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United Seamen's Service honors MTMC's work

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ALEXANDRIA, Va., (USTCNS) --- Special honors have been bestowed upon the Military Traffic Management Command from the United Seamen's Service.

MTMC has received the organization's special USS Admiral of the Ocean Sea award for its maritime operations supporting military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The award was presented to Maj. Gen. Ann Dunwoody, Commanding General, in a ceremony Nov. 7, in New York City.

The award to MTMC is only the third the organization has presented in its 34-year history. Two previous award recipients include the U.S. Transportation Command and the Military Sealift Command. The presentation is separate from the organization's annual award presentation for maritime achievement.

"I am truly humbled and touched to be among you because I know you are patriots tried and true," said Dunwoody. "Many of you are military veterans … heroes in your own right … who once again answered the call by working day and night to push forward the equipment and supplies that gave Gene ral (Tommy) Franks, the U.S. Central Command commander, the flexibility to strike early and to win decisively in South West Asia."

The annual event benefits the United Seamen's Service, a non-profit organization that provides community support to the U.S. Merchant Marine, the U.S. Armed Forces and seafarers from around the world.

United Seamen's Service honored MTMC for "the extraordinary role it played in the nation's ability to project and sustain combat power that led to a swift and successful victory and freedom for the people of Iraq."

"Much of the success, both in Iraq and Afghanistan, stems from the bonds that (MTMC) has forged with the U.S.-flag shipping industry," said the statement.

United Seamen's Service also honored U.S. merchant mariners for their service in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Dunwoody praised the work of the commercial shipping industry and members of the merchant marine.

"Many outsiders do not appreciate how much of our National Military Strategy is dependent on the patriotism and capability of the maritime industry," said Dunwoody. "You truly are the workhorse that gets us to the war and back."

"I am blessed to be part of an organization that is also filled with hard-working dedicated men and women who answered the call."

MTMC is about half the size it was in 1990-1991 in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, she said.

"With only 214 active duty military folks in the organization, we relied on 2,000-plus Reservists and civilians to step up to the plate to operate at 26 different seaports and 13 power projection platforms," said Dunwoody.

"In the early deployment stages, it looked like you could have walked on a steel bridge over the Atlantic with 157 ships underway. The speed at which these vessels were loaded would not have been possible without the tremendous support of the many port authorities, stevedoring companies and the longshoremen doing the heavy lifting."

Dunwoody called merchant marine members the "unsung heroes of our nation's wars."

"The many hundreds of United States civilian mariners directly supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom also answered the call?willing to sail into harm's way," said Dunwoody.

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