Hoeven Awards Congressional Gold Medal to WWII Merchant Mariner Pat Effertz

VELVA, N.D. – At a ceremony at the American Legion today, Senator John Hoeven honored Pat Effertz, a World War II veteran from Velva, by presenting him with the Congressional Gold Medal for his service as a U.S. Merchant Mariner. Effertz enlisted as a Merchant Mariner in 1943 and deployed in 1944 as a Second Class Engineer responsible for the cargo ship’s oil. While deployed, his ship embarked on multiple trips carrying Army battalions, large vehicles and equipment. 

Hoeven cosponsored legislation to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the U.S. Merchant Mariners of World War II in honor of their vital work during the war. Congress approved legislation that was signed into law in 2020. 

“The courage and bravery displayed by the Greatest Generation was unlike any other,” said Hoeven. “I am honored to present the Congressional Gold Medal to Pat and recognize his heroic service to our country. We live in the greatest nation this world has ever known thanks to our tremendous servicemembers such as Pat, a life-long North Dakotan.”

During World War II, Merchant Mariners traveled through the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans and were instrumental in the transoceanic transportation of military and civilian personnel and materials pivotal in the Allied victory. Merchant ships faced danger from mines, enemy submarines, ships and aircraft. Approximately 9,300 mariners were killed during the course of the war, one of the higher per-capita casualty rates among branches of the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II. 

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