Murkowski Introduces Legislation Recognizing Unrecognized Heroes of the Greatest Generation

Bill Celebrates Achievements of WWII Merchant Mariners

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) today introduced the Merchant Marines of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act, to honor the Merchant Mariners who protected our nation during World War II. Senators Sullivan (R-AK), Cantwell (D-WA), King (I-ME), and Whitehouse (D-RI) are cosponsors of the bill.

“WWII was one of the greatest conflicts the world has ever seen. Many Americans proved their loyalty and bravery during this harrowing time, including our Merchant Mariners. Their brave service, no doubt, aided America in her ability to prevail,” said Senator Murkowski. “I’m proud that my legislation recognizes and honors the brave Merchant Mariners, the unsung heroes of WWII, who risked their lives to keep the Allied troops armed, fed, and fortified in the defense of America’s freedom.”

Representative John Garamendi (D-CA) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives with Representatives Don Young (R-AK) and Susan Brooks (R-IN) as cosponsors.

The legislation is attached.


The U.S. Merchant Marine transports soldiers and supplies for our nation’s military through commercial, non-naval ships. During WWII, the Merchant Marine provided crucial services such as transporting soldiers, tanks, airplanes, ammunition, fuel, and food rations to aid soldiers on the front lines.

It is estimated that around 8,300 Merchant Mariners died or went missing during WWII. As many as 12,000 were wounded, and more than 600 became prisoners of war. Despite their patriotic services and commitment to the United States, our WWII Merchant Marines were not awarded their veteran status until 1988, nearly 40 years after the war had ended.

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