Sunday, March 23, 2014

NOTICE TO ALL HANDS...MISSING VETERAN HONORS

NOTICE TO ALL HANDS… MISSING VETERAN HONORS

New Research had discovered another major gaffe concerning our WW II Merchant Marine.  During WW II our US Merchant Marine suffered perhaps the highest casualty rate than any other services.  One in Twenty-Six has been reported as the rate of loss for these mariners.  The chart below provides specifics.  What is tragic about this is our Nation has failed to acknowledge those lost Mariners as veterans to this country.  If one serves this country and gives his life in the line of combat duty, should this nation not recognize him for that sacrifice?  Apparently not.  Research had revealed that about 9500 Mariners made the ultimate sacrifice and only about 425 have been awarded the distinction as veterans.  What happened?  Did the government lose/destroy these records?  Not so; and still no one is attempting to correct this travesty.  This is an embarrassment to our nation.

Our government has known of this and has done nothing about it for over 70 years.  How can our nation be so callous as to just forget about those that gave their lives so others may live?  How can they keep making promises to our troops by telling them they will be taken care of if they take care of business over there?

In every political rally/speech made by any politician it is completely clear on how they stand.  Words spew from them all the time saying “we must not forget our veterans”; “we must take care of them when they come home”; we will not let our veterans down.”  Our politicians quickly forget all the avowals made and little is upheld.

Agreements have been in place allowing our researchers an opportunity to identify more of our mariners; but actions to comply with the agreements have not taken place for those that control the personnel records of our mariners and inquiries as to why they have not complied are needed.
 
 Now I ask of you ---did these brave men and women of courage, those who now reside in silence beneath the frigid waters, give themselves, along with all of their tomorrows, for but a single day in their often short lives?  Or did these gallant departed Americans die for all who will follow them in the future?  Something must be done.  Please contact your members of congress and demand they correct this grave injustice.

US MERCHANT MARINE CASUALTIES FROM WW II

MERCHANT MARINE CASUALTIES FROM ALL CAUSES = 9521* usmm.org
MERCHANT MARINE CASUALTIES IDENTIFIED BY USCG PER 1950 REPORT = 5662* USCG 1950 ISSUE
MERCHANT MARINE CASUALTIES FROM OTHER SOURCES =   3859* ADDT’L SOURCES (A. MOORE & US CONGRESS)
MERCHANT MARINE CASUALTIES RECOGNIZED AS VETERANS = 344* US National Maritime Center (US NMC)
MERCHANT MARINE CASUALTIES RECOGNIZED BY NMC BUT NOT IN USCG 1950 REPORT = 70* US NMC

FINDINGS9521 MERCHANT MARINERS KIA OR MIA SERVING OUR COUNTRY AND ONLY 414 HAVE RECEIVED RECOGNITION AS VETERANS.


For additional information contact:  J. Don Horton as jdonhorton@embarqmail.com

Sunday, March 16, 2014

STAND BY FOR THE STAMPEDE

A  MUST Read!

The typical U.S. household headed by a person age 65 or older has a net worth 47 times greater than a household headed by someone under 35, according to an analysis of census data released Monday.  If all of us “old farts” have all of the money, then let us try to elect a congress and a president who might be near honest and not be after feathering their own nests.
 
They like to refer to us as senior citizens, old fogies, geezers, and in some cases dinosaurs.  Some of us are "Baby Boomers" getting ready to retire.  Others have been retired for some time.  We walk a little slower these days and our eyes and hearing are not what they once were.  We have worked hard, raised our children, worshiped our God and grown old together.  Yes, we are the ones some refer to as being over the hill, and that is probably true.  But before writing us off completely, there are a few things that need to be taken into consideration

In school we studied English, history, math, and science which enabled us to lead America into the technological age.  Most of us remember what outhouses were, many of us with firsthand experience.

We remember the days of telephone party-lines, 25 cent gasoline, and milk and ice being delivered to our homes.  For those of you who don't know what an icebox is, today they are electric and referred to as refrigerators.  A few even remember when cars were started with a crank.  Yes, we lived those days.

