United States Merchant Marine Veterans of World War II
PO Box 629, San Pedro, CA 90733
310-519-9545, fax 310-519-0265,
Website on the Internet -- http://www.lanevictory.org/

Publishes monthly newspaper The Anchor Light
- e-mail contact: frances@thronson.net
The USMMVWWII is a Non-Profit, Tax Exempt Corp. All donations or material contributions are deductible as may be allowed by the IRS.

Board Members
President Allen Thronson
First Vice President Clint Johnson
Second Vice President Ernie Barker
Secretary Bob Simpson
Treasurer John Struyk
President Emeritus Joe Vemick
Director Thom Hendrickson

Brief Outline of the U.S. Merchant Marine Veterans Aboard SS Lane Victory
By Thom Hendrickson

The men and women operating the SS Lane Victory are volunteers with a great love of the sea and with great pride in their ship. These veterans of the US Merchant Marine sailed these cargo ships, Liberty ships and Victory ships and tankers and delivered the food, fuel, medicine, war material, tanks, trucks, guns, etc. to the troops wherever they were throughout the world during World War II. They sailed the seven seas from the North Atlantic to the Mediterranean sea and from the Pacific Ocean to the shores of the Indian Ocean. The white caps you see on the ocean are the "head-stones" over the graves of our brothers.

Today our crew, in the engine room, on deck, in the galley and our office staff are all volunteers. We serve with pleasure aboard the SS Lane Victory. Become a volunteer on the Lane Victory and JOIN THE FUN!
Contact the USMMVWWII headquarters.

USMMVWWII Chapters

East Coast Chapter
E.J. Heins, Jr., 1328 N. Relyea Ave.
Charleston, SC 29412
843-795-1827
ejevaheins@msn.com

Sanford FL Group
A. Dave Eslick, 3780 Branch Ave.
Mt. Dora, FL 32757-4504
352-735-0865

East Central FL Group
Frank Libratore, 7133 Timber Dr.
Winter Park, FL 32792-7243
407-678-2190

Space Coast FL Group
Otto Marchica, 320 Patrick Ave.
Merritt Island, FL 32953
407-452-6511

Tampa, St. Petersburg FL Group
Luigi Sorace, 1450 Wilson Rd.
Clearwater, FL 33755
721-447-1478

John F. Cromer Chapter
Bob Baldwin
7640 Middle Channel Dr.
Harsens' Island, MI 48028
810-748-3605

Canton Hall Of Fame Chapter
Robert R. Hahn
3771 Tallmadge Rd.
Roots Town, OH 44272
330-325-9657

Wichita Kansas Chapter
Glen E. Trimble, 1725 Woodrow Ct.
Wichita, KS 67203
316-263-7112
g_trim@msn.com

Texas Chapter
Robert E. Thornton
3003 Castlewood
Houston, TX 77025
713-665-1276

William Kellet Chapter, Denver Colorado
Dan Manley
6375 S. Sycamore St.
Littleton, CO 80120
303-794-4658

Western Slope Colorado Chapter
Don Redfield, 2690 Paradise Way
Grand Junction, CO 81506
970-242-4368

Hawaii Rep. Dean Beaumont 75-5851 Kuakini Highway, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

BRIEF HISTORY OF U.S. MERCHANT MARINE VETERANS OF WORLD WAR II
by Joseph Vernick, President Emeritus

The U.S. Merchant Marine Veterans of World War II (USMMVWWII), was conceived and founded in 1944-1945. The organization's former President, Mr. Abe Rapaport, was a merchant seaman on a ship in England, whose crew volunteered along with other merchant mariners, to sail old freighters across the English Channel under the fiercest of enemy fire from German shore batteries and their Luftwaffe aircraft. The ships were scuttled to create a protective barrier for the allied invasion of Normandy. This tactical maneuver was called the "Mulberry Operation." After the war ended, the USMMVWWII continued as a small organization on the East Coast until 1972. They relocated on the West Coast in Seal Beach, California.

In 1980-1981, the USMMVWWII was re-organized and the official publication, "Anchor Light," was published. Mr. Joseph Vernick became a member of the organization in 1982, and was elected Secretary of the organization. He established correspondence to (then) President Ronald Reagan and various Congressmen, Senators, Governors, the Secretary of Transportation, Secretary of the Navy and numerous Flag Officers of the U.S. Navy. The foremost goals of the USMMVWWII were to gain official recognition from the U.S. government and to obtain full veteran's status.

In 1986, Mr. Vernick was elected President of the USMMVWWII. In 1986, he had the pleasure of meeting and interfacing with Congressman Glenn M. Anderson of the 32nd District of California. On behalf of the USMMVWWII, Congressman Anderson introduced Bill Number HR 2032 for the acquisition of a World War II cargo vessel to be established as a Memorial Museum dedicated to the USMMVWWII and the U.S. Navy Armed Guard.

