An American WWII Merchant Marine Mariner's Medal
An American WWII Merchant Marine Mariner's Medal - Metal with silver and bronze-colored gilts, 35 mm, original ribbon, missing its brooch pinback, light contact, better than very fine.Footnote: The Merchant Marine played a large role in the convoy operations in the Atlantic during the Second World War. More than 215,000 officers and men served in the Merchant Marine during the war. Of this number, 6,836 died while in service. While some of these deaths were not combat related, in most cases Merchant Mariners, all of whom were volunteers, sacrificed their lives along side their comrades in the Armed Forces. Because the Merchant Marine was not considered a branch of the Armed Forces, the Purple Heart was not available to these heroes. To solve this dilemma, the Mariner's Medal was established by an Act of Congress on May 10, 1943. Awarded only to members of the Merchant Marine, the Mariner's Medal recognizes seamen who are killed or wounded as a direct result of conflict against an opposing armed force. In all, 6,635 Mariner's Medals were awarded for service during the war. All further awards of the medal were suspended on June 30, 1956.