Distinguished Sailors Stamps



On Thursday February 4, 2010 the U.S. Postal Service will issue "Distinguished Sailors stamps" to honor four sailors who served with bravery and distinction during the 20th century. They are William S. Sims, Arleigh A. Burke , John McCloy, and Doris Miller.

The stamps will be unveiled in a ceremony at a First-Day-of-Issue Ceremony to be conducted at the Navy Memorial in downtown Washington, DC.


Image of 4 stamps released by the US Postal Service

Vice Admiral William S. Sims served as Commander of U.S. Naval Forces in European waters during World War I. He was an outspoken reformer and innovator who helped shape the Navy into a modern fighting force. After his service, Sims continued to write and lecture about naval reform until his death in 1936, at which time the New York Herald Tribune declared that he had "influenced our naval course more than any man who ever wore the uniform." The Navy has named three destroyers after Vice Admiral Sims. The most recent, USS W. S. Sims (DE-1059), was commissioned in 1970.

The William S. Sims stamp features a detail from a photograph of Sims (1919). Beside the photograph is a depiction of the crest of the destroyer escort USS W. S. Sims (DE-1059), which was commissioned in 1970.

Admiral Arleigh A. Burke was one of the top destroyer squadron commanders of World War II. He had an equally distinguished postwar career in which he played a major role in modernizing the Navy and guiding its response to the Cold War. When Admiral Burke died in 1996, he was hailed as a "sailor’s sailor" who defined what it meant to be a naval officer: "relentless in combat, resourceful in command, and revered by his crews."

The Arleigh A. Burke stamp features a detail from a photograph of Burke (1951). Beside the photograph is a depiction of the crest of the guided missile destroyer USS Arleigh Burke (DDG-51), which was commissioned in 1991 as the first in a whole class of destroyers.

Lieutenant Commander John McCloy was described by a shipmate as "like a bull" who couldn’t be stopped. He has the distinction of being one of the few men in the nation's history to earn two Medals of Honor for separate acts of heroism.

LCDR McCloy retired from active duty in 1928 after a thirty-year career in the Navy and "a lifetime of service on all the seven seas," as the Kansas City Star put it: "His service record notes that in 1942 he was advanced on the retired list to lieutenant commander after being specially commended by the Secretary of the Navy for performance of duty in actual combat." McCloy died in 1945.

In 1963, the Navy commissioned a destroyer escort, USS McCloy (DE-1038), which was named in his honor.

The John McCloy stamp features a detail from a photograph of McCloy (circa 1920). Beside the photograph is a depiction of the crest of the destroyer escort, USS McCloy (DE-1038), which was commissioned in 1963.

Petty Officer Doris Miller has been given the title of "the first African American hero of World War II." Petty Officer Miller became an inspiration to generations of Americans for his actions at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

Although he was only the first of a number of African Americans to be recognized for their heroism in World War II, Miller is singularly remembered for providing inspiration to a campaign for equal recognition and opportunity for Blacks in the military, a campaign that bore fruit in 1948 when President Truman ordered "that there shall be equality and opportunity for all persons in the armed forces."

The Doris Miller stamp features a detail from a photograph of Miller (1942). Beside the photograph is a depiction of the crest of the destroyer escort USS Miller (DE-1091), which was commissioned in 1973.





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