The Fourth of July And American Ships

American ship-flying-US-flag

By Captain John Loftus – Around this time of year, I often ask Americans if they can name the three things the signer’s of the Declaration Of Independence pledged. Invariably, people can name first (our lives), or second (our fortunes), or both the first and second, but rarely the third, and the one I consider the most important – “Our Sacred Honor”.

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania
Related Book: Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson

One only has to look at most of the current news media on any given day, and wonder where is the “Honor”? However, step back and look, men and women of our Armed Forces constantly giving their lives, or our State and Local Police, under siege at any given moment, our Firefighters, and other rescue organizations. There are people who philanthropically give to many, volunteers who help others, people of religious orders, and others who give with honor. And those, albeit few, it seems, whose word is their bond.

The Declaration of Independence, I would argue, is the most important document of our American History. If the Magna Carter limited the English King’s power, the Declaration of Independence dismissed it entirely, once and forever! It is the singular, and foremost document, that verbalizes we are all created equal with a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And while those rights were not immediately passed to all, we have progressed, and must look forward, and continue to refine.

Oft overlooked, or unknown to many, is the fact that Thomas Jefferson, the author, wrote at length, about the abomination of slavery; unfortunately, that particular paragraph was removed by other members of the Congress.

Many of the signers, who pledged everything, ended up in abject poverty, but they never lost what cannot be taken (only surrendered) – their “sacred honor”.

How do we safeguard our liberty, and our right to exist, our “sacred honor”? We do it through strong defense, and the ability to launch a strong offence. To do this, as history has shown, over and over, we need Sea Power, along with a strong logistical ability, i.e. Merchant Ships.

In perspective, look at the fatal casualties among US Merchant Mariners during World War II, compared to other Armed Forces:

Merchant Marine: 1 in 26

Marines: 1 in 34

Army: 1 in 48

Navy: 1 in 114

Coast Guard: 1 in 421

How does an Army, or other Armed Service, move its equipment, and a myriad of other required items across oceans? Do we charter foreign ships?

Do we hire a 100 foreign LNG ships (GAO stated needs over the next 10 years) for our coastwise trade? Who, may I ask, wants an LNG ship detonated in a U.S. port by a foreign radical?

It’s time to rethink the American Merchant Marine for our welfare, our homeland security, and our ability to survive. Someone needs to put this on President Trump’s desk. Congress hasn’t done much since 1970; we need some executive action! This should be a priority in Making America Great Again.

Happy Fourth of July, 241 years onward.

Captain John Loftus is an American Master Mariner and acclaimed whistleblower with 42 years experience aboard American flagged ships.