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Deputy Transportation Secretary Jackson Presents Medals For Operation Enduring Freedom/ Iraqi Freedom

Washington D.C. (USTCNS) --- U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation Michael P. Jackson today presented Merchant Marine Expeditionary Medals to the officers and crew of the MV Cape Washington at a shipboard ceremony in Baltimore, MD. The Merchant Marine Expeditionary Medal is awarded to those who serve on U.S.-flag ships in support of operations involving American and allied military forces.

"The maritime community has served America with great distinction during every major crisis in our Nation’s history, and the mariners who crew the ships are the cornerstone of this effort," said Mr. Jackson. "From the Revolutionary War, through both World Wars, the Korean War and up to today, our mariners have willingly defended and served this nation with enthusiasm and valor."

The Cape Washington took materiel and supplies to American troops for Operations Enduring Freedom/ Iraqi Freedom, and the ship and crew have recently returned from the Middle East. The maritime industry has played a vital role in the war against terrorism and current military operations. More than 80 percent of the materiel that was moved to the Middle East arrived on American-flag vessels, including the Department of Transportation’s Ready Reserve Force (RRF) ships.

The Cape Washington belongs to the Ready Reserve Force (RRF), a fleet of 68 ships owned by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration. Forty ships of the RRF participated in the recent conflict. The ships are all crewed by American merchant mariners who volunteered for this potentially hazardous duty. American merchant mariners have supported U.S. military action since colonial times, traveling into harm's way to transport materiel and supplies to the armed forces. For this conflict, the mariners not only volunteered to go into a war zone on unarmed ships, but they also volunteered to take anthrax and smallpox inoculations to protect them against possible biological weapons. In all more than 5,000 U.S. merchant mariners participated in these operations, including 73 midshipmen from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.

Maritime Administrator Capt. William Schubert applauded the patriotism of the returning mariners, "We greatly appreciate the efforts of our mariners and their willingness to serve our Nation. Our mariners are great team players and their contributions directly contributed to the success of Operation Iraqi Freedom, " said Schubert.

The Department of Transportation looks forward to similarly honoring all returning RRF mariners with a presentation of medals upon return to the United States.

Office of Public Affairs - transcom-pa@mail.mil
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