President Franklin Delano Roosevelt Fireside Chat, October 12, 1942 [Excerpt] "Ships and Shipping"

The United States has been at war for only ten months, and is engaged in the enormous task of multiplying its armed forces many times. We are by no means at full production level yet. But I could not help asking myself on the trip, where would we be today if the Government of the United States had not begun to build many of its factories for this huge increase more than two years ago -- more than a year before war was forced upon us at Pearl Harbor.

We have also had to face the problem of shipping. Ships in every part of the world continue to be sunk by enemy action. But the total tonnage of ships coming out of American, Canadian, and British shipyards, day by day, has increased so fast that we are getting ahead of our enemies in the bitter battle of transportation.

In expanding our shipping, we have had to enlist many thousands of men for our merchant marine. These men are serving magnificently. They are risking their lives every hour so that guns and tanks and planes and ammunition and food may be carried to the heroic defenders of Stalingrad and to all the United Nations' forces all over the world.

A few days ago I awarded the first Maritime Distinguished Service Medal to a young man -- Edward F. Cheney of Yeadon, Pennsylvania -- who had shown great gallantry in rescuing his comrades from the oily waters of the sea after their ship had been torpedoed. There will be many more such acts of bravery.

Source: Public Papers of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Volume II

President Roosevelt Speeches and Statements

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