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Fourth District veteran receives Congressional Gold Medal

PRESS RELEASE

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Bruce Westerman (AR-04) attended the Congressional Gold Medal award ceremony for Mr. Bobby Gene “Bob” Ross, a World War II United States Merchant Marine Veteran, in Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol. Rep. Westerman issued the following statement:

“Mr. Ross is a shining example of the American Spirit,” said Rep. Westerman. “His decision to serve our country in one of its greatest times of need, at the tender age of 14, is inspirational and extraordinary. Mr. Ross is a true patriot and I am proud to see him honored today for his courageous service.”

Mr. Bob Ross joined the Merchant Marines in 1942, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He served in the South Pacific and Atlantic, where he earned the South Pacific Victory Medal, the Pacific War Zone Bar, and the Atlantic War Zone Bar. Mr. Ross will celebrate his 94th birthday in June.

Background

The U.S. Merchant Marines serve in times of peace and war to serve America’s maritime transportation and defense needs. The Merchant Marines suffered the highest rate of casualties of any service branch in WWII, with one in 26 mariners dying in the line of duty. About 12,000 members were injured or taken prisoner.

Merchant Mariners did not receive Veteran status until 1988 and, until today, never received national recognition through a Congressional Gold Medal.

Watch the ceremony in full here.

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