Upper Classmen

Discussion in 'Merchant Marine Academy - USMMA' started by EPKMOM2014, Aug 16, 2010.

  1. EPKMOM2014

    EPKMOM2014 Member

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    What is and isn't allowed for an upperclassmen to do to a plebe candidate? Are they allowed to single once person out and curse at them and try to berate them? If this occurs is there someone that the P/C candidate can go to. School is hard enough with the classes do they really need to be disrespected. I always was lead to belive in the idea taht if you give respect you get respect. Please if anyone can enlighten me I would appreciate it.
     
  2. wakefreek617

    wakefreek617 Member

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    Very very few upperclassmen go out of their way to belittle or curse out any P/C. They can and will get in trouble for it. Most upperclassmen maintain a friendly, yet stern attitude towards the P/C; that is, if they do what they are supposed to all goes well. Punishment for P/Cs this year is limited to marching tours, essays, and company PT time.
    I know I speak for most 2013A splitters when I say that we remember our plebe days and we as team leaders attempt to help and be friendly toward our Plebe Candidates whenever possible.

    When the P/C give respect to their PC, CTO, and CC by doing as they are told, they are given respect in return.

    We are allowed to single out one person, however it's usually more effective to punish the company of P/C's as a whole if need be. This helps them 'police their own'.



    Additionally, what makes Kings Point so respected is the fact that EVERYONE (including upperclassmen) has to manage their time with school, sports, and regimental BS without going insane. That phrase "school is hard enough without this ______" will be repeated many times in the next for years :) KPS!
     
  3. shutterbugC

    shutterbugC Member

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    What is Marching Tours. I understand that certain companies have to do this because they, or some of the kids, got in trouble. My DS didn't know what it was since this morning was going to be the first time they had to do it and how long do they last? Hours and days?
     
  4. usmma2014dotcom

    usmma2014dotcom Member

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    A tour is one hour of marching back and forth with a rifle, looking straight ahead in your dress uniform. It's fun, it really is. You ought to try it.:rolleyes:
     
  5. shutterbugC

    shutterbugC Member

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    I am sure my DS is going to have tons of fun with that. NOT LOL
     
  6. KPMarineopsdad

    KPMarineopsdad Member

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    There isn't a lot of information here with regard to the circumstances. If this was a minor infraction and a random upperclassman over reacted then that midshipman may have been out of line. On the other hand if it was seen by a member of the company staff or regimental staff then they may have been doing their "job." If you "blow off a square" right in front of the CTO or RTOA then you can be sure something is going to be said about it. Although this is primarily a maritime school it still has a regimental component. To be sure, it is not as strict as USNA, USMA The Citadel or VMI but each of those candidates who make it to graduation will be commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Military, a certain amount of regimentation should be expected.
    Try not to take it personally and never let them know it bothers you. As I told my DS "if you don't want someone to get your goat you should never show them where you tied it up."
     
  7. navig8r

    navig8r Member

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    Oh I am SO stealing this line!!!!!
     
  8. shutterbugC

    shutterbugC Member

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    I love that line too. I, too, am stealing it.
     
  9. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    KpmarineOpsDad:

    Let's review because I think you missed the point:

    EPKMOM2014 stated:

    You responded with:
    Even in the USMC today - officers and senior non-comms are discouraged from "cursing out" subordinates, especially after boot camp is over. Further USMMA is not "primarily" a maritime school - it IS a maritime school, in fact hopefully soon it will be the widely acknowledged world's best mar time training institution for licensed officers. I assure you the day, you see some licensed officer on a commercial vessel curse out and demean and member of the unloosened crew in a manner regarded as a personal attack and demeaning, especially if it's a junior third mate, and the unlicensed crew member is a member of a different union, is the day it's 50/50 that you see the unlicensed guy literally SPIT in that junior third's face or worse. Even if the unlicensed guy things the Captain or the Chief Engineer is likely to fire him. Further after whatever happens to the unlicensed guy happens, it's also 70/30 that the unlicensed crew actively work to make the third look like an idiot to the point he needs to get off the ship - ALL in a manner that is beyond the ability of the Captain to address because it will all be within the limits of the union contracts and work rules on the vessel.

