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same torpedoes brought about the same hardship and were responsible for the same loss of life.
I have seen merchant ships in my own district, in the docks at the shipyards in Richmond, carrying on their funnels or on their deck houses little pictures indicating the planes that they had shot down at Leyte Gulf or at other places in the Pacific where they had received wounds that brought them back for drydocking. Certainly, the personnel on those ships were subjected to the same hardships and the same hazards as the armed crew on the ships. We find ourselves in a position, then, of saying to the widow of one person, or the man himself who might have been a member of the armed crew of that vessel, “You are entitled to certain benefits under the GI bill of rights”; and we may say to the other man, "Because you did not go through the formality of entering the armed services or for physical reasons you might have been rejected from the Navy and served in the merchant marine, your widow, or you, are not entitled to these rights."
So to me the distinction between those whom we recognize in the GI bill of rights and those subject to the same hazards disappear. I believe that this country has the same moral responsibility to its merchant seamen who served in battle areas as it does toward any other people in the service.
That is about all I have to say, sir. I favor this bill in principle. I appeared before this committee last year, and I am happy to be here again.
Mr. BRADLEY of California. Have you gentlemen any questions you would like to ask Mr. Miller?
Mr. BROPHY. Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask Mr. Miller a question.
Do you feel they were exactly the same, that the merchant marine boys could on reaching an American port determine their own furlough?
Mr. MILLER. That is superficial. While they could determine their own furlough they still had to go back to sea again and they still went back to sea again. If they were within the draft age, if they took advantage of that furlough any longer, perhaps, than the man in the Navy who came into port, the privileges granted them were withdrawn and they went into the armed services. Where a few of them may have hid out behind that, just as a few people in the armed services hid out behind other things, I am not going to ask you to deprive the great group of them who went in with the same spirit and performed their duties with the same unselfish spirit of serving their country because there were a few renegades in the group. That same percentage of renegades appeared in the armed services or any other place.
Mr. Potts. A lot were actually over draft age, weren't they?
Mr. MILLER. Yes. A lot of them served voluntarily. You remember we sent out call after call on the radio asking, for instance, ex-merchant marine officers to come into the service. There were thousands of those people who never could have been touched or never forced into the service who voluntarily stepped out of civilian life to go back in and man the merchant ships.
Mr. POTTS. I recollect one individual who left a very lucrative employment in the camera business, was tickled to death to get back into service. He was beyond the draft age. The sole reason he gave me he had not been on the sea since the last war-was that he was going
to make such a great amount of money by doing it. I saw him many times after he came back from trips. He was very happy in the employment which he chose.
Mr. MILLER. I don't think there are many men in this country who walk into the hazards which attaches to them in carrying the materials into the battle areas who did it with the monetary motive behind it. Men just don't accept money for doing that. There may be a few, again, who do that. But these ships which were out there with the fleet and were subjected to the Kamikazes and the same type of strafing the battleships were which did not have all of that protection, men just were not motivated by money alone.
Again, there may have been a few of them. There may have been a few high-ranking officers in our Navy who would like to continue in those upper ranks because of the emoluments that come with it. I will not charge the Navy with being unpatriotic because of that.
Mr. MALONEY. It is a fact, is it not, that these men made considerably more money than the men who were in the Navy?
Mr. MILLER. I presume that is right.
Mr. MILLER. No, I never have studied the thing quite that closely. I know they made some money. I know other people made money during the war, too.
Mr. BROPHY. Isn't it a fact they made about 5 to 1?
Mr. MILLER. Well, I suppose if you want to take the lower rating in the Navy that is about correct. - Mr. BROPHY. No, I means in comparable positions.
Mr. MILLER. No, I don't think it is quite that high.
Mr. BROPHY. Two able-bodied seamen, one in the Navy and one in the merchant marine service, as examples.
Mr. MILLER. I don't know. I never have gone into that phase of it.
Mr. BRADLEY of California. That will be brought out in tabular form.
Mr. MILLER. Yes, I think it will be brought out by competent people. I don't profess to know any more about it than you, my colleagues, in that respect. I am not an expert witness on the subject.
