Tom Hanks Recognized for Works Celebrating U.S. Merchant Marine

Mike Schuler
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July 14, 2020

FILE PHOTO: Tom Hanks pictured with his wife, Rita Wilson, at the 26th Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles, California, January 19, 2020. REUTERS/Monica Almeida/File Photo

Actor Tom Hanks has been awarded the American Maritime Partnership’s American Maritime Hero Award in recognition of his work celebrating American maritime heroes.

The Oscar Award-winner has drawn global attention to the U.S. merchant marine through acclaimed works such as “Captain Phillips,” which tells story of the Maersk Alabama hijacking and kidnapping of Master Richard Phillips (Hanks), and starring in and writing the screenplay in the newly released “Greyhound.” Hanks also narrated 2011 documentary short “Boatlift – An Untold Tale of 9/11 Resilience,” telling the story of the evacuation of lower Manhattan by boat after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center.

“Greyhound”, released on AppleTV+ on July 10, tells the story of US Navy Commander Ernest Krause (Hanks) on his first Naval command mission, leading a convoy of 37 merchant marine ships across the chaotic North Atlantic while under pursuit by a squadron of German U-Boats.

“Tom Hanks’ work throughout his career reflects a deep respect for those who serve,” said Mike Roberts, President of the American Maritime Partnership. “This includes American mariners responding to the 9/11 attacks in New York, dealing with piracy off the coast of Somalia, and keeping our allies supplied during World War II. We are grateful for his work and passion in telling the stories of these unsung maritime heroes.”

As depicted in “Greyhound,” World War II merchant mariners are renowned for their bravery and contribution to the Allied victory. Earlier this year, WWII merchant mariners were honored with the Congressional Gold Medal Award, recognizing the almost 250,000 World War II merchant mariners who helped transported tens of millions of tons of war supplies and more than seven million servicemen.

As a result, the U.S. merchant marine suffered the highest casualty rate of any service during World War II. A total of 8,241 merchant mariners died in World War II, and many others were captured and became prisoners of war. Today approximately 2,000 merchant mariner heroes from World War II remain.

The American Maritime Partnership’s American Maritime Heroes Award is awarded those who have made a heroic commitment to growing, improving and supporting the U.S. domestic maritime industry.

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