United States Merchant Marine Academy
|United States Merchant Marine Academy|
|Motto||Acta Non Verba (Latin)|
|Motto in English||Deeds not Words|
|Type||US Service Academy|
|Superintendent||RADM James A. Helis
|Dean||Dr. Shashi Kumar|
|Commandant||Capt. John C. Kennedy
|Location||Kings Point, New York,
|Campus||Suburban - 82 acres (33.2 ha)|
|Fight Song||"Kings Point Victory"
|Colors||Blue and Gray|
|Athletics||NCAA Division III - LC
MAISA LL CC MRFU
|Sports||15 varsity sports teams
(10 men's and 5 women's)
|Mascot||Salty the Seagull|
The United States Merchant Marine Academy (also known as USMMA or Kings Point) is one of the five United States Service academies. It is charged with training officers for the United States Merchant Marine, branches of the military, or the transportation industry.
Midshipmen (as students at the Academy are called) are trained in marine engineering, navigation, ship's administration, maritime law, personnel management, international law, customs, and many other subjects important to the task of running a large ship.
Between 1874 and 1936, diverse federal legislation supported maritime training through schoolships, internships at sea and other methods. A disastrous fire in 1934 aboard the passenger ship SS Morro Castle, in which 134 lives were lost, convinced the U.S. Congress that direct federal involvement in efficient and standardized training was needed.
Originally in cooperation with the State of New York (which donated the land), the US government was going to establish on a large scale a Merchant Marine Academy at Fort Schuyler New York, but nothing came of these plans.
Congress passed the landmark Merchant Marine Act in 1936, and two years later, the U.S. Merchant Marine Cadet Corps was established. In that year, the USTS Nantucket (ex-USS Ranger) was transferred from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy to Kings Point and renamed the USTS Emory Rice. The first training was given at temporary facilities until the Academy's permanent site in Kings Point, New York was acquired in early 1942. The Kings Point campus was originally Walter Chrysler's twelve-acre waterfront estate, named "Forker House" (now known as the USMMA's Wiley Hall). Construction of the Academy began immediately, and 15 months later the task was virtually completed. The Academy was dedicated on September 30, 1943, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who noted that "the Academy serves the Merchant Marine as West Point serves the Army and Annapolis the Navy."
World War II required the Academy to forego its normal operation and to devote all of its resources toward meeting the emergency need for Merchant Marine officers. Its enrollment rose to 2,700 men, and the planned course of instruction was reduced in length from four years to 18 months. To meet the wartime needs for qualified merchant marine officers two additional merchant marine cadet training school sites were established, one located in Pass Christian, Mississippi and the other in San Mateo, California. The San Mateo location was closed in September 1947 and the students transferred to Kings Point. The location in Pass Christian was similarly closed in 1950. In spite of the war, shipboard training continued to be an integral part of the Academy curriculum, and midshipmen served at sea in combat zones the world over. One hundred and forty-two midshipmen gave their lives in service to their country, and many others survived torpedo and aerial attacks. From 1942-1945, the Academy graduated 6,895 officers. As the war drew to a close, plans were made to convert the Academy's wartime curriculum to a four-year, college-level program to meet the peacetime requirements of the merchant marine. In 1948, such a course was instituted.
Authorization for awarding the degree of bachelor of science to graduates was granted by Congress in 1949. The Academy became fully accredited as a degree-granting institution in the same year. It was made a permanent institution by an Act of Congress in 1956. The Academy accelerated graduating classes during the Korean War and the Vietnam War. It was involved in such programs as training US officers for the nuclear-powered merchant ship, the NS Savannah.
Admission requirements were amended in 1974, and this Academy became the first federal service academy to enroll female students, two years before the Military, Naval, Air Force, and Coast Guard Academies.
During the Persian Gulf war in early 1991, and for many months prior to the war, both Academy graduates and midshipmen played important roles in the large sealift of military supplies to the Middle East. Midshipmen training at sea also participated in the humanitarian sealift to Somalia during Operation Restore Hope.
In 1990s, the Academy's future seemed to be in doubt, since its elimination was recommended by the National Performance Review efforts of the Clinton presidential Administration, whose chairman was Vice President Albert Gore, Jr.
