1 Reply Latest reply on Jul 22, 2020 10:31 AM by Jason Atkinson

    Determination of grandfather's Merchant Seamen Service


      Where can I find information of qualifying service under Public Law 105-386 for my grandfather. He was a Merchant Seamen out of the Philadelphia Port?

        • Re: Determination of grandfather's Merchant Seamen Service
          Jason Atkinson Guide

          Dear Ms. Stancavage,


          Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!

          On January 19, 1988, it was determined that the service of the "American Merchant Marine in Oceangoing Service during the Period of Armed Conflict, December 7, 1941, to August 15, 1945," shall be considered "active duty" under the provisions of Public Law 95-202 for the purposes of laws administered by the Veterans Administration. Although technically not part of the United States Merchant Marine, Civil Service vessels in ocean going service or foreign waters are also included as part of this approved group.

          On November 11, 1998, Public Law 105-368 states that service during the period, August 16, 1945, to December 31, 1946, shall be considered active duty for the purpose of eligibility for certain limited veterans benefits. This law also requires that the Coast Guard collect a $30 processing fee for each application.

          To qualify and become eligible for veterans benefits, a member must not only have served within either of the two qualifying periods mentioned above, but also meet the following eligibility criteria:

          1. Was a member of the United States merchant marine (including the Army Transport Service and the Naval Transport Service) serving as a crewmember of a vessel that was…
            1. operated by the War Shipping Administration or the Office of Defense Transportation (or an agent of the Administration or Office);
            2. operated in waters other than inland waters, the great Lakes, and other lakes, bays, and harbors of the United States;
            3. under contract or charter to, or property of, the Government of the United States; and
            4. serving the Armed Forces.
          2. While serving was licensed or otherwise documented for service as a crewmember of such a vessel by an officer or employee of the United States authorized to license or document the person for such service.

          Before you can receive veterans benefits, you must first submit a DD Form 2168. This form is available from Veterans Administration Offices, Merchant Marine veterans organizations, and from the offices listed below. A copy of DD Form 2168 also may be downloaded from https://www.dco.uscg.mil/Portals/9/NMC/pdfs/records_request/dd_2168.pdf.

          Completed forms should be sent to the appropriate office:

          For Merchant Marine:

          Commanding Officer
          U.S Coast Guard - National Maritime Center
          ATTN: Records Management Branch (NMC-41)
          100 Forbes Drive
          Martinsburg, WV 25404

          For Army Transport Service:

          Army Reserve Component
          9700 Page Ave.
          St. Louis, MO 63132-5200

          For Naval Transportation Service:

          Naval Personnel Command
          Millington, TN 38054-5054


          If you are seeking a copy of his personnel file, Merchant Marine Personnel and Licensing Records dated prior to 1968 in the Records of the U.S. Coast Guard (Record Group 26) are in the custody of the National Archives at St. Louis (RL-SL). Please contact RL-SL via email at stl.archives@nara.gov. Include the name, date of birth, dates of service, "Z" number, and date of death, if known, in your request. If there is any information you do not know, you may omit it, however the more information you provide, the easier it will be for RL-SL staff to locate the correct file.


          Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RL-SL. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.


          We hope this is helpful.