MoonDawg's Den: Forgotten Heroes

MoonDawg's Den

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Forgotten Heroes

Few people have heard of the merchant ship S.S. Cynthia Olson, which was sunk by a Japanese submarine 65 years ago today - December 7, 1941, the day of the Pearl Harbor attack. The unarmed steam schooner was ferrying Army supplies to Honolulu, Hawaii from Tacoma, Washington when it came under attack several hours before the Imperial Japanese Navy raided Pearl Harbor. The Cynthia Olson was the first US-flagged merchantman to be sunk by the Japanese in World War II. All 33 seamen aboard were lost, along with two US Army servicemen who were riding along.

Those 33 men were not even the first among the many in the US Merchant Marines who would give their lives during WWII; over a year earlier a merchant mariner serving on the S.S. City of Rayville drowned when the ship sank after striking a German mine off the Australian coast.

Between 6,000 to 8,000 Merchant Marines became casualties of war as they carried critical supplies across hostile seas, and 11,000 others were wounded - one out of every 26 of those who served as merchant mariners died in the line of duty, making theirs the most dangerous out of all the services during that conflict.

So as we rightly remember those lost at Pearl Harbor today, also take a moment to remember the forgotten heroes aboard the Cynthia Olson.


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