We are probably considered old fashioned and outdated by many.  But there are a few things you need to remember before completely writing us off.  We won World War II, fought in Korea and Viet Nam.  We can quote The Pledge of Allegiance, and know where to place our hand while doing so.  We wore the uniform of our country with pride and lost many friends on the battlefield.  We didn't fight for the Socialist States of America; we fought for the "Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave."  We wore different uniforms but carried the same flag.  We know the words to the Star Spangled Banner, America  and  America the Beautiful by heart, and you may even see some tears running down our cheeks as we sing.  We have lived what many of you have only read in history books and we feel no obligation to apologize to anyone for America.

Yes, we are old and slow these days but rest assured, we have at least one good fight left in us. We have loved this country, fought for it, and died for it, and now we are going to save it.  It is our country and nobody is going to take it away from us.  We took oaths to defend America against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and that is an oath we plan to keep.  There are those who want to destroy this land we love but, like our founders, there is no way we are going to remain silent.

It was mostly the young people of this nation who elected this low producing congress.  You fell for the "Hope and Change" which in reality was nothing but "Hype and Lies."

You have tasted socialism and conservatism and seen evil face to face, and have found you don't like it after all.  You make a lot of noise, but most are all too interested in their careers or "Climbing the Social Ladder" to be involved in such mundane things as patriotism and voting.  Many of those who fell for the "Great Lie" in 2008 are now having buyer's remorse.  With all the education we gave you, you didn't have sense enough to see through the lies and instead drank the 'Kool-Aid.'  Now you're paying the price and complaining about it.  No jobs, lost mortgages, higher taxes, our government so deep in debt our grandchildren will never pay it off, less freedom and nothing being done with a congress that has set a record for accomplishing less.

This is what you voted for and this is what you got.  We entrusted you with the Torch of Liberty and you traded it for a paycheck and a fancy house.

Well, don't worry youngsters, the Grey-Haired Brigade is here, and in 2014 we are going to take back our nation.  We may drive a little slower than you would like but we get where we're going, and in 2014 we're going to the polls by the millions.

This land does not belong to the man in the White House nor to the likes of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.; or any other group of would be congress members.   It belongs to "We the People" and "We the People" plan to reclaim our land and our freedom.  We hope this time you will do a better job of preserving it and passing it along to our grandchildren.  So the next time you have the chance to say the Pledge of Allegiance, Stand up, put your hand over your heart, honor our country, and thank God for the old geezers of the "Grey-Haired Brigade."

Footnote:
This is spot on.  I am another Gray-Haired Geezer signing on.  I will circulate this to other Gray-Haired Geezers all over this once great country.

Can you feel the ground shaking???    
IT’S NOT AN EARTHQUAKE, IT A STAMPEDE..
 
 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Senate Bill S 1982 Omnibus Bill for Veteran Benefits including Coastwise Merchant Mariners benefits

A broad Department of Veterans Affairs bill that would have expanded benefits for former service members and repealed a military pension cut for future troops was rejected in the Senate on Thursday. The measure, sponsored by Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), did not garner enough Republican votes to waive a VA spending limit established under the budget Congress and President Obama approved in December.

These are comments from some of our political leaders and citizens:

“I don’t know how anyone who voted ‘no’ today can look a veteran in the eye and justify that vote,” said Daniel M. Dellinger, national commander of the American Legion. “Our veterans deserve more than what they got today.”
“We have veterans dying from long waits for basic, necessary tests like colonoscopies,” Burr said Thursday. “Veterans waiting for their disability claims to be processed know all about frustrations and delays at the VA, and adding more individuals to an already broken system doesn’t seem wise.”

Jeff_NC
3/1/2014 6:22 AM EST
Where is the national media coverage on this??? GOP blocks Veterans' bill due to budget concerns? Are you freaking serious??? Every Veterans organization in the country supported this bill. The same Republicans were not concerned with the budget when they voted to send us to Iraq. Now, $1 trillion later, they blocked a $21 billion Veterans bill due to budget concerns? Unconscionable!!! I really can't believe this!!! GOP BLOCKS VETERANS' BILL BECAUSE IT WOULD BE A BUDGET BUSTER !!! GOP doesn't give a damn about Vets, only sending them to war!!!

