A busy couple of weeks at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy
Like most colleges across the nation in early September, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY, has seen a burst of activity in the past couple of weeks. And although I'm sure many Academy fans would rather hear about the Mariners' 27-20 win over the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Bears in last weekend's football matchup, I'll lead off with a few words about Acceptance Day.
This year's Plebe Class officially arrived at Kings Point on July 2 and began a rigorous, 18-day regimen of academic, military, and physical training known as Indoctrination -- their first step toward becoming future leaders and licensed maritime officers. I look forward to seeing them graduate in 2017 as the next generation of American leaders to serve the nation’s marine transportation and defense needs for decades to come.
On September 7, the Kings Point community proudly welcomed 237 plebe candidates of the Class of 2017 into the Regiment of Midshipmen. After completing their plebe summer with the determination expected of soon-to-be midshipmen, these fine young men and women took the Academy oath.
They were then promptly sworn into the U.S. Navy Reserve by Vice Admiral Robin R. Braun, Chief of Navy Reserve, commander, Navy Reserve Force. Upon graduating, Kings Pointers must serve five years on active-duty in the military or work in the maritime industry for five years coupled with eight years in the reserves.
VADM Braun reminded the Class of 2017 that, “U.S. Merchant Marine Academy graduates have distinguished themselves during times of peace and war. Whether though military service or industry, Kings Point graduates continue to make a lasting difference to our nation.”
A week later, the Academy was happy to welcome U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx for his first visit to campus. And he couldn't have picked a better day.
Because, not only was the weather stunning; but the Mariners defeated traditional rivals the Coast Guard Academy Bears at Brooks Stadium to take home the Secretaries' Cup--for the 13th time in the last 16 years.
Congratulations to all of the coaches and players for their strong showing.
I hope Secretary Foxx was as pleased to visit on such an auspicious day as we were to host him on his first trip to Kings Point. And we look forward to seeing him again soon.
RADM James A. Helis, PhD, is Superintendent of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.