    You and other "Marine Ops" folks may not like it but such is the nature of the industry that the USMMA's primary purpose is to train leaders for and the majority of the graduates - the ones who leave graduate and go on to carers in support of its' primary mission - are far, far better served learning leadership techniques that do NOT include screaming or writing threatening emails laced with foul language meant to be demeaning. I still have copies of several emails that a CTO who has long since graduated wrote that were the absolute best examples of clueless leadership of this ilk, I have ever seen. The said CTO was well intentioned but absolutely clueless, and she was shocked when during the spring of her first class year I approached her and offered the advice and consul of a sage middle aged alumnus who was in the twilight of his USMC career in order to have some alternative ideas as to how she might handle those situations when she graduated and went on to pursue her dream as a USMC officer. I don't know if that person still corresponds with my classmate but I do know they had several positive exchanges before said CTO graduated.

    I only relay this because I am of the strongest of opinions that for whatever reason, there is a minority of "regimentally inclined" USMMA midshipmen that for whatever reason have concluded that screaming, threatening, and what a colleague of mine used to call "decibel engineering" is in some way, shape or form qualities a leader should possess and practice. I, obviously, have strong opinions that are 180 degrees out from those young men and women. I believe that other forms of leadership ranging from: leading by example, to calmness under fire, to mutual respect, and showing foresight and vision in the pursuit of excellence, etc., are far more effective ways to inspire and lead.

    I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that EPKMOM2014 wasn't questioning why her child or any particular P/C was corrected and/or disciplined rather how it was done when the story was relayed to her. Further if some Upperclassman or even a Regimental Officer flew off the handle and cursed out or personally demeaned a P/C for some minor infraction such as "blowing off a square" now that class is in session and such (vice during Indoctrination) then I'd say three things: 1) that particular upperclass/1C Midshipmen needs some leadership training or counseling before they are allowed to remain in or have any sort of position of even the most minor regimental authority; 2)they need to take a good strong look at how and where they are expending their energy or efforts, especially if they are NOT a CTO since it's really probably not where they should be spending their time; and 3) since right now unless they are first classmen the maximum amount of sea time they have is all of 4 months, I hope they learn between now and November how to act before they find themselves on a ship with a crew where they have to get along and EARN peoples respect rather than just shout at others and expect it.

    Sorry for the ramble obviously this is a bit more of a pet peeve than even I thought it was of mine before I started typing.
     
  10. 2013Parent

    2013Parent Member

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    JD, me too.

    Everyone should be aware this is indeed an area of KP that could benefit from expert intervention to include real bona fide leadership training for these young folks. Of course factual information and not just anecdotal accusations of "he said they said," is the key.

    A small number of Midshipmen "Officers" do not conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent with what the reputation of this fine institution should be demanding. If your little darling finds themselves on the other end of such a "leader" , their experience will be quite different than those that do not. It is the luck of the draw, life's not fair, part of life....etc. etc. etc. And here is the most interesting part; those "leaders" are probably never going to be respected........... Not by the recipient of the treatment, not by those that witness it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2010
  11. KPMarineopsdad

    KPMarineopsdad Member

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    The Regiment is broken and I think Jasper and I could both agree with regards to which person was most instrumental in breaking it. It will take strong leadrship to put it back on track. A permanent superintendent with a clear view of the unique qualities of KP and a vision for the roll the regiment should play would be a great first step. That said, I believe that the regiment does have a roll to play in the education of these midshipmen. Someone once made a post on this forum that said. "Given enough time and willing participants you can teach calculus to almost anyone. It is the ability to learn calculus and physics and chemistry amidst the maelstrom that defines plebe year that makes KP so difficult." For better or worse the Regiment is part of that maelstrom. It provides friction and distractions that have to be dealt with. Sometimes you may have to choose between shining your shoes or devoting that time to studying for tomorrows exam. (By the way you should STUDY!) It is the ability to sort through all of these conflicting priorities and make the right decision that seperates Kings Pointers from the rest of us mere mortals :) The Regiment should also train upper classmen to be leaders. Remember some of these kids are 19 years old and were plebes themselves only a few short months ago. Mistakes will be made. The problem, as I see it, is that there does not seem to be a mechanism in place to correct these mistakes. When an upper classman reacts in a way that is out of proportion to the magnitude of the infraction then someone should take him aside and show him how he could have done it better. This doesn't seem to be happening.
     
  12. zonker

    zonker Member

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    Can the P/Cs follow orders, and show respect... even when they are tired and hurried and etc.
    Sorry. It's what's going to be expected of them... the ability to DO the required things on a ship, even when nobody is there is look over their shoulder.
    This is tough for some of the new kids.
    But it's simple enough... if you square, and if you greet, then your life will be a lot easier. It just FEELS worse, since the academics have ramped up, and ALL the classes are back (less those at sea).