Larnan5
2/28/2014 8:17 PM EST
24 Veterans associations backed the bill. The GOP/TEA said NO! Our armed forces can fight and die to protect most of the reps who have never served. How pathetic! Just ask them and they will tell you about their patriotism and point to the flag on their lapel.

garycrittenden
2/28/2014 12:31 PM EST
For anyone that wants to blame one political party over the other....don't you really think there is enough blame to go around? Show me ANY of them that will truly stand up for a Vet....

Althea2
2/28/2014 9:02 AM EST
24 years of war, and the republicans par for the course don't want to help fund veterans care. Remember this next time the republicans say they are for the troops. All but two voted against this bill, and they all voted against raising COLA for our vets. Why? Well they seem to want to create more vets by marching us along the road to a war with Iran, or it could be because Republicans in general don't think we owe our vets anything, or it could be their corporate owners told them not to.

I saved the best for last. I share these sentiments of OReilly, Gsc

Sean OReilly Gsc
2/28/2014 4:44 AM EST
Those who praise war but never serve are really not qualified nor fit in this vets opinion, to sit in judgment of those who provided the blanket of security and freedom under which this nation lives and sleeps. Truthfully, we are far more concerned with you and the safety of this nation than we are a COLA point. Both parties fail us, and we fail ourselves and this nation by not better educating ourselves and our kids in the founding articles of our freedoms and exercising the only true equal right that we really have; our right to vote, Less than 30% have ever even read the US constitution or understand the beacon of hope it has been in an unjust world. As a result you voice opinions, conjecture and you point fingers at one another. All indicative of a national ignorance and you demonstrate a serious lack of understanding of what our freedom means. Less than 1% of you serve the nation, which is not bad in and of itself but when you ended the draft you removed the visceral connection between the citizen and the soldier and now, none of you, nor most of congress, understand how the military really works or even care.
To those who say we are free loaders or that we should be happy with the bond of trust that has been broken. I can only shake my head in wonder. We who served you are only able to rain down upon the enemies of our American freedom with a swift and awful hand of doom because we believe that while we fight and die for you overseas, you will have our backs here at home.
I urge you all to educate yourselves before it's too late to save this great nation and get back to leading the world instead of fighting like spoiled brats in the back seat of the car.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

UPDATE TO: HR 1288 “WW II MERCHANT MARINERS SERVICE ACT” 24 Jan. 2014

UPDATE TO:                                  HR 1288 “WW II MERCHANT MARINERS SERVICE ACT”           24 Jan. 2014
                      …………AND THE MAZE IT IS TREADING………….
HR 1288 was introduced in the 213th Congress and rapidly gained 94 cosponsors as a standalone bill with a CBO score of DeMinimis, meaning costs were not relevant.  This is a feat that I have been told is extremely rare.  Bills simply do not reach that level or success from an individual without significant support from Veteran Service Groups or strong political clout.  It happened and with very limited support beyond the sponsors of HR 1288.  It takes a great deal of sacrifice, a lot of hard work, determination and dedication.  It cannot be done with a simple request and set back to wait for an answer. Apply due diligence and remove the word no from the table.
In July I received some pleasant news that on 23 Jul, Senators Murphy, D-CT and Blumenthal, D-Ct and Senator Collins,  R-ME would introduce S 1361, a carbon copy of HR 1288.
In August I was notified that HR 1288 was to be incorporated into another bill HR 2086 and within a week, I was again notified that HR 2086 was to be incorporated into an Omnibus bill, HR 2189 that was headed up by Rep. Jeff Miller, R-FL, and Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.  This bill passed the House on a called vote with only 1 dissention.  It moved to the Senate Floor and is awaiting Senate approval or review.
In October, I was notified that S 1361 was to be incorporated into an Omnibus bill S 1581. Shortly afterward I was informed that they had gutted the wording of S 1361 and reduced it to performing a Review. This is the new wording:
SEC. 812 of S 1950: REVIEW OF DETERMINATION OF CERTAIN SERVICE OF MERCHANT MARINERS DURING WORLD WAR II.
 (a) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary of Veterans Affairs, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Homeland Security and such military historians as the Secretary of Defense recommends, shall review the process used to determine whether an individual performed service under honorable conditions that satisfies the requirements of a coastwise merchant seaman who is recognized pursuant to section 401 of the GI Bill Improvement Act of 1977 (Public Law 95–202; 3.  8 U.S.C. 106 note) as having performed active duty service.
 (b) REPORT.—Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall submit to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs of the Senate and the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs of the House of Representatives a report detailing any findings, actions to be taken, or recommendations for legislative action with respect to the review conducted under subsection (a).

