US Maritime Service gunnery training
U.S. Maritime Service trainees during gunnery training on Catalina Island, CA.


Merchant Marine an Armed Force

According to President Roosevelt, mariners were "fighting side by side with our Army and Navy." Each one was assigned a battle station and passed ammunition or manned aircraft guns and cannons during battles with kamikazes, bombers, U-boats, and auxiliary cruiser.

Cadet-Midshipman Edwin O'Hara fired the last 5 shells from the Liberty ship SS Stephen Hopkins, sinking the heavily armed Nazi raider SS Stier.

O'Hara was one of many mariners killed in action who was awarded a medal for "heroism beyond the call of duty."