Mr. MALONEY. You would not consider that extra compensation they got as any reason why this bill should not be passed ?
Mr. MILLER. I consider the hazards that the men went through rather than the compensation. I think the longest time spent at sea on one of those things was spent by men in the merchant marine service (referring to raft].
I pointed to the picture of the merchant marine men on a life raft in the ocean.
Mr. BRADLEY of California. Any further questions?
I hope you gentlemen will bring out all the phages. You must remember if this does get to the floor of the House we will have to defend it and will have to have everything brought out as we go along.
Mr. BONNER. I am not a member of the subcommittee.
Mr. BONNER. What would be your views to inducting merchant marine into the national defense in case of a future emergency?
Mr. MILLER. I believe in the case of a future emergency-again, I am not on the Armed Services Committee or this committee—but I
think it is good common sense that in the event of a future emergency that the merchant marine most likely would find itself right in the naval service more or less, because it is so important to the naval service. It is just an integral part of our national defense, just as much as the Navy or the Army. Many years ago we did not accept doctors, for instance, in either of the services. As late as the SpanishAmerican War the Medical Corps were contract personnel. They were not even commissioned officers. A doctor was under contract. We have gotten away from that. We bring them in.
As I see it, in all our future wars you will mobilize everything. including scientists ad everybody else, and most likely bring them under the umbrella and level out everything. That is why I feel strongly about this. As I said in the beginning, men who were subjected to the same hazards should receive the same treatment.
Mr. BONNER. This question came up when the war first became apparent; did you know that?
Mr. MILLER. I wasn't here and have not followed it closely since that time.
Mr. BRADLEY of California. Further questions? (No response.)
Mr. BRADLEY of California. Thank you, Mr. Miller. We appreciate your courtesy in appearing before us.
Mr. MILLER. I want to thank the committee for the privilege of appearing before them. Mr. BRADLEY of California. Thank you. Hon. Hale Boggs, of Louisiana, another one of our colleagues.
STATEMENT OF HON. HALE BOGGS, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF LOUISIANA
Mr. Boggs. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the opportunity of coming here before the subcommittee to testify for just a few minutes in favor of the enactment of this legislation. I have the privilege of represent ing the city of New Orleans in the Congress of the United States During the war we had almost as large a portion of young men entering the merchant marine as we did, proportionately speaking, the other branches. Those men served with courage. In the opening days of the war, right at the mouth of the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico, before we had adequate naval and air protection against submarines, ships were sunk there daily.
As a matter of fact, I asked the Navy Department several days ago to give me a recapitulation of the ships sunk in that area and I was really amazed to realize that there were so many. I am certain those figures are all before the commitee. I bring them out only to em phasize the point which has been made here by my colleague, Mr. Miller, from California, that it cannot be logically argued that there was any difference in the hazards faced by the men who served in the merchant marine as compared to those of the men who served in other services.
As a matter of fact, it was my impression, and I think it can be verified, that the period of training was so brief for these men entering the merchant marine, and in some cases no time at all, that certainly in the opening years of the war they were subjected to hazards and į
dangers much quicker than the ordinary man who was inducted into the armed forces.
In addition to that, Mr. Chairman, this bill is a long way from a veterans' bill. As I understand the bill, it gives certain limited basic benefits to wartime service personnel in the merchant marine. I am certain that the committee has read the hearings that were conducted here in the Seventy-ninth Congress and is familiar with all the arguments which have been brought out. But an analysis of the bill will show that it is limited principally to hospitalization, death and disability benefits, and educational benefits. That, of course, is a far cry from veterans' status or veterans' benefits. I do not think it can be logically argued that these benefits should not be extended to the members of the merchant marine, particularly, Mr. Chairman, the educational benefits. During the war I had the privilege of serving in the Navy and with the Marine Commission in the maritime service. We trained several hundred thousands of men for the merchant marine. Many of these men, as a matter of fact, toward the end I would say the majority of them, were youngsters just turned 16 years of age. They were not even eligible for the draft. They were 2 years ahead of the draft. They went in and served, many of them coming back with the same disabilities as the men who had served in the armed forces. In addition to that, their educations were interrupted at a very early time in life.
