American Merchant Marine Veterans
SS Stephen Hopkins Chapter 
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Blogs by A.J. Wichita

Merchant Mariners still fighting … but this time it’s “friendlies”

Written by A.J. Wichita, LT USN (Vet)

The War Shipping Administration (WSA) was commissioned to supply our troops and those of our Allies. U.S. ships were on the open seas daily being attacked and sunk by the enemy. Loaded ships in port were missing critical sailing dates because they did not have enough seamen to operate. Armies can’t fight without munitions and supplies. It was up to the WSA to solve the problem – draft-aged men had been taken by the armed services; retired seamen and those that went to shore-side jobs were already in service. New approaches and drastic measures had to be developed. Delayed sailings put our troops at risk. One effort had some Navy recruiting stations telling volunteers their quotas were full but check with the Merchant Marine recruiters, “if you want to go to sea and serve your country.”  ... to read the full article, please open the PDF below.

 
2-10_NAUS.pdf
 

“The officers and men of the Merchant Marine, by their devotion to duty in the face of enemy action, ‘have brought us the tools to finish the job. Their contribution to final victory will be long remembered.” Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, National Maritime Day, 1945



What is meant by "crossing the bar?"
"Crossing the bar" refers to the death of a mariner. The phrase has its origin in the fact that most rivers and bays develop a sandbar across their entrances, and "crossing the bar" meant leaving the safety of the harbor for the unknown. 
"Crossing the bar" a poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson