Medals and recognition for civilian mariners who have served in support of the nation’s armed forces in conflicts and certain peacetime efforts are offered by the Maritime Administration (MARAD).
Medals for Mariners
As part of its outreach activities, the Maritime Administration (MARAD) awards medals and war zone ribbon bars to civilian mariners who support the nation’s armed forces in conflict, as well as during peacetime when contributions are significant.
More than 350,000 medals and war zone ribbons have been distributed to eligible merchant mariners for approved conflicts.
MMA alumnus Roger Mercaldi, Jr. ’66 learned of the program, and after submitting qualifying documents, received the Vietnam Service Medal.
“I had heard there was a medal but had not received one, so I contacted MARAD (see info at article end),” he says. “I emailed a copy of my Certificate of Discharge to Merchant Seaman, which must say Nature of Voyage ‘Foreign,’ for service regarding Vietnam, and I received a medal in two days.”
MARAD administers awards and recognition that span conflicts from World War II, Korea, and Vietnam to Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, and Operations Restore Hope and United Shield and related operations in Somalia.
A new award, the Merchant Mariner of World War II Congressional Gold Medal, was recently signed into law by the President and will be created by the U.S. Mint and awarded by the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Capt. Dru DiMattia ’88 is Vice President of the American Merchant Marines Veterans and was involved in helping encourage action in Congress that resulted in the new award. So too, were members of the American Maritime Partnership, a coalition that represents the U.S. domestic maritime industry.
The new medal is in addition to a variety of awards designated for World War II-era conflicts and geographies.
Immediate families of deceased mariners are also eligible to apply for and receive a medal to hold in honor of their maritime awardee.
“Please get the word out to other MMA alumni,” says Mercaldi. “There must be many grads who have no idea they are entitled to these medals for their service to the Nation.”
Learn about the awards and instructions for applications: maritime.dot.gov/outreach/mariner-medals or contact Deveeda Midgette, Maritime Awards Officer, Office of Sealift Support; Deveeda.Midgette@dot.gov; 202-366-2354.█