On May 7, 1987, Messrs., John O. Smith, Vice President and D.E. Rapaport, Secretary, USMMVWWII, accompanied by Mr. Vernick, testified before the Subcommittee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries. The Chairman of the committee was Congressman Glenn M. Anderson. There were many other representatives on the committee, namely Congressman Mario Biaggi and Congresswoman Helen Delich Bently, et al. Mr. Vernick testified in favor of passing HR 2032, a Bill to designate the SS Lane Victory as a memorial ship. He also gave testimony in favor of passing HR 1430 for medals and awards, along with HR 1235 for official recognition and veterans benefits for Merchant Seamen who served on the high seas during the war. Numerous maritime unions, groups, and private individuals supported these three Bills. Our organization, along with other maritime organizations are proud to have been instrumental in accomplishing these goals.

In March 1988, the Honorable Glenn M. Anderson won unanimous passage of his Bill, HR 2032. This Bill, conveyed full title of the SS Lane Victory a World War II cargo vessel, to the USMMVWWII. It was located at Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet in Benicia, California at that time. A few months later (then) United States Senators Pete Wilson and Alan Cranston of California along with the assistance of Senator Ernest Hollings of South Carolina passed Bill HR 2032 in the U.S. Senate.

On October 18, 1988, (then) President Ronald Reagan signed the congressional act of conveying the SS Lane Victory to the USMMVWWII, a non-profit, tax exempt corporation. On June 7, 1989, the Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration conveyed the "pink slip" (Deed of Gift), transferring the SS Lane Victory from the reserve fleet to USMMVWWII. In addition to granting the USMMVWWII the title of the ship, a provision provided the organization to obtain spare parts from other Victory Ships which are still in "moth-balls", at the reserve fleet. Heavy barge cranes were provided by the Mare Island Navy Yard and the Maritime Administration. Captain James S. Nolan, is an honorable member of the USMMVWWII. He holds commissions in the U.S. Naval Reserve, and the U.S. Merchant Marine. He was instrumental in arranging with the U.S. Navy, Military Sealift Command (MSC). to provide the Seagoing Tug Narragansett, to tow the SS Lane Victory to San Pedro, California. The ship arrived in Los Angeles Harbor on June 12,1989, where it was berthed at Pier 53. Refurbishment and restoration of the vessel was started by hundreds of volunteers.

The SS Lane Victory was built in Los Angeles in 1944, and returned home after 44 years. It served with distinction and valor in the latter part of World War II, (Korea, Chosin Reservoir Operation), and Vietnam. It was named after Isaac Lane, a black man who rose from slavery to become a Bishop in the Methodist Episcopal Church and founded Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee in 1882. His granddaughter christened the ship in 1945.

The USMMVWWII membership is open to all former and current merchant mariners, and to all men and women who are interested in the preservation of this floating memorial. It is dedicated to the thousands of mariners who paid the supreme sacrifice while engaged in maritime service during war time conditions. Annual membership dues for membership in the USMMVWWII, is $36.00 for former merchant mariners; and $28.00 for (non-voting) associate members. Associate members will automatically be awarded full membership after a two year probationary period. Life Memberships are available for $500.00. Life members receive many benefits and perks, along with a beautiful hand engraved certificate and a special membership card. Our monthly newsletter, will keep you informed of all our activities and our constant dialogue with Government officials in Washington, D.C.

The spouses of Life Members, are included in memberships. All the revenue generated from the life memberships go toward the constant restoration and refurbishing of the ship. All workers in the USMMVWWII are volunteers, and receive no monetary compensation. The SS Lane Victory receives no financial support from the U.S. Government. Therefore, no tax money is used for the maintenance or operation of the ship. The ship welcomes any support offered by various oil companies, civic organizations, other maritime industries and individuals.

On December 14, 1990, the Department of Interior, National Park Service, designated the SS Lane Victory as a National Historic Landmark. In 1994 the Los Angeles Harbor Department and Harbor Commissioners built a permanent home for the ship at Berth 94, next to the World Cruise Terminal and the Catalina Terminal in San Pedro, California. The ship is subject to vigorous inspections and must abide by all rules and regulation enforced by the United States Coast Guard. The entire ship's crew must have current documents issued by the U. S. Coast Guard.

A cruise on this ship is an unforgettable experience. The ship is in pristine condition, with all of the Naval guns in place, just as they were during the war. Come visit this historical vessel at Berth 94 in San Pedro, CA. Call for information on our annual one day cruise to Catalina. Take a cruise with us and we will promise you a most exciting and unique experience. The S. S. Lane Victory is the location site for numerous motion pictures, TV shows and commercials.

The USMMVWWII is a Non-Profit, Tax Exempt Corp. All donations or material contributions are deductible as may be allowed by the IRS.

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