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United States Merchant Marine Served in all Wars
Since the Revolutionary War

The United States Merchant Marine provided the greatest sealift in history between the production army at home and the fighting forces scattered around the globe in World War II. The prewar total of 55,000 experienced mariners was increased to over 250,000 through U.S. Maritime Service training programs.

Merchant ships faced danger from submarines, mines, armed raiders and destroyers, aircraft, “kamikaze,” and the elements. At least 8,651 mariners were killed at sea, 11,000 wounded of whom at least 1,100 died from their wounds, and 604 men and women were taken, prisoner. Some were blown to death, some incinerated, some drowned, some froze, and some starved. 60 died in prison camps, and about 500 Americans were lost while serving on Allied ships. Of the 833 large ships sunk, 31 vanished without a trace to a watery grave.