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WW2 Merchant Marine vet finally receives medals earned.


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Me and my brothers surprised my father when we took him to see the liberty ship SS John W, Brown which is harbored at Baltimore. Previous to the visited I discovered that he never received the medals he earned while serving on other liberty ships. I made an inquiry with the Dept of Transportation's Office of Sealift Support on obtaining his medals. They forwarded the medals to us and we arranged with the volunteers on the SS John W. Brown to present them during our visit.

 

He received the American War Zone, Pacific War Zone, Mediterranean-Middle East War Zone, Merchant Marine Victory Medals, along with Merchant Marine Service and Victory pins. The Office of Sealift also personalized for him the letter President Truman wrote to all the members of the US Merchant Marine Service.

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American by birth. Light Fighter by Choice!!!!

7th Infantry Division (Light) 82-93

4/9 IR, 3/17 IR, S3 3 Bde

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Dad, my 2 brothers Pete (behind dad) and Scott (right of dad) and me (left with hat).

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American by birth. Light Fighter by Choice!!!!

7th Infantry Division (Light) 82-93

4/9 IR, 3/17 IR, S3 3 Bde

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Dad standing next to the SS john W. Brown's bell and below the US Merchant Marine Victory pin.

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American by birth. Light Fighter by Choice!!!!

7th Infantry Division (Light) 82-93

4/9 IR, 3/17 IR, S3 3 Bde

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Those are priceless pictures. Thanks for sharing.

Regards,

John

 

Yes, they are to us. Dad had no idea what so ever that he was going to get these medals. Along with my 2 brothers, Dad had 18 of the 27 members of the family. It spanned 4 generations of Geer's.

American by birth. Light Fighter by Choice!!!!

7th Infantry Division (Light) 82-93

4/9 IR, 3/17 IR, S3 3 Bde

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This is the type of thing I love to see. Thank you for taking the time to ensure that this veteran received the awards due to him.

 

Thanks Paul. I'm not sure who was happier or prouder that day, Our Dad or us. To me and my brothers it was us and not Dad. We all honored and respected him for his service during WW2 and the Korean Way (3rd ID). I think that's why the 3 of us enlisted into the Army.

American by birth. Light Fighter by Choice!!!!

7th Infantry Division (Light) 82-93

4/9 IR, 3/17 IR, S3 3 Bde

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Wow! That is a great thing you and your brothers did! I wish my grandfather would have survived long enough for me to get the awards for him that he was missing. Heck, I would have loved to have him see me in uniform...but he passed before I could come home for my first leave.

I do not profess to be a militaria expert, but I conduct as much research as I am capable of and then write about my findings.
Check out my blogs, The Veteran's Collection (general militaria) and Chevrons and Diamonds (military baseball)

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This is the type of thing I love to see. Thank you for taking the time to ensure that this veteran received the awards due to him.

 

Stories like this bring up conflicting emotions in me. It's great that this man is receiving the medals he earned for his service (so, positive emotions there) but it seems like this kind of failure, the failure to award medals earned in a timely manner, has become the norm today, at least from what I've seen in the Navy. I don't even know how to go about getting an issued campaign/service medal as an active duty service member. Nowadays you're lucky if you even get the medal entered into your record so you can at least wear the thing without having to worry about someone pulling a stolen valor claim on you somewhere down the line.

 

I've been fortunate to receive an initial award of all my decorations to date, but have had to buy all my campaign/service medals and ribbons. I just bought my first Iraq Campaign Medal yesterday because I wanted to see what one looked like up close. I redeployed from there back in August of 2011.

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Sorry to hear that ASL. I'm surprised that active duty personal do not receive their medals on a timely manner or forced to buy them so they can have them to wear. Thank you for your service.

American by birth. Light Fighter by Choice!!!!

7th Infantry Division (Light) 82-93

4/9 IR, 3/17 IR, S3 3 Bde

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Seems the system of posthumously awarding the Purple Heart has changed. Records reveal substantial numbers of WWII Merchant Marine veterans were awarded the medal. Today, the next of kin has attempted to have a deceased brother be posthumously awarded the Purple Heart for losing his life in combat off the east coast.

 

Ref: "I spoke with Pat Thomas of the Maritime Administration regarding the Purple Heart for MMs and she tells me she has no authority to provide a mariner with such a medal and knows of no instruction that supports same. Yet she leaves the door open if other agencies wish to pursue that approach upon a request from a qualified mariner sent to one of the other branches of service. I haven’t had the opportunity to really pursue the P/H medal as I have spent all my time trying to get these WW II Coastwise Mariners recognized for their services."

 

Who has the authority to award the Purple Heart to a WWII Merchant Marine veteran?

 

Robert

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Robert,

 

Not sure if this information will help, but try contacting the US Merchant Marine Organization link: http://www.usmm.org/ also you have the American Merchant Marine Veterans link: http://www.ammv.info/

 

The first link also has pages addressing about obtaining records etc.

 

Hope this helps.

American by birth. Light Fighter by Choice!!!!

7th Infantry Division (Light) 82-93

4/9 IR, 3/17 IR, S3 3 Bde

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