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      Merchant Marines create SC chapter

      Merchant Marines held another organizational meeting Friday in Myrtle Beach.

      Local Merchant Mariners are teaming up with those from Charleston, Mt. Pleasant and Florence to create the first Merchant Marine National Chapter in South Carolina.

      Special guest Lou Krieger, a Vietnam Veteran, spoke about his efforts to lobby for Senate Bill 663, the "Just Compensation and Belated Thank You for the WWII Merchant Marines.

      The legislation has been passed by the House, with support from 1st Congressional Representative Henry Brown.

      John Schmidt, a Merchant Mariner from Murrells Inlet, says Merchant Marines have supplied food, ammunition, first aid and other supplies to U.S. troops around the world during wars going back to the revolution. But because Merchant Marines are considered civilians, they don't receive many of the same benefits as military veterans and their history has not been told.

      Schmidt says he'd like to help get World War II-era mariners some benefits they were denied in the G.I. Bill.

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