On Monday, President Donald J. Trump will sign an executive order to help sea veterans seamlessly transition into the United States Merchant Marine. By simultaneously expanding veteran opportunities for great jobs at great wages while strengthening our Merchant Marine, this action embodies a key principle of the Trump administration: economic security is national security.
The civilian men and women of the United States Merchant Marine who pilot sealift vessels represent a mission-critical component of United States military readiness. During times of conflict, these mariners transport military goods such as tanks, helicopters, or even troops—often in hostile waters and at great personal risk.
In World War II alone, nearly 10,000 merchant mariners were killed by enemy fire and died at a rate of 1 in 26—a casualty rate higher than any branch of the United States military. Their willingness to serve and their sacrifice continue to play a vital role in America’s defense.