    From the OTHER side of the fence, an upperclass Mid was going in the same general direction as 3 P/Cs last year. One was 'broken' (crutches/medical, and one of his P/C buddies was helping carry something--good for them, the third was just drafting/not helping). After 3 corners, the third P/C(the non-helping one) STILL hadn't attempted a square... knowing full well an upperclassman was coming up from behind. The Upperclassman kinda felt sorry for them... HE remembered what Plebe year was like 2 years earlier. Others would have made it as issue, but as he passed he quietly addressed the third one ("Nice squares. You should at least TRY").
    As the Upperclassman went through the glass doors, where the P/Cs weren't allowed and had to change course, he noted that PC#3 took the time to make hand and arm gestures towards the Upperclassman's back.

    "Oh no... you did NOT just do that!"
    Silly P/C#3.. SURELY you understand that glass doors are reflective.
    After that , the Upperclassman returned to PC#3, and reminded him about his requirements... and I'd imagine it was a lesson he did not forget... and it was apparently LONG overdue. Sometimes, the lil' darling P/Cs bring it on themselves.:wink:
    ....
    I'm sure PC#3's next phone call home to his parents was "One of the Upperclassmen just fussed at me today FOR NO GOOD REASON, I HADN'T DONE *ANYTHING*, and I was just helping one of my P/C buddies on CRUTCHES" (remember, P/C #3 was NOT involved in helping PC#1 in any way). :rolleyes: Sometimes, righteous indignation only exists when PART of the facts are known.
    .....
    And Upperclasses DO admonish/correct each other, even if the P/Cs don't see it.
     
  13. shutterbugC

    shutterbugC Member

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    Good for him! I know this was a story from last year but as I read this thread, I just felt that there are two sides to the story. Remembering my kids and how they would tell on the other and how one side was always different from the side of the story, it just makes me feel like this also may be the case.
    When my kids were in school and they would get in trouble with the teacher or principle or whomever, I would hear their story and feel for them but side with the teacher most of the time. I would basically tell them to not do it again and suck it up (although I was probably angry with the teacher for yelling at my little darlings who could do no wrong) I didn't let it show. I just told them that God is preparing them for all kinds of people in their life and for when they are adults.
    Sometimes He places people in our lives that we do not care for or like to teach us a lesson or show us our character and hopefully work on our character for the good. We will always have people in our lives that urk us but we have to learn to deal with it and them and still be responsible for our actions. We may not be able to control the person yelling at us or cussing us out, but we can control our "RE-ACTION" to the situation.
    As I speak to my DS I often ask him about his day, about people there, about situations he comes across, etc and his remarks are often something like, "sometimes it sucks but it will be for the good at the end." He doesn't complain too much to me cause he knows that he has to deal with his problems himself. He just wishes that the kids that mess up would quit messing up so he can get on with his education instead of punishments.
     
  14. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    A Couple Of Things Here ...

    First some public housekeeping, I will be following up with a more detailed private apology but apparently some, including most importantly KPMarineOpDad, feel my post yesterday was insulting to him. I want to publicly apologize for that and assure he and you all publicly I meant no disrespect and I have nothing but the highest regard for him and his efforts here on this forum.

    Second, while I'm probably too proud of my Alma Mater to go on public record as agreeing the Regiment of Midshipmen at USMMA, is at this moment "broken" - I will say - I feel there are a heckuva a lot of things that could be done better, especially with regard to the Regiment and I agree with EVERYTHING KPMarineOpsDad said in post #11 of this thread both the issues and recommendations. I will also say that though I am generally known to be an eternal optimist so others can offer their opinions to the contrary, I really do feel strides are being made in these areas, more can indeed be done but strides are being made.

