Congressman John Garamendi

Representing the 3rd District of California
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Congressman John Garamendi Honors World War II Merchant Marine Veterans

September 18, 2018
Press Release

September 18, 2018

Congressman John Garamendi Honors World War II Merchant Marine Veterans

VALLEJO, CA – Yesterday, Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, Davis, Yuba City, CA), a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee and the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, awarded commendations to local veterans of the World War II Merchant Marine: Bill Fairfield of Dixon, Bob Ulrich of Davis, Frank Mendez of Concord, and Harold Wagner of San Roman. Richard Romo, from Fairfield, could not attend but was also recognized. The commendations were given during a series of maritime events at the California State University Maritime Academy in Vallejo. Throughout the Second World War, American armed forces in both theaters relied on Merchant Mariners to ferry goods and cargo. These mariners faced the highest casualty rate of any armed service. Mr. Garamendi has introduced H.R.5879, a bill to award these mariners a Congressional Gold Medal—one of the highest honors in the United States.

“We could not have won the Second World War without the bravery of our Merchant Mariners, who risked their lives on Liberty Ships to bring our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines the resources they needed to sustain the fight,” said Garamendi. “Their contribution to our success is often unsung, and it’s always an honor to meet with these veterans and get the chance to honor them for their service. I was thrilled to present Mr. Fairfield and Mr. Ulrich with commendations, and it is my sincere hope that I will be able to present them with a Congressional Gold Medal in the coming months.”

Garamendi presented the commendations during a full day of events, including: a meeting with maritime industry stakeholders from across the country; delivering a keynote speech at a luncheon hosted by The Propeller Club; receiving the “Champion of Maritime” award from the American Maritime Partnership; and a roundtable on blue technologies, which can improve the capabilities of both commercial and security operations at sea.

“Events like the ones we had today will go a long way toward rebuilding our domestic maritime industry, including revitalizing the shipyards at Mare Island and promoting job growth and innovation in the blue technology sector,” said Garamendi. “Both our economy and national security is heavily dependent on our maritime strength, and I’m committed to doing everything in my power to support our maritime industries.”

A photo of Mr. Garamendi with the WWII veterans is available here.