United States Merchant Marine Academy
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.
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. Originallyï¿½and in cooperation with the State of New York (which donated the land)ï¿½the U.S. government planned to establish a large-scale 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 forgo 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 1942ï¿½1945, 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 U.S. 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 1990, the Academy acquired its largest campus-based training vessel, the T/V Kings Pointer. The ship was then removed by the Maritime Administration in 2012. 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 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 First Lieutenant, was the first graduate to give his life for his country during a war since the Vietnam War. George W. Bush delivering the commencement address at the Academy. Because of 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. On 19 June 2006, President George W. Bush gave the commencement address at the Academy, becoming the first sitting president to visit the academy
To educate and graduate licensed merchant mariners and leaders of exemplary character who will serve America's marine transportation and defense needs in peace and war
Alex Bonner (1943) Emmy Award winning radio and television producer and broadcast executive Robert H. Scarborough (1944) First graduate to become a Vice Admiral in the United States Coast Guard; Vice Commandant of the United States Coast Guard; Inducted into USMMA Hall of Distinguished Graduates in 1997. Theodore "Ted" Taylor (1944) author of over 50 fiction and non-fiction books; best known for his 1969 novel The Cay Russell B. Cummings (1945) Texas State Representative from Harris County (1963ï¿½1967) Dean White (1945) Chairman and CEO of Whiteco Industries, Inc, Hotel/Display Sign Magnate, Member of Fortune 500; philanthropist; The Dean and Barbara White Admissions Center at USMMA is named in his honor; Inducted into USMMA Hall of Distinguished Graduates in 2006. John Diebold (1946) Father of Automation, Author of the book "Automation" (1954); Established DiBold Group in 1961 designed and installed the first electronic banking network, connecting the branches of New York City's Bowery Savings Bank. An unprecedented technological breakthrough, this system allowed managers at any branch of the bank to obtain customer balances instantly, reflecting deposits or withdrawals made mere moments earlier, even if those transactions took place at another branch. Inducted into USMMA Hall of Distinguished Graduates in 2003. Elliot See (1949) Project Gemini astronaut; killed in training; Inducted into USMMA Hall of Distinguished Graduates in 1999 William B. Morgan (1950) Distinguished Naval Architect and Marine Engineer who revolutionized propeller design; 50-year career with the U.S. Navy's David Taylor Model Basin; Inducted into USMMA Hall of Distinguished Graduates in 2008 Albert J. Herberger (1955) First graduate to become a Vice Admiral in the United States Navy; Head of the U.S. Maritime Administration under President Bill Clinton; Inducted into USMMA Hall of Distinguished Graduates in 2000. George Oster (1961) Professor Mathematical Biology, University of California; MacArthur Fellow; Member National Academy of Science Robert Kiyosaki (1969) Author of the Rich Dad, Poor Dad books; Marine Corps helicopter gunship pilot during the Vietnam War Skip Prosser (1972) Men's basketball coach at Loyola (Md.), Xavier University and Wake Forest University Mark H. Buzby (1979) Rear Admiral United States Navy; Commander, Military Sealift Command; Former Deputy Director Expeditionary Warfare; Commander, Joint Task Force, Guantanamo; Commanding Officer USS Carney (DDG-64) and DESRON-31 Sean Connaughton (1983) Head of US Maritime Administration (2006ï¿½2009), Virginia Secretary of Transportation (2010ï¿½2013) Mark E. Kelly (1986) Captain, US Navy; Space Shuttle pilot, STS-108 Space Shuttle Endeavour, STS-121 Space Shuttle Discovery, STS-124 Space Shuttle Discovery David "Dubs" Wright (2004) Laser Sailor, 2002 National Champion. All American 2003. Represented Canada in 2012 London Olympic
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