This past week I found from my own investigation that another Omnibus bill S 1950, introduced by Senator Sanders, I-VT and Chairman, Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, will incorporate S 1581 with the wording pertaining to the Process Review.  Action on S 1950 has only had a first reading is awaiting Senate action.  It is my understanding that if S-1950 clears the Senate; it will have to be reviewed with HR 2189 that still contains the complete wording of HR 1288.

The WW II Coastwise Merchant Mariners oppose this Review as it serves no purpose other than additional delay, added costs and having more seafarers leaving our ranks without their due recognition as veterans.  The process is already there and simply needs additional steps to include allowance for lost, destroyed and/or denied documentation and an avenue of recognition for those who were discriminated against due to age, gender or disability.  Today we are standing by awaiting action.

UPDATE TO POST:  S-1950 was incorporated into still another Omnibus bill S-1982 an when it came time to be heard on the Senate floor, it was voted down.  Now we still have the original bill S-1361 but is is languishing in Congress with little or no interest from our Senators or the sponsors.  We must now gain the interest of new cosponsors in order to move this bill to the forefront.


Sunday, January 19, 2014


Inclusion of HR 1288 WW II Coastwise Merchant Mariners Service Act Within HR 2189....Establishing Commission or Task Force to Evaluate the Backlog of Disability Claims


legislator photo
Mr. Speaker, I rise to celebrate the passage of H.R. 2189, a bipartisan bill that among many things will finally recognize the valiant service of Merchant Mariners that operated domestically during World War II. It has been my honor for the past three Congresses to introduce legislation that would recognize these brave Americans and correct an injustice that has remained for over 70 years.
The Merchant Marine were private citizens employed by freight shipping companies. In an effort to support the American war effort during World War II, those same freight shipping companies and their employees became an auxiliary to the United States Navy. Their mission was to transport bulk war materials including food, clothing, weapons, and even troops to all areas of conflict and coastal installations here at home.
During the World War II war effort, many of these mariners were tasked with the critically important role of transporting materials along the U.S. coast using tugboats and barges. Although these mariners did not sail across the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans into areas of conflict, they still encountered the enemy while delivering cargo that kept the war effort moving forward. One tugboat, the Menomonee, operating just off the coast of Virginia on March 31st, 1942, was sunk by German U-Boat 754 tragically killing several members of the crew.
This tragic story has been the impetus for the legislation I have introduced in the past three Congresses to finally honor this small group of unsung heroes. In fact, a North Carolinian, Don Horton, whose brother William Lee Horton, Jr. was on that tugboat and lost his life aboard the ship that rescued him from the ocean and debris, has been the driving force behind this legislative effort. William Lee Horton, Jr., was 17 at the time of his death while bravely serving his country. Many members of Don Horton's family served on these tugboats and barges during World War II in support of the war effort. Don Horton has become the foremost expert on this forgotten segment of the World War II Merchant Marine, and has worked tirelessly to see mariners like his brother gain the recognition as veterans that they rightly deserve and earned through service to their country.
The ranks of these coastwise tugboats and barges were not solely operated by men, but also women, as in the case of the Horton family. Don Horton's mother and sister, along with many other women, served alongside their male counterparts, but were never issued formal documentation for their service aboard these vessels because of an order by the War Shipping Administration. Many male Merchant Mariners that operated domestically were also never issued formal documentation or the documentation that was issued is extremely hard to find today because many of these documents were ordered destroyed by the U.S. Government.
Currently, a certificate of shipping and discharge forms, continuous deck or engine logbooks, and shipping company records that indicate the vessel names and dates of voyages are the only documents that are considered acceptable to determine an individual's service in the Merchant Marine. In fact, by order of the Coast Guard Commandant, captains of tugboats and seagoing barges were relieved of the responsibility of submitting reports of seamen shipped or discharged. The deck or engine logbooks were turned over to the War Shipping Administration and were ordered destroyed because they were too ``voluminous to maintain, costly to keep, and rarely used for research.'' Shipping company records that indicate the vessel names and dates of voyages likely never existed because written communication relating to the movement of supplies and troops was strictly forbidden by U.S. military commanders.
After 70 long years, the passage of H.R. 2189 finally offers these mariners a chance to receive the recognition they deserve. H.R. 2189 expands the acceptable forms of documentation used to determine eligible service in the Merchant Marine. The bill allows Social Security Administration records, validated testimony by the applicant or closest living relative, and other official records that provide sufficient proof of service.

