WASHINGTON, DC – On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Heroes COLA Act (H.R. 677), which contained key provisions authored by Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01) that will simplify the process for Coastwise Merchant Seamen who served during World War II to be recognized for their service to the United States.
“For decades, many of these mariners have never been recognized for their contributions to the war effort because the documents required to prove their service have either not survived over time or never existed at all,” said Butterfield. “The U.S. House of Representatives did the right thing and took the first step needed to honor these brave mariners while they are still with us by passing this important bill.”
Last year, Butterfield introduced the World War II Merchant Mariner Service Act (H.R. 1288). The bill seeks to expand the types of documentation that can be used to prove service in the Merchant Marine during World War II. Butterfield has long been a champion in the effort to recognize these mariners for their service and tremendous sacrifices on behalf of the United States.
H.R. 677, which included Butterfield’s provisions, now heads to the United States Senate where it will have to be passed and then signed by the President before it becomes law.
“As each day passes, this issue grows more acute due to the advanced age of these mariners,” said Butterfield. “We must make it possible for these great Americans to receive their due recognition while we still have the chance.”
Had these ships not been produced, the war would have been in all likelihood prolonged many months, if not years. Some argue the Allies would have lost as there would not have existed the means to carry the personnel, supplies, and equipment needed by the combined Allies to defeat the Axis powers. [It took 7 to 15 tons of supplies to support one soldier for one year.] The U.S. wartime merchant fleet. . . constituted one of the most significant contributions made by any nation to the eventual winning of the Second World War – http://www.usmm.org/ww2.html