The Grinder

Discussion in 'Merchant Marine Academy - USMMA' started by kpbaseballmom, Apr 26, 2010.

  1. kpbaseballmom

    kpbaseballmom Member

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    How about someone figures out how to put a tent or tarp over the Grinder so the contractor can continue to work. This project makes watching paint dry look like the races at Belmont.:eek:
     
  2. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    I'm confused...

    I went to KP for four years and graduated in 1982, I've been an active alumni and gone back frequently since. I looked at all sorts of maps, etc of the Campus and I can't find any place labeled "the grinder".

    Further as far as I've ever know that was the name for the place at the US Naval Academy where guys marched tours to work off demerits back in the era when we used to travel down to Annapolis and often beat the Naval Academy at intercollegiate sailing regattas.

    In any case, the area in front of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy's dining hall is and for a very long time has been named - Barney Square. Why/how and when it started being referred to as "the grinder" in my minds eye and that of many of my peers is when the USMMA's mission and way started to get clouded. I suspect many of them like me, would really like it if both the primary mission and focus, as well as the proper, historical names of places on campus were maintained and/restored.

    How about we refer to Barney Square as Barney Square. Who knows it might actually be the first step to ward getting one of the many very qualified and worthy Kings Point graduates in place as the next Superintendent and making sure the full name and mission focus of the United States Merchant Marine Academy is in place and full of enough vigor so that 30% of this year's graduating class do NOT feel the need to go active duty but instead start careers in July 2010 that more clearly put them on paths to be leaders in the United States Maritime industry.
     
  3. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    I showed up in '97 and it was referred to as the "Grinder" at that point as well.

    I still refer to it as the "grinder" and probably always will. Sorry to offend a fellow graduate, just like I still refer to Wiley as the "White House" on occasion.
     
  4. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

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    I left in 97 and while it was commonly referred to as the grinder, if we were instructed to form up on Barney Square we all knew where to go.

    I agree with jasper, the Academy is losing/has lost its direction over the years. You could even sense a shifting during my years there mostly under Matteson. The focus on Military vs. Merchant Marine will eventually cause the school to be closed in my view.
     
  5. sprog

    sprog Member

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    I'm not associated with USMMA, but have always had an interest in the place. Could you expound a little bit on what you mean here for those of us not from KP? I think it might help some of the prospective midshipmen too. Just curious. Maybe this would be better put in a new thread; however, I, for one, would like to hear some discussion on this topic.

    I have written a few posts in the past where I put forth my opinion (based on my very limited knowledge of the place)that a prospective midshipman should have (at the very least) somel level of interest in commercial sailing before deciding to attend the school (based on their curriculum requirments). It was met with varying degrees of support or disagreement, but I'd like to see what alums of the school have to say about it.
     
  6. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

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    I think eventually someone will start question why we have a Merchant Marine Academy. If it is USMA/USNA/USAFA/USCGA lite, why not just expand the enrollment to those schools and save on the overhead costs of KP. What is the annual budget these days? Somewhere around $50 million I think, not to mention the value of 80+ acres in great neck.

    I am curious how many alumni are still working in the maritime industry 10 yrs after graduation vs. 5 yrs out. I would guess that once the commitment expires you see a lot of people leaving the industry to do what they really wanted to in the first. Not there is necessarily anything wrong with that and it may not be any more any other school or industry, but when looking at sterile numbers it can add more ammo to those who would like to close it.
     
  7. deepsea

    deepsea Member

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    The most recent statistic is 73% in Maritime employment after 20 years.
     
  8. Sea Faring Moose Mom

    Sea Faring Moose Mom Member

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    KP Engineer: Many Questions Answered

    Many of your questions can be answered by reading the National Parents Association Newsletter:

    Go to www.usmmaparents.com (This is the Colorado Parents Assoc. website)

    Go to the bottom of the website. Click on National Association Newsletter: February 2010

    There are articles by Acting Supertendent Dean Shashi Kumar, Obama allocates $100 million for Kings Point, new MARAD leaders appointed, and
    changes at USMMA now and in the future.
     
  9. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    Just One Person's Views But Here They Are...

    Sprog: For the most part I completely agree with KPEngineer's points on this topic and in fact during this years budget/appropriations' cycle it is my understanding at least Congressional Staffer voiced these exact concerns and points in opposition to the requested increase in the DOT's requested increase for the USMMA's budget.