During the events of 9/11, the Merchant Marine Academy assisted in the evacuation of civilians from the Lower Manhattan as well as the transportation of first responders and supplies to and from Ground Zero. Midshipman, faculty and staff from the academy, within hours of the attack, were using boats from the waterfront and sending them to the city. Members of the Merchant Marine Academy participated in the relief efforts for nine days.
Most recently, Merchant Marine Academy midshipmen and graduates have been involved in many facets of the war in Iraq. Many graduates were involved in the transportation of supplies during the buildup to the war in 2003. Many graduates in the Naval Reserve have been called to serve supporting naval roles in ports in Iraq and Kuwait. Graduates who have entered other branches of the service have had more direct roles in Iraq. Aaron Seesan, a 2003 graduate and Army Lieutenant, was the first graduate to give his life for his country during a war since the Vietnam War.
Due to the service of Midshipmen in every major conflict the country has been involved in since World War II, the regiment is privileged to carry a regimental battle standard. The Merchant Marine Academy is the only Federal Service Academy granted the right to do so, and the standard is carried with the colors at all times. Campaign ribbons from all the conflicts Midshipmen have taken part in help to dress the battle standard, and bring honor to the academy and her midshipmen.
In addition to requiring strong GPA and SAT/ACT scores, to be eligible to enter the Academy a candidate must:
- Be of good moral character.
- Be at least 17 years of age and must not have passed their 25th birthday before July 1 in the year of entrance.
- Be a citizen of the United States either by birth or naturalization, except for a limited number of international midshipmen specially authorized by Congress.
- Meet the physical*, security** and character requirements necessary for appointment as Midshipman in the U.S. Naval Reserve.
- Obtain a Congressional nomination to the Academy from a Member of Congress.
- Submit a completed application; and
- Qualify scholastically.
Medical/Physical Clearance - Candidates are required to pass a DoDMERB (Department of Defense Medical Examination Review Board) physical, and take the Candidate Fitness Assessment (CFA) to asses physical fitness.
Security Clearance - In order to receive a commission at graduation as an officer in the U.S. Armed Forces, candidates are required to complete a security clearance upon enrollment at the Academy.
The entire student body is referred to as the Regiment of Midshipmen. The Regiment is subdivided into two battalions and five companies: First, Second, Third, Fourth, and Band, with First and Second Companies making up First Battalion and Third and Fourth Companies making up Second Battalion. Company assignment is random, although candidates who have experience playing a musical instrument are offered the privilege of joining Band Company.
Freshmen, known as plebes, start in early July where they begin a two and a half week indoctrination period, also known as "indoc." Indoc is functionally run by upperclassmen but is overseen by officers of the United States Maritime Service who are part of the Commandant of Midshipman's staff. This high stress period involves physical training, marching, and an intensive introduction to regimental life at the academy. After the indoctrination period is completed, the academic year begins. In September, first year students officially become part of the regiment upon taking the oath of office into the U.S. Navy Reserve on Acceptance Day. Until "recognized" later in the academic year, plebes continue to be required to adhere to stringent rules affecting most aspects of their daily life. After earning it, the plebes are recognized giving them the title of Midshipmen, which gives them more privileges, known as rates.
Academy students, known as midshipmen, focus on one of two different ship transport areas of education: marine transportation or marine engineering. Transportation students learn about ship navigation, cargo handling, navigation rules and maritime law. Engineering students learn about the function of the ship's engines and its supporting systems. There are currently six different academic majors available to midshipmen. Three of them are referred to as "Deck Majors" because in addition to a Bachelor of Science degree in the major field of study: Marine Transportation, Logistics and Intermodal Transportation, and Maritime Operations and Technology; they sit for and upon successful completion of the examination are issued a Third Mate (Deck Officer) License of Steam or Motor Vessels, Unlimited Tonnage, Upon Oceans. The other three available curricula are referred to as "Engine Majors"; they are: Marine Engineering, Marine Engineering Systems, and Marine Engineering and Shipyard Management. "Engine Majors" sit for and upon successful completion of the examination are issued Third Assistant Engineer (3 A/E - Engineering Officer) Licenses Steam and Motor Vessels, Any Horsepower. Maritime Operations and Technology majors, also referred to as "Shoppers", are eligible to seek and obtain certification as "Qualified Members of Engine Department" (QMED) - the highest unlicensed rating in the engine department. Marine Engineering Systems and Marine Engineering Systems & Shipyard Management graduates are also qualified to sit for the Engineer In Training (EIT) examination administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES).