Mr. Speaker, estimates show that there are fewer than 2,000 of these mariners surviving today. It's time to finally recognize these mariners for their service to our country. I want to thank my colleagues in the House for supporting these brave men and women that served in the Merchant Marine during World War II, and I implore my colleagues in the Senate to consider this legislation as quickly as possible and support its passage.

Request for Senate Support for WW II Coastwise Merchant Mariners Services Act.

                                 WW II Coastwise Merchant Mariners
J. Don Horton, President                                                                                                                104 Riverview Ave, Camden, NC 27921
http://www.usmm.org/images4/flag.gif
                       
                                                                                                                                               19 Jan. 2014
The Honorable Bernie Sanders, Chairman                                                                                
Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs
412 Russell SOB, Washington, DC 20510-6050
Dear Senator Sanders,

As an update to my 07 Nov, 2013, I have just discovered that your bill S 1950 “A Bill to Improve the Provisions of Medical Services and Benefits to Veterans, and for other Purposes.” was read on the floor and that some of the provisions of S 1581 are incorporated within.  Without knowing precisely which bills are included, I respectfully request your consideration to include S 1361 “WW II Merchant Mariners Service Act” within S 1950. This bill contains provisions to direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to accept additional documentation when considering the application for veteran’s status of an individual who performed service in the merchant marine during World War II.

The contents of S 1361 will allow for the first time ever an opportunity for some coastwise seafarers who are unable to gain veteran status.  This is because of government actions that destroyed official documentation and/or denied some mariners the proper credentials now required to prove service.

We are quickly running out of time to recognize the few remaining Americans that stood up for our country by serving as a Merchant Mariner when it needed them the most during World War II. Without weapons or formal training, many risked their lives, and tragically too many gave their lives in defense of our great nation during the Second World War. For those that are lesser known but still contributed significantly to the WW II war effort, we must not let their efforts go unrecognized while we still have a chance. The few remaining coastwise mariners and the few surviving families need your support.

Recommendations to conduct a study, replacing the true wording, has been offered via another bill , S 1581 but is not necessary, considering the official documentation that supports this need notwithstanding adding cost to a bill that was scored DeMinimis by the CBO.  I strongly recommend against this action, causing additional delay and poor use of limited funding; not mentioning having more seafarers leave us without ever gaining their due recognition. This is an unacceptable maneuver.

Please allow me to use your statement within my plea.  “Let me conclude by saying we give a lot of speeches about the respect we have for the men and women who put their lives on the line to defend this country”  I take that you mean we do a lot of talking the talk and now we need to walk the walk. Therefore I respectfully request that you add the provisions of S 1361 to your bill, S 1950.

Very Sincerely,
J. Don Horton
J. Don Horton, President                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               FX: 202 228 0776