    First here's my understanding of the facts as they stand today - Secretary LaHood's requested budget for DOT this coming year (GFY 2011) contains a request of $100M for the USMMA, the bulk of the increase is for Capital Improvements, further the DOT proposes that increased level be maintained until the issues in the Capital Improvement Review Report are fully implemented. However, the issues and questions raised by the responsible appropriations committee staff centered along 3 lines: 1) the increase in the funding request for the USMMA seems incongruent to some with the decrease in the request for shipyard subsidies and finding for shipbuilding given that means the fleet size will likely continue to decrease. 2) A growing % of graduates are going active duty vice going into the transportation industry and/or sailing on their MM licenses and there are numerous other programs where that money can be spent to deliver commissioned officers to the Services (Academies, ROTC, etc.) why spend it on USMMA and isn't that at best a secondary mission of USMMA? 3) With all the issues at USMMA, might the money/funding increase be better spent and more easily regulated by deploying it to the federal support that MARAD supplies to the State Maritime Academies?

    IMO: There are politics associated with every one of the 3 major issues raised by those not supportive of the budget request however, there is one underlying common thread to them. The USMMA needs to have a clear, unique mission and it needs to deliver to the nation world class "resources" in support of that mission when it's products - graduates, leave the Academy. Thirty years ago the stated mission was much more clearly aligned with the delivery of leaders for the Maritime industry; twenty years ago that was broadened to the inter-modal transportation industry - to me that seemed a logical adaptation to the evolution of how world trade was being conducted. About 15 years ago the focus seemed to start to blur a little and then more and more to an idea that military or industry service were and are the same and should be supported and encouraged equally. I am not against USMMA graduates going active duty, there have always been some, again "back in the day" it seemed to be on the order of 10-15%, now however it can easily be double that in any given year and from my perspective that's likely too many to lay claim to the primary focus and mission of USMMA being unique.

    Further and this is just me personally, I question the presence of military liaisons from what I'll call "non-maritime" branches of the service being at USMMA. Especially if they are not from the transportation and logistics specialties in that service. For example, the Army. While I can easily see why the Army might have a liaison who is from the transportation corps and who has experience serving there as part of SDDC (formerly MTMC) and might be able to participate in the teaching of terminal operations courses in the Nautical Science Department or bring some of that flavor and understating for advanced Naval Science classes (understanding the roles, etc. in joint operations as executed by the United States Transportation Command, etc.); I can't for the life of me understand why anyone in the Army hierarchy would think it wise to even begin to suggest to a USMMA graduating midshipman, they surrender their commission, and consider taking a warrant officers billet on a US Army Tug boat, as I have heard third hand has been discussed with graduating mids in the past. Similarly, while there are many ways to legitimately leverage your USMMA education and experience in the USAF, clearly not every one of the available options folks are taking do that. Perhaps such things would happen less often if the US Army liaison didn't receive incentives like a recruiter for catching bodies like he is one? Or if such a change in his status can't be handled within the current US Army/Non-Maritime service Branch construct, maybe his billet should be reassigned and better used elsewhere....

    Things like this are things I believe that need to be looked at and re-examined over the next Superintendents ~5 year presence at the Academy. They are also why I and so many other Alumni hope that the position is filled by a highly qualified, universally respected KP graduate from within the Maritime Industry. It's the only way many of us think the 'pendulum" can be returned to a more balanced position then the place it currently resides/swings about without loosing the historical, unique position the USMMA has held since 1943 in the family of Federal Service Academies.

    Sorry for the ramble but I think it's all relevant and in direct response to your question.
     
  10. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    Which given the "up or out" process would likely be a very favorable comparitive investment to those USNA, USAFA, USCGA, and USMA graduates that are still on Active Duty after 20 years, though I suspect the number of those grads who serve 20 years either Active Duty or Reserve might be somewhat closer to the 73% of USMMA grads in the industry after 20 years.
     
  11. sprog

    sprog Member

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    so with 30% going active duty (or is it more than that?), does everyone else (70%) go to sea after graduation? I guess 30 percent to active duty is a pretty sizable minority. I can see how the increase over the last few decades might give graduates pause. Am I to take it that the reason there are more people selecting active duty is because of the lack of jobs at sea? Or, is it because of a greater emphasis on active military service (especially in time of war) from the administration? Maybe a combination of both? thoughts?
     
  12. Apgallozzi

    Apgallozzi Member

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    My hope is to go active duty after 4 years at KP, and I guess the reason I am going is because it is a great commissioning source that will allow me to experience many different opportunities so that come June 26th, 2014, I know I will have made the best avenue for me. I understand that KP's primary mission is to produce quality leaders in the maritime industry but I believe a lot of poeple have a similar understanding as me. Could it be that with the knowledge of USMMA is rising thanks to increasingly popular mediums of information such as youtube, facebook, etc... Maybe more people are choosing AD becasue they came to USMMA for its numerous opportunities for gaining a commission? Just a thought, I could be wrong.
     
