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Orville Sova -AMMV Member - WWII Merchant Marine Veteran, RIP

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PATTI AMMV SCAFIDI SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2015

We lost another AMMV member and WWII Veteran Merchant Mariner this week. I was
very saddened to hear of the passing of Orville Sova, AMMV SS Samuel Parker Chapter Port
of St. Louis.

I send condolences to Mr. Orville Sova's family and friends over his passing.

I got to "know" him a little bit over the last eight months through emails and a couple of
telephone conversations. He was delighted that his daughter had become so involved with
the cause that he had long almost given up on, the latest one being HR-563 Honoring our
WWII Veteran Merchant Mariners Act of 2015. He was very proud of that fact that social
media was broadcasting this very important bill and getting younger people involved in the
American Merchant Marine Organization.
Mr. Sova's story is not so different from the 120,000 or so WWII Veteran Merchant
Mariners, who have died without proper recognition from our United States Congress. In
the last year or so, even in his illness, Orvilles hope was buoyed by the fact that several of us
have banded together on social media to fight for the passage of HR563, sponsored in
Congress by Representative Janice Hahn of California. Most of the 5000 octo and
nonagenarian mariners left from WWII are embittered and have pretty much given up on
proper recognition.
What IS different though, is that publicly, Mr. Sova didn't give up, as some of his late in life
writings show.

12/9/2015 12:26 PM

Orville Sova -AMMV Member - WWII Merchant Marine Veteran, RIP

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https://www.facebook.com/notes/patti-ammv-scafidi/orville-sova-ammv...

With purpose, and I know he wouldnt mind, I share one of Mr. Sova's last letters, that he
sent to me, which was to Representative Shimkus in his district, asking him to COSPONSOR
HR563. Orville sent me a copy of Shimkus' perfunctory form letter to his first request,
(almost identical to the one I received from my congressman the first time) but more
importantly, Im sharing Orvilles reply to THAT letter.
I preface Orville's response only by saying that as many of you know-- Roosevelt loved the
Maritime Service and thanked them profusely every chance he got. The President knew that
the war could never have been won without it-- and declared his hope that the USMS would
receive benefits similar to those of the G.I. Bill, but alas, he died before the end of the war.

Roosevelt:"ThemenofourAmericanMerchantMarinehavepushedthroughdespitethe
perilsofthesubmarine,thedivebomberandthesurfaceraider.Theyhavereturned
voluntarilytotheirjobsatseaagainandagain,becausetheyrealizedthatthe
lifelinestoourbattlefrontswouldbebrokeniftheydidnotcarryouttheirvital
partinthisglobalwar...Intheirhands,ourvitalsupplylinesareexpanding.
Theirskillanddeterminationwillkeepopenthehighwaytovictoryandunconditional
surrender."
DuringthesigningoftheGIBillin1944,Rooseveltalsostated:
"ItrustCongresswillsoonprovidesimilaropportunitiestomembersofthemerchant
marinewhohaveriskedtheirlivestimeandtimeagainduringwarforthewelfareof
theircountry."
OfcourseRooseveltdiedbeforehecouldseehiswishesimplemented.
(Itwas44yearslater,andonlyafterMarinerssuedthegovernmenttomakegoodon
promisesmadetotheMerchantMarinebyPresidentRoosevelt,weretheygivenaminimal
"VeteransStatus"in1988,whichbytheway,wasmuchtoolateforthemtotake
advantageofanyoftheG.I.Bill.)

Paraphrased in only a couple of spots, Orville's response went like this:


Dear Honorable Congressman Shimkus:
Thank you for answering my inquiry about HR 563. Why do I write? Well, all of the great
military leaders during WWII---Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Macarthur, plus the leaders of all
the countries that our supply lines touched, applauded the American Merchant Marines for
their sacrifice.
I was shipmates with an Illinois seaman for seventeen months, (we were roomies as
quartermasters). His name was Frank Patoka and came from the Chicago area. He had had
been a seaman on the SS AMERICAN LEADER, which was sunk by a German Raider and the
survivors were handed over to the Japanese as prisoners. While being transferred from one
island prison to another on a Japanese ship, the "Junyo Maru", Frank then survived
another sinking by a British submarine "HMS Trade Wind" on the 28 September 1944! After
spending a couple more nights more in the water, they were taken back into the custody of
the Japanese troops.
Whenever conversation arose about his experiences in the Japanese Prisons, Frank would
put a little smirk on his face and spoke thusly: ' they were sons a bitches."

12/9/2015 12:26 PM

Orville Sova -AMMV Member - WWII Merchant Marine Veteran, RIP

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https://www.facebook.com/notes/patti-ammv-scafidi/orville-sova-ammv...

Frank weighed SIXTY-FIVE pounds when he was finally rescued by the Allied troops at the
end of the war....
Veterans!! You better believe it!! All WWII Merchant Marine people have known people
like Frank Patoka...
Mr. Sova expressed his own bitterness with Congress.
The reason we are still bitter is that along with our 'Veterans Status,' all we we were given in
1988 was promise of a flag and a cemetery plot along with "sayonara sailor."
"There is a lot of buzz on the internet and social media as we are approaching the last
opportunity for us to get benefits and reparations for the things left out of the Merchant
Marine Veteran status of WWII. We would hope you would help us achieve this action by
your support, and insisting that the House and Senate take immediate action on HR 563.
And if you see fit not to support this bill, please give me an idea I can wrestle with to pacify
myself. Thanks! Keep up the good work. Orville Sova AMMV SS Samuel Parker Chapter
Port of St Louis. You do still represent my district. Good Luck."
Sadly, like 120,000 others, Mr. Sova has passed without seeing this bill move in any
direction.
Representative Shimkus to date still has not co-sponsored HR563.
We will continue the fight, Mr. Orville Sova, AMMV SS Samuel Parker Chapter Port of St.
Louis. Thank you for your service.

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Kim Venturo, Bob Rooks and 2 others like this.
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12/9/2015 12:26 PM