Newspaper Archive of
The Billings County Pioneer
Beach, North Dakota
May 17, 1945     The Billings County Pioneer
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May 17, 1945

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THE BILLINGS COUI 'Y PIONEER I I I II i III On May 22 We Celebrate Nalional Haritim, Day To Honor the Hen of Our Merchant Harine and Their Great Contribution to Winning the ,War OUR MERCHANT SHIPS DELIVER THE GOODS U.S.S.R. AImAo i y ' CANADA U. S S.R. CHINA U.$ AFRICA 8 4#i$ ~trelh~ Tetrit~y ComBo.s, re F/c. f W ~" ~ lncfu l~g L~d Lees# C#r o#s. Width of flow lines on this map indicates relative density of outbound traffic in the various services, but the Hnes do not represent actual ship routes.--(U. S. Maritime Commission Photo.) By ELMO SCOTT WATSON Released by Western Newspaper Union. FOR the last 12 years we have celebrated National Maritime Day annually on May 22 but never before has the day had more significance than it has this year. With Germany con- quered and the United Nations ready to give Japan the knock- out punch, we can now see the dawn of peace not far ahead. And when the final history of World War II is written, high on the list of those who contributed most to victory will be writ- ten the names of the men of United States merchant marine. For it was they, the seamen of our peacetime merchant marine, augmented by more than 190,000 landlubbers-- former grocery clerks, shoe salesmen, office clerks, truck drivers, etc.---who VOLUN- TEERED for duty with the United States maritime serv- ice, manned more than 4,000 ships in our Victory Fleet and, as "partners in every inva- sion and source of supply for every attack," they delivered the supplies for 10,000,000 men overseas which made those invasions and attacks pos- sible. That is why National Maritime Day has a special meaning this year and why all Americans will be proud to heed the proclamation of the President of the United States, dis- play their flags on May 22 and with special programs honor the war- cargo-carrying seamen of our mer- chant marine. When the Japs made their sneak attack at Pearl Harbor and imme- diately afterwards Germany de- clared war on the United States, the Berlin-Tokyo Axis felt reasonably certain that they could win the war before ~ncle Sam could muster his full strength to save England and Russia from defeat, much less go over to the offensive from the de- fensive. To make the weight of his armed might felt, Uncle Sam must have ships, more ships and stilI more ships in order to transport his fighting men to the battle fronts. Never did the enemy dream that Uncle Sam could raise his cargo tonnage from 11,000,000 deadweight tons to 45,000,000 tons in three years nor train the men to sail this giant fleet. Never did they dream that he could ship war materials at the rate of 8,000 tons an hour, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. And yet that is exactly what Uncle Sam has done ---Uncle Sam and his sons in the merchant marine. Here, in brief, is how the giant task was accom- plished: The merchant marine act, creat- ing the maritime commission, was passed by congress in 1936 when the threat of war in Europe was "a cloud on the horizon, no larger than a man's hand." In 1939 the firs~ of a modern fleet of cargo ships was delivered, and when 1940 endec 46 of these were at work, delivering the lend-lease shipments which were helping keep our future Allies in the fight. By the time of Pearl Harbor 50 more had been added and shortly afterward the first Liberty ship was delivered for war service. Early the next year the President directed the commission to build 8,000,000 deadweight tons during 1942. That goal was exceeded. Then the accel- eration of shipbuilding really began. Sixteen million tons was the mark set for 1943. More than 19,000,000 tons were delivered. By the time we were back in the Philippines more than 4,000 cargo ships built in the wartime period in United States shipyards were at work for the United Nations. But providing vesseIs for carrying supplies was not Uncle Sam's only achievement as the No. 1 shipbuild- er of the world. With 4,000 cargo ships under the war shipping admin- istration and the antisubmarine campaign of the American and Brit- ish navy steadily cutting down the loss of shipping by U-boat attack, the maritime commission was able to turn its facilities more to con- struction of military types of craft. In the specialized island warfare against the Japanese the joint chiefs of staff found need for new kinds of vessels. So, with the cooperation of the maritime commission, the United States navy developed a spe- cial type of combat cargo and com- bat transport ship for fighting in the Pacific. These types were built on the com- mission's Victory or C-type hulls. The Victory ship, a modern coun- terpart of the Liberty, but turbine- propelled and 56 per cent faster than the earlier model, has replaced the' Liberty construction in some yards. than 360 of the new models natural facilities