  13. Sea Faring Moose Mom

    Sea Faring Moose Mom Member

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    USMMA's Past and Future

    Thank you jasperdog for your views on this vital subject. You addressed many of the concerns of the Colorado Parents Association in more specific detail. Since we have the National President of the Parents groups in our area, we do get into the discussions of the future of USMMA. Now with the reorganization of the Alumni Association and the Parents Association I hope there will be great strides. I would like to see the Alumni become very influencial in these decisions of past and future. The Mids appreciate the monitary support so much, but the BEST teachers are the ones who have served the industry and come back to USMMA to share their experiences and knowledge.

    I agree with you. I do hope the next Superintendent will be a former graduate and someone who has been involved with the Maritime industry. That, along with the NEW appointees of MARAD, could bring back the uniqueness of USMMA's mission and prominance in Maritime.

    Very well stated.........
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2010
  14. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

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    Forgive my DC cynicism, but I have a hard time believing that. How old is that statistic, what criteria is used for "maritime employment" and who compiled it?

    If 30% of the class goes in the military, that only leaves %70 percent to work in the maritime industry. Does everyone who doesn't go AD, stay maritime? I can tell you the answer is no. Does anyone leave the military return to the maritime industry? Some do, but certainly not all and I would wager the number is actually quite small.

    I know when I graduated in 97, the definition of "working in the maritime industry" was so broad that it bordered on ridiculous.
     
  15. deepsea

    deepsea Member

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    20 years ago 30% did not go active duty, as we were still a "maritime" school. I'll find the source for you (it has come up in several Academy meetings.) If you are a 97 grad we probably know each other. How many of your classmates are in maritime positions? My class '95, is probably way over 73%.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2010
  16. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

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    I didn't mean that as a dig at you but to point out that a statistic by itself doesn't mean a lot. It is just a number. My issue is with how they come by that statistic and how they define "maritime". We got out at about the same time under probably the same rules and I know there was almost no concern about what job I was taking. I may have done one annual report to MARAD ... maybe. I recall some sort of paperwork about what jobs you could and couldn't take and I know anything with the government was good to go. Is that the same way they came up with the 73%? Under that criteria, theoretically I could be a park ranger in Utah and be "in the maritime industry"

    20 years ago isn't as far back as it seems and we were probably already moving away from our maritime roots. You remember both Krinsky and Matteson and there was definitely a different vibe from one to the other.

    I guarantee we we know each other. I was originally '95 too. I know more people that are what I consider out of the maritime industry than in.

    Phil C
    KP 95-1 (originally)
     
  17. deepsea

    deepsea Member

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    Phil- what have you been up to?- I believe the 73% number is from an alumni foundation survey. Somehow after sailing bulkers, research ships, tall ships, and racing yachts, I've made it back to KP as Sailing Master- all maritime. Funny thing about our classmates is that so many of them started in non maritime careers (due to the job situation at the time) are now in maritime careers. For example one who started out in logistics for a trucking company is now a harbor pilot, and several who went active duty are now shipping out. What have you been up to? You can find me at www.usmma.edu/waterfront
     
  18. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

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    CG,
    I heard you got the waterfront job. Nice to see some new blood from our years making its way back to the old stomping grounds. I think I heard there are even a couple as professors now too.

    I too have gone full circle so I do believe that some people do. I started on tugs, became a beltway bandit, then went to work for the Navy, MSC and finally the Marine Corps before I got tired of selling my soul to the government. I went back to sea last year and am sailing as Chief on a tug. We have made a few trips recently to Glen Cove and I got to go right by KP. You have a lot nicer boats now than when we were mids.

    I just know how the government loves to trump its own accomplishments and how they justify themselves. The alumni association works for hard on the behalf of the academy to both better it and to keep it open. You remember when Al Gore was going to "reinvent government" by closing the school back in 93. It wouldn't surprise me if that number was a little "generous" to serve a political purpose. If it was a MARAD number, I would be VERY skeptical.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2010
  19. deepsea

    deepsea Member

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    You got that right- give a shout next time you come by.
     
  20. kpbaseballmom

    kpbaseballmom Member

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    Back to the Beginning

    OK, a new question to be included on the PKTs for the incoming Plebe Class:

    What year did Barney Square become known as the Grinder and why?:rolleyes:

    (We know from above discussions that it was before 1995.)

    And the construction company is definitely "grinding out slowly" the repavement. Good thing someone isn't trying to make a living.:eek:
     

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