- Jun 9, 2006
CONGRATS to the new KP "Thirds" of the class of 2008 who graduated this morning! Midshipmen no more! May they always have Fair Winds & Following Seas! HIP HIP HOORAY!!
Admiral James G. Stavridis, USN, Commander, U.S. Southern Command, will deliver the keynote address at commencement exercises on June 16 for the 213 members of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy's class of 2008.
The U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) is responsible for contingency planning, operations and security cooperation for Central and South America, the Caribbean, Cuba and the Bahamas. SOUTHCOM is also responsible for ensuring the defense of the Panama Canal and the canal area. Located in Miami, FL, SOUTHCOM is comprised of more than 1,200 military and civilian personnel representing the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and several federal agencies.
The members of the class of 2008, who have been trained as merchant marine and Naval Reserve officers, represent 39 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In addition, the Class includes one student each from the Republics of Panama and Venezuela. Midshipman Robert T. Grandstaff of Red Oak, TX, will deliver the valedictory address.
Among the graduates from the New York area are seven students from Long Island, one from Brooklyn, two from Queens and one from Staten Island.
During the graduation ceremony, the academy superintendent, Vice Admiral Joseph D. Stewart, will present third mate licenses to 129 members of the class. Third assistant engineer licenses will go to 84 midshipmen. All graduates receive bachelor of science degrees.
Forty-two members of the 2008 class will be commissioned for active military service: 17 in the U.S. Navy: 8 in the Marine Corps; 1l in the Coast Guard; 1 in the Air Force; and 5 in the Army. In addition, 2 graduates will take a reserve commission in the Army National Guard; 2 in the Army Reserve; and 2 in the Coast Guard Reserve.
Thirty-six women are part of this year's class, bringing the total number of academy female graduates to 621. [USMMA, in 1974, was the first federal academy to admit women.]
Commencement marks the end of a demanding academic and regimental training process for the class of 2008. Each midshipman, in addition to classroom studies, has spent a year at sea in a work-study program aboard various U.S.-flag merchant vessels.
Seventy percent of the '08 class spent all or part of their sea year assigned to Naval auxiliary vessels forward deployed to the Middle East and/or aboard commercial vessels chartered to carry military supplies in support of U.S. operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. USMMA is the only federal academy with students in a combat zone.
The academy, which is operated by the Maritime Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation, was dedicated by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1943. Its college level, four-year program is fully accredited. More than 21,000 academy graduates have served the maritime industry and the Armed Forces both at sea and ashore.