Paul Edward Hartlieb  United States Merchant Marines WWII


NAME  Paul Edward Hartlieb 
 CITY  Delphos (St. Johns High School)
March 7, 1942
 SERVICE  U.S. Merchant Marines
 SPECIALTY  Second Engineer
 RANK  Merchant Seaman
 UNIT  Merchant Ship Steel Age
 DETAILS  Missing in action or lost at sea




The Merchant Marine is a civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Navy, but not a uniformed service, except in times of war when, in accordance with the Merchant Marine Act of 1936, mariners are considered military personnel. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill into law granting veteran status to merchant mariners who served in war. Prior to such legislation, they did not receive veteran's benefits.
Talking about the Merchant Marines at the end of World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt  said:

"[Mariners] have written one of its most brilliant chapters. They have delivered the goods when and where needed in every theater of operations and across every ocean in the biggest, the most difficult and dangerous job ever undertaken. As time goes on, there will be greater public understanding of our merchant's fleet record during this war.

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Steel Age

American Steam merchant

Photo from City of Vancouver Archives, CVA 447-2714

Name Steel Age
Type: Steam merchant
Tonnage 6,188 tons
Completed 1920 - Federal Shipbuilding Co, Kearny NJ 
Owner Isthmian SS Co, New York 
Homeport New York 
Date of attack 7 Mar 1942 Nationality:      American
Fate Sunk by U-129 (Asmus Nicolai Clausen)
Position 6° 45'N, 53° 15'W - Grid EO 6625
Complement 35 (34 dead and 1 survivor).
Route Calcutta (18 Jan) - Table Bay - Trinidad - New Orleans 
Cargo Manganese ore 
History Completed in February 1920 
Notes on event

At 03.20 hours on 7 March 1942 the unescorted and unarmed Steel Age (Master Ralph Jones) was hit on the starboard side by two G7a torpedoes from U-129 about 130 miles northeast of Paramaribo, Dutch Guiana. The first torpedo hit amidships and the second between the #4 and #5 hatches, causing the ship to sink by the bow within two minutes. Eight officers and 25 crew members were lost. The sole survivor, an able seaman, jumped on a nearby life raft and was picked up by the U-boat after 20 minutes. He was landed at Lorient on 5 April and taken to the POW camp Marlag und Milag Nord near Bremen.