Climax and Closure

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A graduation book for classes finishing in

October, November and December, 1944

Frank L. McGuire Maritime Library

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     When the last class graduated from Fort Trumbull on April 30, 1946, 15,473 officer candidates had completed the four-month training curriculum that began on September 1, 1942. 

     Although the war had ended the previous September, Merchant Marine officers and seamen were still needed to handle the return of three and a half million troops from Europe and Asia, quantities of materiel, and eventually thousands of war brides, other non-combatants, and refugees.  

     But the ship traffic still moved in both directions: in the aftermath of war the Merchant Marine carried relief cargoes - food, clothing, medical supplies, farm implements, dairy cattle, and much else - for beleaguered civilian populations in devastated countries.  

Images Below

     A memorial at Fort Trumbull bore the names of 125 graduates who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving their country in the Merchant Marine.  

     This image of the  official flag of the U.S. Maritime Service is from the privately managed website "American Merchant Marine at War," which provides dozens of links to information about the history of the Merchant Marine.  The 200-year sequence of triumph vs. decline that characterizes that history is reflected in the title of one of the chapters:  "U.S. Maritime Service: the Forgotten Service."  A concise narrative of the achievements of the Maritime Service, created in 1938 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt when war seemed imminent, included the vast training program of which the Fort Trumbull school was but one part.  

     The Fort Trumbull school's operations were transferred to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point in 1946, and the last of the Maritime Service training bases were closed in 1954.  Today the Academy at Kings Point and the six state or regional maritime academies (California, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Texas A&M, and Great Lakes) continue to provide maritime training and education under the authority of the Maritime Administration (MARAD) in Washington, DC.