destroyed by the Germans and gave the Allies the choice of landing beaches. Such, in brief, is the story of Uncle Sam's achievement in provid- ing the "bridge of ships" over which has passed and still is passing his armed might to help win the final victory over the forces of evil that would enslave the world. But this is only a part of the story. Millions of tons of ships may be built but they are useless unless there are men to sail them. How were these men provided? Every cargo vessel that comes into service requires 40 to 80 men for its crew. The War Shipping 'administration, charged with train- ing and recruiting seamen, has ex- panded the merchant marine cadet corps for the training of ships' of. fleers, the maritime service for training and upgrading seamen and the recruitment and manning organ- ization for procurement of experi- enced seamen. The training organization of WSA trained and graduated 11,300 men for ships' officers and trained or up- graded 76,400 seamen in 1944. The recruitment and manning organiza- tion, supplementing efforts of oper- ating companies and maritime unions to procure crews, recruited 30,000 experienced seamen from shore jobs in 1944. Since its estab- lishment in 1938 all branches of the War Shipping administration (the United States maritime service, the merchant marine cadet corps, and the state maritime academies) have Amphibious alligator tank is lowered over the side of a navy ship. It helped in successful Lnvaslon of lwo Jima, (U. S. "Navy Photo.) have been built since the first de- livery in February, 1944, and about one-third of them are now trans- ports, combat vessels and other military types. Just as important, ff not more so, is the service of these vessels in landing on the invasion beaches the supplies which our fighting men must have. For instance EVERY soldier who landed on the beaches of Normandy, Leyte and Iwo had to have 8 to 12 tons of equipment land with him and in combat he needs an additional 2 tons of sup- plies each month. Without those sup- plies he would soon be as helpless as he would be if deprived of his Garand rifle or any other weapon. IncidentalIy, one of the breathtak- ing innovations of this war was the creation of artificial harbors on the Normandy coast to permit unload- ing of troops and supplies for the invasion of France. Thirty-two ob- solete or badly damaged vessels were sunk to form breakwaters, buttressed by concrete piers con- structed especially for the purpose in England and towed across the channel by tugs. One thousand mer- chant seamen volunteered for the task. The artificial harbors replaced some of the advantages of the trained more than 190,000 Americans as officers and seamen to man our wartime merchant fleet. These 190,000 Americans who vol- unteered their service to their coun- try are civilians and have no mili- tary status. But they have heroically risked their lives just as much as have our soldiers, sailors, marines and coastguardsmen who have met the enemy "in mortal combat on land, on sea and in the air. Despite the fact that improvement in meth- ods Of protecting Allied convoys and of curbing the submarine menace had greatly reduced the hazards of sailing in 1944, the fact remains that up to April, 1945, the merchant marine has suffered 6,057 casualties --5,522 dead and missing and 535 prisoners of war. And it is "signifi- cant too that the merchant marine distinguished service medal, award- ed for outstanding acts of heroism by merchant seamen, has been pre- sented to more than 100 of these merchant seamen for action after September 1, 1939. All of which are reasons--though there are many, many more-- why all Americans should join in honoring these valiant fighters for freedom on National Maritime Day, May 22. Ready for sea--and ready to learn. At the ptos of Sheepsheud bay, the world's greatest merchant marine training station,'outgolng U. S. marl- t/me service trained apprentice sea- men greet incoming class of eager enrollees. To man the greatest mer. chant marine in history, the War Shipping administration created un. precedented facilities for training Inexperienced and upgrading expe rienced mem--(War Shipping Ad. ministration photo.) Jumper-Jacket for Summer Sports 8767 A SUMMER spectator sports outfit that will capture many a compliment. The smoothly fit- ting jacket is edged in bright ric rac to match the jaunty broad- shouldered jumper. Pattern No. 8767 is designed for sizes t2, 14, I6, 18, 20; 40 and 42. Size 14, dress requires 3 yards of 35 or 39 inch material; laeket, short sleeves, 15, yards. Due to an unusually large demand and :urrent war conditions, slightly more time ts required in filling orders for a few of the most popular pattern numbers. SEWING CIRCLE PATTERN DEPT. 530 South Wells St. Chicago Enclose 25 cents in coins for each pattern desired. Pattern No Size ~ame H Address CHORE TIME gaily wilb, Working with a lantern at chore time is like working with one hand tied behind you. 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