How fitting that the valiant members of the U.S. Merchant Marine receive their memorial at Warbird Park. This memorial would never have been placed without the support for the John Thomas Schmidt Chapter of the Palmetto Mariners of the Grand Strand, of which I am proud to be an auxiliary member.
The mariners were often maligned because of a bogus news story during WW II outlining them as mercenaries and making big bucks on the war, which was the furthest thing from the truth. As a unit during WW II, the Merchant Marine had the highest fatality rate of any organized group.
It was a pleasure to meet and get to know John Thomas Schmidt during a WW II trip to D.C. organized by Jack Platt and myself with the assistance of the local community, especially WPDE-TV for the telethon and the students at St. James High School.
Without the Merchant Marine delivering all the food, ammo and other supplies during WW II, that campaign would never have been won. Stop by and see this and the other memorials honoring our valiant service members and Warbird Park, and be grateful for their courageous service.
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Lou Krieger, Myrtle Beach