Heave Ho My Lads

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Something for the weekend.  Heave Ho My Lads sung by cadets of the United States Merchant Marine Academy.


Labor Day weekend seems a fitting time to recall again the United States Merchant Marine.  The civilian fleet that carries imports and exports to and from the US, during war time it becomes an auxiliary of the Navy to ship troops and war supplies.  Officers of the Merchant Marine are trained at the Merchant Marine Academy, founded in 1943, at King’s Point, New York.

Technically civilians, one out of 26 merchant mariners died in action during World War II, giving them a higher fatality rate than any of the armed services.   Members of the Merchant Marine were often jeered  as slackers and draft dodgers by civilians when they were back on shore who had no comprehension of the vital role they played, or how hazardous their jobs were.  Incredibly, these gallant men were denied veteran status and any veteran benefits because they were civilians.  This injustice was not corrected until 1988 when President Reagan signed the Merchant Marine Fairness Act.  Some 9,521 United States Merchant Mariners were killed during World War II, performing their duty of keeping the sea lanes functioning in war, as in peace.


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One Comment

  1. I worked with a man (RIP) who had been a merchant mariner in the North Atlantic during WWII. He absolutely was a hull of a fine man. God bless them all.

    Another connection. Two sons played rugby at Fordham. The USMMA team was always a very tough crowd. The youngest had broken his nose (not unusual, both of our ruggers have rearranged noses) ) in one of those tangles. At half-time, his RN mother took him (he would have played) to the hospital. While we were there, one of his teammates came in on a stretcher. Anyhow, Fordham won.

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