Original U.S. WWII Merchant Marine Flag - 44" x 67"
Original Item: Only One Available. The United States Merchant Marine refers to either United States civilian mariners, or to U.S. civilian and federally owned merchant vessels. Both the civilian mariners and the merchant vessels are managed by a combination of the government and private sectors, and engage in commerce or transportation of goods and services in and out of the navigable waters of the United States. The Merchant Marine primarily transports cargo and passengers during peacetime; in times of war, the Merchant Marine can be an auxiliary to the United States Navy, and can be called upon to deliver military personnel and materiel for the military. Merchant Marine officers may also be commissioned as military officers by the Department of Defense. This is commonly achieved by commissioning unlimited tonnage Merchant Marine officers as Strategic Sealift Officers in the United States Navy Reserve.
During World War II, the U.S. Merchant Marine ships with deck guns had United States Navy Armed Guard to man the guns. Some Armed Guard personnel also served as Radiomen and Signalmen. The Navy gun crews were assisted by ship's crew, though the merchant mariner's training in gunnery and combat role was ignored for years. Specific instructions as to merchant crew manning of guns and training they should receive was issued by the War Shipping Administration which operated all U.S. merchant ships either directly or through agents during the war. At wars end 144,857 men would serve in the Navy Armed Guard on 6,200 ships.
This is a very nice World War Two Era U.S. Merchant Marine flag, in a nice displayable 44" x 67" size, about 3.67 x 5.5 feet. The flag body is of multi-piece cotton construction, with the design made up of separate pieces sewn onto the flag. The center of the flag has a lovely 'V' shaped (for Victory) eagle, with U S and MERCHANT MARINE on the chest area over an anchor. This is then surrounded by 13 yellow stars in a circle, for the original 13 colonies. It has metal grommets at both ends of the header as well as one in the middle for flying the flag. From what we can tell, there were not much in the way of "official" flags during WWII for the Merchant Marine, so this was most likely custom made.
The flag does show some wear, and there are some areas of tearing and holes. It has stained a bit, and there is overall age toning to the white portions, which are now somewhat beige. It looks like the banner and anchor on the breast of the eagle may have once been colored red and gold, respectively, but are now faded.
A great service worn Merchant Marine flag from WWII, ready to display!
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