"This is Sheepshead Bay" by John L. Beebe, Captain, USNR, Superintendent

[Excerpts] The wartime record of the U. S. Maritime Service Training Station at Sheepshead Bay, N Y is one that the nation may view with pride.

It is well to remember too that the men who have trained and will train at this and other Maritime Service stations are among the heroes of the war. Their valorous deeds are a glowing chapter, a fitting addition to the proud record of the American Merchant Marine.

Sheepshead Bay trainee group
Photo of Section 293, June 26, 1945

This is Sheepshead Bay
. . . in 1942 came the change that spread Sheepshead Bay's name across the world, into every port where seamen go, across the thousands of miles of supply line to every fighting front of the United Nations.

Shortly after Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Coast Guard purchased 125 acres of property on the eastern tip of Brooklyn, New York, for a huge training center. Seventy-six acres were set aside for the Sheepshead Bay Maritime Service station. . . The Maritime Service property was still a mire of muddy paths and partly constructed buildings on Sept. 1, 1942, when the first sections of trainees entered the gates. On Dec. 5 the station shipped out its first graduate.

Sheepshead Bay is a city within a city, larger by far than the home towns of millions of Americans. The station is geared to a capacity of 10,000 trainees, and has an annual output of more than 35,000. Its men come from every state of the Union, and for many of the apprentice seamen who enter its gates, the waters that surround the station on three sides are the first salt water they have ever seen.

The training program is explained on the following pages, written in the spirit of trainees typical of the thousands who have come, learned and shipped from this station to action on the seven seas.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Statement on the Opening of Sheepshead Bay:
It is with a feeling of great pride that I send my heartiest congratulations and best wishes to the officers and men of the new U. S. Maritime Service Training Station at Sheepshead Bay. New York. Ten thousand apprentice seamen in training at one station is a magnificent achievement, and the entire country joins me in wishing you every success and in paying tribute to you men of the Merchant Marine who are so gallantly working and fighting side by side with our Army and Navy to defend the way of life which is so dear to us all.
New York Times, December 13, 1942, Heaving Line Newsletter (USMS Sheepshead Bay,) January 1, 1943.

[Photo of Class 293, June 26, 1945, courtesy of John Kalkow, last row, first on right]

The U. S. Maritime Service was set up in 1938 under provisions of the Merchant Marine Act of 1936. Its purpose is to train officers and men for an adequate Merchant Marine. From July 1, 1941 to March 1, 1942 jurisdiction was under the U.S. Maritime Commission. From February 28, 1942 the U. S. Coast Guard, under Executive Order 9083, administered the training under the direction of the U.S. Maritime Commission. In July 11, 1942, Presidential Executive Order 9198 transferred operation of the Maritime Service to the War Shipping Administration, Admiral Emory Land, Administrator. A Division of Training was established under Admiral Land.

Outline of Training Program
U.S. Maritime Service


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