National Maritime Day

From Commander, Military Sealift Command

National Maritime Day

On May 22 we will join with communities around the nation to celebrate National Maritime Day, a day for celebration as well as a day of remembrance.

The United States has always been, and will remain a maritime nation. For this reason, merchant mariners, the shipbuilding and repair industry, and maritime companies have been crucial to American economic prosperity since the founding of our nation.

In 1933, Congress declared National Maritime Day to commemorate the American steamship Savannah’s voyage from the United States to England, marking the first successful crossing of the Atlantic Ocean with steam propulsion.

National Maritime Day has evolved to become so much more. We now recognize the importance of the maritime industry to our economic strength as well as the service and sacrifice of U.S. merchant mariners.

Our history is replete with examples of courage and professionalism of mariners. In World War II, our merchant mariners and their shipmates of the Navy Armed Guard sailed across the Atlantic, the Pacific, through the Indian Ocean, and even within the Arctic Circle. During that war, more than 250,000 members of the American Merchant Marine served their country, with about 8,300 mariners killed at sea and 12,000 wounded.

That same sense of commitment and call to service is on display today as our Department of Defense (DoD) mariners at Military Sealift Command remain ready, relevant, and resolute as they boldly sail the world’s oceans providing assured logistics and specialized support to our nation’s warfighters.

On May 22, we pause in memorial to our merchant mariner shipmates who crossed the bar for the final time this past year. We also look to the future and the next generation of American men women who have stepped forward to carry on our DoD mariner tradition.

Let us keep all maritime professionals and their families in our thoughts as they work for the safety, security and prosperity of our nation.

United We Sail,

Rear Adm. Dee L. Mewbourne, USN
Commander, Military Sealift Command

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