It seems to me the height of folly for the Congress of the United States to deny these men educational benefits. Certainly from the standpoint of the advancement of our country there is a necessity for an intelligent citizenry. Among these 200,000 men-or probably much less than that because I think 200.000 is about the over-all force I would say maybe 100,000 men would have the opportunity of becoming educated, qualified, competent American citizens.
On hospitalization benefits, the members of the merchant marine already are entitled to hospitalization to a limited extent. All this bill does, in my opinion after analyzing it, is to extend those benefits and to recognize the fact that a man who suffered a disability, while serving during the war on a merchant ship, should be entitled to. Government care and treatment in Government hospitals for the balance of his life or disability which was sustained as a result of war service.
I am not going to take any further time of the committee. The question of pay, of course, definitely will be raised. But there are charts and tables in your hearings which are pretty conclusive on that matter. I believe if you will approach that from any fair-minded point of view and analyze a serviceman's pay plus the benefits he was granted—and properly so-by a grateful Government, insurance, death and disability benefits, hospitalization, travel allowance, terminal leave, and all the other benefits which are too numerous to mention, income tax preference, free postage-I am just thinking out loud-and compare that to the seaman who was considered as a civilian and who drew pay only while he was aboard ship, which was usually about 10 months in the year and who paid the withholding tax, and who had not only shore privileges or benefits for dependents that the members of the armed forces had, I believe in many cases his pay situation compares unfavorably with the members of the armed forces.
When you go into the real question of veterans' benefits I am quite certain it is an unfavorable comparison. I had a talk once with General Bradley. He said that they had calculated that if they could pay each veteran of the armed forces the flat sum of approximately $15, 000—$15,000 to each man- and upon the payment of that amount of money be finished with Government responsibility, that actually the Government, according to their figures, would save money. So I think on the pay proposition a fair analysis of it will show a disproportion actually does not exist.
There is one other point, I would like to make before concluding. We have fought two wars within the past 25 years. At the inception of both wars one of the real problems facing our Nation was necessity of providing for an adequate merchant marine. You members of the Merchant Marine Committee know how inadequate our merchant marine was at the beginning of this war and how pitifully inadequate it was at the beginning of the First World War, and how little effort was made during the time elapsing between the First World War and the Second World War, to maintain an adequate merchant marine in this country. It was only upon enactment of the Merchant Marine Act of 1936 that the Congress recognized the national security of the United States was inescapably tied in with a fleet which was capable of carrying the commerce of this country.
I come from a seaport city. Our very lifeblood depends upon ships that come in and go out from all the ports of the world. We are : commerce-minded community. We are an old seaport city. We feel this type of legislature will help build the morale of the members of the merchant marine. It is awfully difficult to tell a youngster 16 or 17 years of age who served for maybe 3 or 4 years in submarine-infested waters and who saw his shipmates lost and wounded and injured that he actually did not serve in the war. Certainly he comes back with: pretty poor opinion of the American concept of service in the merchant marine.
I feel that to establish the morale of those men is vital to the continued success of the American merchant marine, and I believe this legislature will go a long way in doing that. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. BRADLEY of California. Any questions, gentlemen ?
Mr. Ports. Mr. Boggs, do you consider that this will finish, so to speak, paraphrasing General Bradley's language, the requests for aid of the Government?
Mr. Boggs. I think it probably will, sir, so far as the merchan marine is concerned. I won't go into the armed forces situation.
Mr. MALONEY. Mr. Boggs, you stated you thought the pay of th merchant seaman would be possibly less than that of the Navy. Hav you any figures to substantiate that?
Mr. Boggs. Yes. If you will look at pages 260 and 261 of the hear ings before this committee, part 1, October 18 and 19, 1945, you will se charts on that.
I think on page 101 there is something further on that. In any event the record is replete with those figures, Mr. Congressman.
Mr. BRADLEY of California. Any other questions, gentlemen ?
If not, thank you very much, Mr. Boggs. We appreciate you coming here to testify.