For part of sophomore and junior years, known at the Academy as third class and second class years respectively, students work as cadets on regular American merchant ships. Midshipmen are typically paired two to a ship, one engineering cadet and one deck cadet. Midshipmen work and function as part of the crew and gain an opportunity for generous amounts of hands-on experience as well as the opportunity to travel abroad to many different foreign ports. The average midshipman travels to 18 countries during this period, which totals a minimum of 300 days. Due to this absence from the Academy, the remaining three academic years span from late July, through mid-June.
Toward the end of 1st class (senior) year, midshipmen prepare for exams to be licensed as either Third Assistant Engineers (steam and motor unlimited HP) or Third Mates (any gross tons, oceans). All American merchant marine officers must be licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard.
|Merchant Marine Mariners|
|University||United States Merchant Marine Academy|
|Conference(s)||Landmark Conference, Liberty League|
|Athletics director||Sue Petersen Lubow|
|Location||Kings Point, NY|
|Football stadium||Captain James Harvey Tomb Field|
|Basketball arena||Edwin J. O'Hara Hall|
|Baseball stadium||Lower Roosevelt Field|
|Colors||Blue and Gray
The USMMA Mariners compete in Division III of the NCAA, as a charter member of the Landmark Conference in all sports (men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, lacrosse, soccer, swimming & diving, tennis and track & field; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, swimming & diving, track & field and volleyball) except in football, where they are an associate member of the Liberty League, and collegiate wrestling, where they are a member of the Centennial Conference. The USMMA formerly was a member of the Skyline Conference until the 2006-07 season.
In Rugby, the USMMA competes in the MetNy Rugby Football Union where the team was the first division champion from 2005-2006.
The USMMA Varsity Intercollegiate Sailing Team competes at the Division I level and is a member of the Middle Atlantic Intercollegiate Sailing Association (MAISA) and has fifteen Intercollegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) national championships to its credit, as well as nearly two dozen district titles. The Mariners won their first ICSA National (now "North American") Championship in 1979. The Mariners have four dinghy championships in 1979, 1983, 1984, and 1987. Six sailors have received College Sailor of the Year recognition, Jonathan Wright 1971, Alex Smigelski 1979, Morgan Reeser, 1983 & 1984, Jay Renehan 1985, William Hardesty III, 1998. The school has had 32 All American Skippers, 11 Honorable mention skippers, and 10 All American crews.
Distinguished Midshipmen 
The Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal is the highest award which can be bestowed upon members of the United States Merchant Marine and is the service’s equivalent of the Medal of Honor. Since mariners serving in the U.S. Merchant Marine are not employed by the Department of Defense they are not eligible for the Medal of Honor.
Since USMMA opened in 1943 eight cadet/midshipmen have been awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.
- Midshipman Francis A. Dales 
- Midshipman Elmer C. Donnelly 
- Midshipman Carl M. Medved  – Awarded posthumously
- Midshipman Edwin Joseph O'Hara  – Awarded posthumously
- Midshipman Walter G. Sittmann 
- Midshipman William M. Thomas, Jr.
- Midshipman Phil Cox Vannais 
- Midshipman Frederick R. Zito 
Life after graduation 
Midshipmen at Kings Point have a wide variety of options upon graduation. Unlike the nation's other military academies, graduates of USMMA are required to fulfill their service obligation on their own by providing annual proof of employment in a wide variety of occupations as approved by MARAD for a specified period of time.
Graduates may elect to fulfill their service obligation by working as licensed officers on U.S. flagged merchant vessels, as civilians in the maritime industry, or as active duty officers in any branch of the armed forces of the United States. Regardless, graduates are required to maintain their US Coast Guard issued merchant marine officer's license for a period of at least 6 years.
