“The Merchant Marine Service has repeatedly proved its right to be considered as an integral part of our fighting team. Its efforts have contributed in great part to our success.”
-Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, April 23, 1944
National Maritime Day is celebrated each year to recognize one of our country’s most important industries, and honor the sacrifices of past and present U.S. merchant mariners. President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed Maritime Day in 1933, to commemorate the first steam-assisted Trans-Atlantic crossing by the SS Savannah on May 22, 1819.
The merchant mariners of Military Sealift Command (MSC) have been a driving force for the U.S. Navy since the inception of the command as Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS) on October 1, 1949. Currently, MSC is the largest employer of U.S. merchant mariners in the United States, and works with the U.S. Maritime Administration, industry and maritime academies to ensure a viable U.S. Merchant Marine workforce.
“Our nation is proud of our 5,400 MSC mariner shipmates with a majority currently serving at sea. In peacetime, during conflict, responding to natural disasters and now during this global pandemic, our Mariners and their teammates ashore remain steadfast and committed to provide agile logistics to our Navy, support joint warfighters forward and help defend our nation,” said Rear Admiral Michael Wettlaufer, Commander, Military Sealift Command.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt highly regarded the American merchant mariner, saying in 1944, “It seems to me particularly appropriate that Victory Fleet Day this year should honor the American Merchant Marine. They have delivered the goods when and where needed in every theater of operations and across every ocean in the biggest, the most difficult and dangerous transportation job ever undertaken.”
Roosevelt proclaimed Maritime Day in 1933, to commemorate the first steam-assisted Trans-Atlantic crossing by the SS Savannah on May 22, 1819. This is a day to recognize the greatness and strategic importance of the maritime industry and the mariners dedicated to service.
The Mariners of Military Sealift Command continue to stand the watch as they have since the inception of Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS) on October 1, 1949. Through World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Desert Storm, Hurricane Katrina, 9/11, Operation Enduring Freedom, aid in the COVID-19 pandemic, and countless humanitarian missions, our mariners continue to deliver agile logistics to our Navy, and support the mission of joint warfighters worldwide.
Today, the merchant mariners of MSC continue their devotion to the warfighter during peace and at war, as they have for the past 50 years.
Military Sealift Command is responsible for 125 civilian-crewed ships that replenish U.S. Navy ships at sea, conduct specialized missions, preposition combat cargo at sea perform a variety of support services, and move military equipment and supplies to deployed U.S. forces around the world.