As I have watched over the years the treatment of our veterans has really pissed me off. My father was a veteran of WWII and served in the Merchant Marine. He served on many Liberty ships during the war bringing supplies to the European front. Now many have little respect for the Merchant Marine saying they served "behind the lines". In reality the Merchant Marine suffered the highest casualty rate of the war.
1 in 26 mariners serving aboard merchant ships in World WW II died in the line of duty, suffering a greater percentage of war-related deaths than all other U.S. services. Casualties were kept secret during the War to keep information about their success from the enemy and to attract and keep mariners at sea.
Newspapers carried essentially the same story each week: "Two medium-sized Allied ships sunk in the Atlantic." In reality, the average for 1942 was 33 Allied ships sunk each week.
The John W Brown is anchored in Baltimore Maryland and the Jeremiah O'Brien in San Franciso. These two Liberty ships are the only survivors of WWII.
Old pops was quiet and never really talked about the war until he became older. He served on a gas tanker off of Normandy during the invasion of France and refueled allied ships. I found out later in life he served on two Liberty cargo ships which were sunk and himself being plucked from the water twice. Liberty ships were mass produced with many being constructed by Kaiser Shipyards.
Four of the Kaiser Shipyards were located in Richmond and were called the Richmond Shipyards. Together, these four Kaiser Shipyards produced 747 ships, including many of the famous Liberty ships and Victory ships—more than any other complex in the United States. Only one of these ships, the SS Red Oak Victory, survives. Kaiser also produced the Casablanca-class escort carriers.
Three other shipyards were located across the Columbia River from each other at Ryan Point in Vancouver, Washington and in the St. Johns area of Portland, Oregon as part of the Oregon Shipbuilding Corporation group, and at Swan Island in Portland.
Henry Kaiser was known for developing new methods of ship building, which allowed his yards to outproduce other similar facilities and build 1,490 ships, 27 percent of the total Maritime Commission construction. Kaiser's ships were completed in two-thirds the time and a quarter the cost of the average of all other shipyards. Liberty ships were typically assembled in a little over two weeks, and one in less than five days.
Kaiser Shipyards shut down at the end of the war. The Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park was dedicated October 25, 2000 on the site of one of the shipyards in Point Richmond.
Now back to the treatment of veterans. I have been to the VA in Lyons NJ and found it to be a half step above a butcher shop. Staffed with foreign born doctors our vets have no connection with these people or shared experiences. I watched a Chinese Doctor bark orders to Vietnam vets with little manners. These are the same Vietnam vets who were killing Chinese soldiers in Vietnam. I could personally see the trauma in their eyes. The VA hires these docs to fuck with our vets I believe. The place was dirty and reminded me of a run down mental institution vs a modern hospital. Unfortunately our vets are viewed as disposable assets vs human beings. Once their function is performed they are discarded. The sacrifice of all vets is not forgotten by me. You deserve better.