION 4: For the timeframe between 07 December, 1941 and 31 December, 1946, masters of
18. seagoing vessels shall be recognized as agents of the United States authorized to document
19. crew members as it applies to the shipping and discharge of seaman for purposes of employment.

20. SECTION 5: These replacements records shall satisfy all requirements for eligibility of service during
21. the required timeframe 07 December, 1941 and 31 December, 1946.

22. SECTION 6: This bill will go into effect 91 days after passage.