you were right on as I remember it. I was a 20mm pointer on the liberty and victory ships that I served on. My loader on the ships was a trained merchant seaman (trained by me)or a Navy signalman. Merchant crew not on ship duty during
combat also served as ammo passers or spotters.
I had a merchant seaman loader who was just
14 yrs. old who was one of my best friends. We all ate out of the same gallery. When we would go on liberty together some of the merchant seaman would insist on picking up the tab. No collection was ever taken up and no Navy guys expected it that I know of. The only booze that got on board was at Iwo Jima or Saipan when
our Navy boatswain got it smuggled on with other
supplies. We shared this with some of our merchant buddies. But this was short lived as the Captian got wind of it and then all hell broke loose from our gunnery officer. On ships manned by foreign crews which our Navy Armed Guard served on. Things were different. In one of my gunnery officers reports was a statement that he was concerned about life boats being available for the Navy gun crew after the Captain gave orders to abandon ship. This report was before I got on and not a foreign ship. In the early part of the Armed Guard being put aboard merchant ships a lot of kinks had to be worked out and one of them was the gunnery officer. Some interesting reading on this. I am very proud to have served with my shipmates of the merchant marine and Navy Armed Guard. Thanks Rick and keep up the good work. I was like your father and as Fran said nobody asked me. Until a few years ago and then a H.S. girl asked me. I found myself with a blank except for my discharge paper,thank you from Pres.Truman and Adm. Hull and a ribbon bar showing I served in all theaters. Thanks to Tom, Lolyd, Roy, Fran and many others I have medals, combat ribbon, gunnery officers reports, ship logs and a more up todate record of my Navy career. The Merchant Marines served there country the same as we did in time of need. I'm very pleased that our veteran orginations have welcomed them to join us. Hold your heads high fellow shipmates. You got us through many rough seas and battles.