COVID-19 restrictions and a shortage of dock workers have contributed to a backlog of cargo ships waiting to offload at U.S. ports. As of the end of September, dozens of ships were at anchor or adrift waiting to enter New York City, New Jersey, Long Beach, California, and Los Angeles ports. The backlog is causing supply-chain shortages of goods across the country and is affecting the upcoming holiday shopping season.

A possible remedy: the use of National Guard and other military personnel to help unload the ships. There are equipment operators in units within the U.S.

After a U.S. Navy enlistment and graduation from college, in June 1963 I was a new ensign aboard the USS Tanner out of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. I was assigned as the officer in charge of a navy detail designated to offload mail from a ship docked in New York City. The dock workers were on strike, so we were temporarily tasked to offload the mail.

Whenever necessary and feasible, we should utilize our available military personnel to help alleviate labor shortages in emergency situations.


Londonderry, N.H.

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