United States Maritime Service

United States Maritime Service

Government Agency
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United States Maritime Service

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The United States Maritime Service, abbreviated as USMS, was established in 1938 under the provisions of the Merchant Marine Act of 1936. The mission of the organization is to train people to become officers and crewmembers on merchant ships that form the United States Merchant Marine. Heavily utilized during World War II, the USMS has since been largely dissolved and/or absorbed into other federal departments, but its commissioned officers continue to function as administrators and instructors at several maritime academies.

Current role

The U.S. Maritime Service falls under the authority of the Maritime Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation. The Commandant of the United States Maritime Service is the Maritime Administrator, and also serves as the Director of the National Shipping Authority and the Chairperson of the Maritime Subsidy Board. The Secretary of Transportation may determine the number of individuals in the service, set the rates of pay, prescribe the service's uniform, and create and issue awards for the service. By law, the U.S. Maritime Service's rank structure must be the same as that of the U.S. Coast Guard, but uniforms worn are those of the U.S. Navy with distinctive USMS insignia and devices.

The Maritime Service is a "voluntary organization" and is not one of the seven uniformed services of the United States.<ref...
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