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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Transcript: Maritime Administrator Rear Admiral Ann Phillips Presents WWII Merchant Mariner With CGM

Thursday, August 4, 2022



Thank you for joining us today.
During the Second World War, our Nation’s heroic merchant mariners suffered a casualty rate higher than any military branch. 
At great peril, the U.S. Merchant Marine delivered the weapons and supplies our Armed Forces required to topple tyranny.
We at the Maritime Administration make it our mission to honor the bravery and sacrifice of those merchant mariners who sailed into harm’s way in defense of democracy.  Such incredible service by American merchant mariners continues today (and every day) in service to the nation’s economic and national security, carrying on the Greatest Generation’s traditions of merchant mariners’ sacrifices from World War II
Today, we gather to recognize one such hero: Mr. Thomas H. Reilly.
We bestow upon him the Honorable Service Button, the Merchant Marine Emblem, the Victory Medal, as well as the Truman Presidential Testimonial Letter. 
Mr. Reilly earned these awards for his maritime service during the end of World War II. We  also present Mr. Reilly with the recently unveiled WWII Congressional Gold Medal Award for his immeasurable contributions despite great personal risk.
Mr. Reilly sailed as a midshipman and later graduated from the United States Merchant Marine Academy. He went on to serve in the Korean War on tanker vessels. He rose to the rank of Lieutenant Commander  in the Naval Reserves,
The sea and ships live in his blood, as the son of a shipbuilder of the famed “Wonder Ship,” better known as the Titanic. He was also a proud  member of the Masters, Mates and Pilots Union.
I hereby present Lieutenant Commander Thomas H. Reilly with these medals in recognition of his service and express our gratitude for his service from July 17, 1944, to February 03, 1945. 

Please join me in one final recognition to Mr. Reilly and all of the Merchant Mariners who served our Great Nation to achieve ultimate victory in World War II, for as President Roosevelt stated:
“[Mariners] in this war have written one of its most brilliant chapters. They have delivered the goods when and where needed in every theater of operations and across every ocean in the biggest, the most difficult and dangerous transportation job ever undertaken. As time goes on, there will be greater public understanding of our merchant fleet's record during this war.” (President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, September 19, 1944)