Those graduates electing to enter the civilian work force in the Maritime Industry, and those sailing in the Merchant Marine, are also required to maintain their Naval Reserve commission (or another reserve component commission) for a period of at least 8 years and are required to serve in the maritime industry for at least 5 years following graduation.
- On average about 1/3 of each graduating class goes to sea working in the United States Merchant Marine as officers serving on ships in overseas trade, inland & near-coastal transportation, research vessels, and other types of vessels.
- Another 1/3 generally go to work in the maritime industry ashore working in commercial shipping, ship broking, intermodal logistics, marine engineering, maritime law, maritime insurance or defense contracting.
- And, about 1/3 enter the military as active duty Commissioned Officers. Of those going on active duty most enter the US Navy as Naval Aviators, Naval Flight Officers, Surface Warfare Officers, Submarine Officers or occasionally even as SEALs. Some midshipmen enter the Marine Corps and Coast Guard, while a small number enter the US Army, US Air Force and their Reserve or National Guard components. Midshipmen may also apply for commissions in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) with the NOAA Commissioned Corps.
A graduate from USMMA will receive upon graduation:
- 1: A Bachelor of Science Degree
- 2: An Unlimited USCG License as a Merchant Marine Officer, either 3rd Mate or 3rd Assistant Engineer, and
- 3: A Commission as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy Reserve, or if accepted, as an Ensign in the US Navy, US Coast Guard or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or 2nd Lieutenant in the US Marine Corps, US Army or US Air Force. Graduates who choose military service, must serve at least five years in the active duty force of their respective service.
American Merchant Marine Museum 
The USMMA in Kings Point, New York is also the home of the American Merchant Marine Museum. The museum houses the Academy's collection of maritime art and artifacts. The museum contains a learning center which is open to the regiment and the public, as well as a number of exhibits including the only known back-acting engine still in existence, that of the former gunboat USS Ranger.
The museum also houses the National Maritime Hall of Fame. The only permanent exhibit of its kind in the nation, the Hall of Fame honors people and ships important to American oceanic, coastal, inland waterway and Great Lakes shipping. Inductees into the Hall of Fame must have been deceased, or sunk or scrapped, for at least five years. Only one person and one ship are inducted into the Hall of Fame each year. The hall inducted its first set of members in or about 1982.
Among the museum's many items are the world's largest collection of navigation and nautical instruments, and the only extensive selection of ship's china, on display anywhere in the world. In addition, one of the five surrender swords presented by the Japanese to Douglas MacArthur at the conclusion of World War II is housed there.
Images from the Museum and from the Academy can be seen at this website - Photographic Catalog of the US Merchant Marine Academy
- Captain James Harvey Tomb, USN 1942-1943
- Rear Admiral Giles C. Stedman, USNR
- Rear Admiral Richard R. McNulty, USNR
- Vice Admiral Gordon McLintock, USMS
- Rear Admiral Arthur B. Engel, USCG 1970-1980
- Rear Admiral Thomas A. King, USMS 1980-1987
- Rear Admiral Paul L. Krinsky, USMS 1987-1993
- Rear Admiral Thomas T. Matteson, USMS 1993-1998
- Vice Admiral Joseph D. Stewart, USMS 1998-2008
- Rear Admiral Allen B. Worley, USMS 2009-2010
- Rear Admiral Phillip H. Greene, Jr., USMS 2010–2011
- Rear Admiral James A. Helis, USMS 2012–present
Notable alumni 
Notable graduates 
- Gordon Hahn (1919–2001)—California politician
Notable non-graduates 
Notable faculty 
See also 
- Vice Admiral Emory S. Land, USN. Instrumental in overseeing founding of Academy
- United States Merchant Marine
- United States Maritime Service
- U.S. Department of Transportation
- U.S. Department of Defense
- U.S. Maritime Administration
- List of maritime museums in the United States
- "New School To Train Ships Officers" Popular Science, May 1935
- US Merchant Marine Academy
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- Midshipman Francis A. Dales
- Midshipman Elmer C. Donnelly
- Midshipman Carl M. Medved
- Midshipman Edwin Joseph O'Hara
- Midshipman Walter G. Sittmann
- Midshipman William M. Thomas, Jr.
- Midshipman Phil Cox Vannais
- Midshipman Frederick R. Zito
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