Poster You Bet I'm Going Back to Sea
Early 1942 poster to recruit former seamen.


Manning the Ships

When the United States entered World War II there were about 55,000 mariners.

The government recruited 200,000 for the U.S. Maritime Service Training program - mostly those too young, too old, or with physical disabilities. (Actor Peter "Lt. Colombo" Falk, who had only one eye, was a WWII mariner.)

Many recruits were high school dropouts, eager to help win the war. The merchant marine took volunteers 16 to 78 years old, and was the only racially integrated service.