Admiral E. S. Land makes plea for mariners to stay at sea


To All Officers and Seamen of the Merchant Marine:
The war is over! Victory has been won! A good share of the credit is due you and thousands of other seamen who have maintained the steady stream of supplies to our fighting men all over the world. The American people and the whole world are aware of the great contribution to our victory made by the men of the merchant marine.

The fighting is over but the job of the merchant marine is not finished. Our fighting men must be brought home as quickly as possible. Supplies for them and for the occupation forces must continue uninterrupted. Relief supplies in large volume must be carried to the destitute of Europe and finally the stream of a much greater postwar American commerce must begin to flow at once.

The American merchant marine needs your continued service. Let us all stay on the job.

Sincerely yours,
E. S. LAND, Administrator


WASHINGTON, D. C -- An urgent plea voiced by military leaders, Government officials, union leaders, and shipping executives for seamen to remain at sea during the months of December, January, and February was voiced this week throughout the Nation.

Recruiting programs planned to furnish the men needed for vessels carrying supplies during the critical holiday periods on our battlefronts were begun in every one of the 48 States.

Typical of the pleas made to seamen who may be returning during the month of November were the messages of a number of leading labor unions.

The request to stay at sea during this critical period was put squarely up to the experienced men on the basis of patriotic need. Military leaders, relying on merchant vessels to deliver the supplies during the months when the fortunes of battle shift overnight and jump from one theater of action to another measured in distances of hundreds of miles, were emphatic that no vessel be delayed.

One Government official declared that failure of one ship to sail to a scheduled rendezvous might be responsible for the sacrifice of a thousand lives.

Minimum estimates on the number of men needed in addition to those serving aboard vessels ranged from 45,000 to 60,000. Monthly needs for experienced men average about 5,000.

Most critical shortage is for engineers, mates, and able seamen. Time appeal to men now working at short jobs pointed out five important reasons why these men should ship out. These reasons were ­

1. Nothing can replace actual experience aboard a vessel.
2. Four new ships are sliding down the ways every day. Experienced men are needed for these new vessels.
3. Seamen are earning good wages and are protected by law in their shore jobs when they return from sea.
4. Opportunities for advancement were never better. Able seamen have been able to go from A. B's to masters in 3 years.
5. America needs these experienced seamen to supply the soldiers in the trenches and foxholes. it is a patriotic duty which cannot be ignored.

Indicative of the urgency of the manpower situation is the statement made by War Shipping Administration's Recruitment and Manning Organization for seamen with experience to wire collect to United States Merchant Marine, Washington, D. C.; see any local United States Employment Service office; consult any maritime union, or any port office of recruitment and manning organization.

[Submitted by Wayne Paschal to: U.S. House: Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries, Hearings, 79th Congress, J61 M5, 79th, v.2, USGPO, Washington, 1946]

Merchant Seamen's War Service Act

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