The Merchant Marine and Stolen Valor

Discussion in 'Off Topic Lounge' started by RocketmanTan, Apr 2, 2015.

  1. RocketmanTan

    RocketmanTan Well-Known Member

    Now before I actually pose my question, I might as well set a bit of context. As some of you may know, I am currently enrolled at a Maritime Academy with the intention of being an officer (unlimited tonnage) in the U.S. Merchant Marine.

    Now obviously, the USMM is, generally speaking, a civilian organization and is simply an auxiliary to the navy, in the exact same way that the civil air patrol is to the air force. However, there is no uniform standard throughout the entire USMM (though obviously unions require it), and, well, it's definitely a whole lot saltier than the Navy.

    And yet, there are times when I'm required to wear the uniform of the day off-campus, and, well, it just feels weird. A good number of vets (including one 'Nam vet whom I'm good friends with, and has actually worked at the academy I attend) insist on extending their gratitude and military courtesies to me, and I can't even begin to count the times I've been given a military discount while wearing the uniform.

    However, I feel like a hack. Sure, I will no doubt be on the receiving end of potshots by pirates, and probably sail through hostile waters at times, and I do wear a uniform and undergo training overseen by CG, Navy, and MC personnel, but I do not have a CAC, just a TWIC (though apparently some Civil Air Patrol kids use their CAP IDs to get discounts :bored:), and when I retire (hopefully I won't die before that ;)), I'll be writing a letter of resignation, not signing a DD214.

    So, I guess what I'm asking is you guys' opinions on the matter, especially those of our servicemen here. Are Merchant Mariners considered to be in the same 'club' as it were as those of the uniformed services? Or are we more like postmen or cops or firemen?

    Anyways, sorry for the spiel that may or may not be incoherent, but thanks for your input!
  2. ASC Mclaren

    ASC Mclaren Member

    As a former soldier, I would say that you are wearing a required uniform, it is what it is. I would, personally say that if the uniform identifies you as a cadet, or if you can explain your status you are in no way "stealing valor", you have earned your status. Stealing Valor is intentional misrepresenting yourself, or your deeds in relation to military service. There is a FB page that is all over stolen valor, among other things. PM me for the page, if you are interested.

    I would not worry about it RMT. Keep up the good work, and good luck at the Academy!
  3. RocketmanTan

    RocketmanTan Well-Known Member

    Oh, I'm well aware of the FB page, haha. But yeah, thanks for helping to clarify! I guess my whole 'insecurity' over the whole thing would just be how often USMM and military collaborate and/or overlap, and the confusion that may ensue.
    Maybe I'm just inexperienced enough yet to see if I am deserving of all the 'thank you for your service's civs, active-duty, vets, etc. throw at me, but I guess only time will tell, eh?
  4. micahrogers

    micahrogers Active Member

    there were a many a time that I and the ship I was on were deployed and we were glad to see a MM ship coming alongside... not all under way replenishment's were "ordinary"

    as for the Stealing Valor part, I kinda feel the same about my DS/DS ribbon... I was in the Persian gulf for a total of 5 days during Desert Shield, left the ship due to injured knee and never went back... but my DD214 lists the Desert Shield / Desert Storm ribbon.... but it never felt right wearing it.
  5. RocketmanTan

    RocketmanTan Well-Known Member

    Honestly, I don't see any much difference for you, haha. You signed on with the intent to serve and put yourself in harm's way, and your knee injury was simply an unforeseen event; while you may not have been through what some of your brothers have been through, and while you may not have seen some of the things they have seen (and honestly, I for one am glad you haven't...) to me, you deserve the respect of a serviceman. You came in with the intent to serve, knowing full well what awaited you, and for that, I thank you; I also hope your knee is alright, haha
  6. zathros

    zathros -----SENIOR---- Administrator

    You should wear it. It's your right and duty. You could have died just as easily.

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