    I feel the efforts at clarifying the midshipmen regulations by the Commandant and some of the Midshipmen Regimental Staff are key steps that need to be done. I feel the efforts by the current Regimental Training Officer at clarifying and updating the written directives regarding Class Rates and their enforcement is another thing that will have a solid impact with regard to these sorts of things, especially for Plebes going forward in the Class of 2015 and beyond. I feel the efforts being made to upgrade the Academics, etc. during those few hours a day I imagine Dr. Kumar has to spend wearing that (his Dean's) hat while he is also the acting Superintendent are very positive. I too definitely look forward to the selection and appointment of a permanent Superintendent, and as a proud Alumnus, hope it's one of my brethren. I also have been please at what I heard relative to the recruitment and selection process that was pursued in that I believe of the 30+ applicants many were of very high caliber and feel that should mean when the selectee is announced the majority of us interested parties will say - YES! I further feel very good about the amount of time, direct involvement and support Maritime Administrator Matsuda and Secretary LaHood have shown thus far to personally working toward making the USMMA the world's best maritime training institution and an acknowledged gem.

    That said there are numerous things that we all see that can be improved. The leadership training part of the regiment is indeed one of them. I believe that Capt. Fell agrees with this statement - I've heard him in several forums talk positively about actions he is making in this regard. I haven't personally heard Capt. BonaDonna speak, but I have heard second hand from my own DS what sorts of things he talks about, teaches and coaches in his leadership and ethics program and I firmly believe he is probably still an under-utilized resource in this regard for the Upper and First Class in particular.

    I'm going to leave this thread at this point for a while and see where the discussion goes, other than to close by saying once again, if I offended anyone by my earlier post, I want them to know, such was not my intent and it is my firm hope and belief that we should be able to respectfully and professionally disagree without offending each other is attacking one and other. In the future I'll be working on selecting my words more carefully both in PMs and Posts here but especially in posts to the forum.

    Acta Non Verba.
     
  15. jessibee2013

    jessibee2013 Member

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    We love you jasperDog!!:shake:
    You speak your mind and you are on point 99.9% of the time. Last year, you were the first one to speak up and point out to upperclassmen, who constantly blasted 2013 (and their parents by implication), that they as the leaders shared the responsibilty for the behavior and growth and development of 2013.
    For that, you will forever be one of my KP and Forum heros.
    :thumb::thumb::thumb:
     
  16. KPMarineopsdad

    KPMarineopsdad Member

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    I have read and re-read Jasperdogs post and to tell you the truth. I don't feel the least bit insulted nor did I find anything that I find disrespectful. Jasperdog is a proud alumnus who feels passionately about this institution and I wouldn't have it any other way. JD I will respond to your pm when I have some more time in the meantime my feelings are not hurt at all. Could it be that I don't even HAVE a goat????:shake:
     
  17. noworries

    noworries Banned

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    In your opinion, what would be the best way to teach effective leadership skills at an advanced pace while avoiding some of the common pitfalls of trial and error? How can identifiable leadership traits be developed while common practices that impair rapport are trained away?
     
  18. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    I'm not sure "an advanced pace" is required though I'm also not certain what the majority would consider is a normal pace to teach leadership. That said, USMMA like the other Academies has 4 full years actually 47 months if the Midshipman stays on the 4 year track to graduation to teach leadership. Further I believe that period is really more like 43 months as once the First Class starts really "buckling down" and focusing on License Preparation, they really don't have space in their brains to do much else. At least that's how I felt and I suspect little has really changed in that regard in the past 25+ years - frankly the test(s) haven't gotten any easier, etc. However, 43 months is clearly a fair amount of time to do anything - I mean heck Mao basically rebuilt China in 60 month increments so I don't think there needs to be an acceleration in the way the USMMA builds leaders for the Nation and Maritime Industry.

    Personally, and I feel the response to noworries' question is pretty much all a matter of conjecture and personal opinion on the majority of our parts, the absolute best way to teach leadership is likely to expose aspiring leaders to good examples and then give them growing opportunities to practice and try it. That's really why I think virtually all of the Maritime Academies have some sort of Regiment/Regimental System to do exactly that. It's certainly why I think the USMMA has such a system today. Of course I could be 100% off the mark on that conjecture but that's my view.

    If such is the case, then the current issue that KPMarineOpsDad voiced earlier - the lack of a Superintendent - a visionary leader at the the head of the Academy now - is indeed eroding the number of available potential guiding light examples of leadership that is one thing that needs to and should be changed.

    Further, assuming such is the case, one would probably like to see the addition of a more explicit and clearer code of conduct, esprit d'corps, and dare I say both professionalism and consistency required of in some enforceable fashion of everyone on the Commandant's Staff. The reality is the USMS is not a military service and the members of the Commandant's Staff do not behave like, nor are they required to behave like Active Duty Military Officers. However, the Commandant's Staff also is not required to behave like what they are training young men and women to be - licensed mariners sailing under articles. In fact in a fair number of cases members of the Commandant's Staff have never spent a week aboard the Kings Pointer, underway, let alone a "real" merchant ship. I mention this not to single out anybody but to point out that there needs to be something done to fix this, my personal opinion is that some of the Commandant's Staff, in a well intentioned manner, "make some of these things up as they go along" - including rules to to broad a degree. They do so based on their life's experience which in most cases is prior military though not always prior military in a sea-going service nor prior military in a capacity as a Commissioned Officer. As such, the esprit d'corps within the ranks of the Commandant's Staff isn't at the level it probably could be or the level he (the Commandant) would like to see as the example for what one would like to see the First Class display each year at the start of their first class year. I think the first two steps to remedy this is to review the "desired" credentials (the ones in the position descriptions that are over and above the minimum requirements) for positions on the Commandant's Staff as they become open going forward and 2) for clear written code of conduct for these members of the Staff to be put in place and incorporated to their "conditions of employment" such that it is enforceable and repeated failure to embrace, comply and display compliance with it provides the Commandant and Superintendent the ability to fire for cause an individual who fails to do so - Even though they are Federal Employees covered under the Civil Service Acts and Rules.

    The other thing I believe needs to be done to "teach leadership" is to clearly state and identify the values and conduct expected of a leader and to require the leadership of the Regiment - particularly the First Class to behave as such. To me this would start immediately Plebe Year with really, really driving home the honor code. For lots of legalistic reasons Honor Codes have been truncated to delete the statement "nor tolerate those who do." As in "A Midshipmen will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate those who do." In principle I'm okay with that as there are lots of practical reasons and situations where "being a tattletale" isn't what a leader would or should do, IMO. However, the unfortunate truth is that it's removal has created an opening that then gets exploited by sea lawyers, ofter to the detriment of the overall core value - basic integrity - that is the root of so much that is required of a "leader." This is why I say I really think that Captain Bonnadonna and what he does is an under utilized resource that needs to be looked at and further exploited. I don't have specific recommendations in this area but from what I've seen I bet both Capt. Fell and Capt. Bonnadonna have some and I hope they are already working to act on them. I'll sound like what I am here which is a middle aged conservative male (aka "square", "stick in the mud", etc.) but this is an area where I believe USMMA and frankly all the Academies need to do a better job. Not because they don't do an okay job already. However, because this is something that I see less and less of from graduates of "regular colleges", and because it is something that it seems each year the reporting P/Cs are less understanding of what it means and just how high the standard needs to be in order to be a real leader.

    I think if we started with these things, a lot of the rest of the items we all think need to be addressed, to effectively teach leadership, would in many ways "take care of themselves".

    I also apologize for telling the white lie about leaving this thread to develop before writing more on this topic in post #14 on it...
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2010
  19. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    (Devil's Advocate hat on - remember, I'm a KP supporter!)

    Why not close USMMA, take the entire budget and fund 300 scholarships, say, 60 at each of the top 5 State Maritime schools (ala ROTC) with conditions that exactly mirror the current KP graduation requirements - licensing, 8 years on/in US maritime shipping industry? Wouldn't we get the same return on a lesser investment per student, without the infrastructure and faculty costs associated with an independent maritime service academy?

    Gimme the downside of such a proposition.

    (Hat Off)

    24 Days until the Secretaries Cup!
     
  20. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    Luigi: I may rise to your bait on this one, if you start a separate thread on it - we could argue we've already strayed from the original intent/subject of this this question or thread going to the "how would you teach effective leadership.." question ail be it arguable.

    That said how do you think the USCGA Forum regular posters would react to me posting a similar question on their forum: "Why not close the USCGA and fund a Criminal Science Major at USNA and add 900 billets there to supply the needs of the USCG with ~300 Service Academy Trained O-1's a year? After all wouldn't that be the easiest way to address issues raised by Congress such as Chairman Cummings' desire to require Congressional Nominations, etc? - Discuss" I mean do you really think such a question or thread would result in any sort of constructive dialog? I don't.... nor do I think any discussion on this subject with what you've put forward as a starting point will do so here. Even though as you know this sort of discussion has from time to time been conducted by and with the Congressional Committee with oversight and funding responsibility for the USMMA and MARAD. I say this since obviously I think the overwhelming majority of regular participants on this forum are firmly in the camp of USMMA supporters - myself among them.
     

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