USMMA - Concerns

Discussion in 'Merchant Marine Academy - USMMA' started by sevenrider860, Apr 4, 2017.

  1. sevenrider860

    sevenrider860 Member

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    I have been helping my son make a full evaluation of USMMA as the date to accept an appointment nears.

    I understand that there was a partial restoration of Sea Year in February. The NPA requested that Sea Year be back to full capacity by April 1st. Does anybody know if this has occurred?

    It seems that USMMA has suffered from a lack of leadership. Is that same leadership still in place? Do parents of current midshipmen and alumni feel the appointment of Secretary Chao will be beneficial to USMMA and work to correct the problems of the past.

    As a parent I support any decision my son will make, but I would hate to see him commit to an institution that is at risk of losing accreditation and no longer offers the education and real at sea maritime experience that Kings Point's history and reputation is based upon.

    Thank you.
     
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  2. golfindad

    golfindad Member

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    you just stirred the hornets nest. :) There are a number of theories that swirl around the entire issue of sea year, accreditation, etc. And, on social media, internet, etc., emotion causes there to be a lack of filter from a lot of people. So, being forewarned, here are my thoughts.

    I believe 4 companies have completed their assessments and have been approved for sea year. I think that it is about 70-75% of the berths that were previously available. I have not heard one way or the other if there are any issues with getting berths. But, based on the loud complaints about no berths in the past year, I assume that those needing berths are getting them, for the most part. There is an attack on the curriculum, that is for sure. The attack was instituted by the former administration. Nobody really knows what the goal was, and it could have been as simple as making the academy a nicer gentler place. It could have been as bad as closing the school, or having it "merge" with suny. What is known, imho, DOT and MARAD used USMMA as a pawn in order to attempt to convince congress to allocate nearly $2 billion to build new training vessels for the state academies. Because the state academies do not have a service requirement, nor do they graduate any significant numbers required to serve, the federal monies needed to support the state schools needed to be justified, and, they attempted to push usmma into using the state school vessels, which would provide a federal reason for the money. But, just because the adminstration has changed does not mean their tenticles are not still there. before they left they left a number of poison pills which are designed to attempt to force usmma onto state ships. there is a committee set up to recommend possible changes to sea year and it is heavily weighted by state school appointees. The state schools, of course, have a financial interest worth a couple billion dollars to recommend an end to sea year. But, I believe Chao will end up being a friend, and, I am cautiously optimistic that sea year will remain as is. There does not appear to be a lot of change of leadership at the academy. The superintendent is still there. as is the deputy superintendent. Both were instrumental it appears in the sea year stand down and the probable false narrative that the stand down was based upon. They are also the leadership team who drove the ship onto the accreditation rocks. The school is attempting to address the harassment issue, and is hiring a coordinator. It appears the acting commandant will not get the permanent gig. Talk from the campus says a new one is coming onboard, and announcements were made that that the acting one will return to his prior position as deputy, etc. So, as a parent, what do I think. I think the school is safe, but not yet fully secure. I think sea year will be safe. There are a lot of people who are working behind the scenes. I don't know if that really includes the NPA. The NPA seems to be sluggish, and not really upfront about what they are doing. The USMMA AAF seems to be doing things behind the scenes. The only way to correct all of the issues is to revamp the entire leadership team. That is probably not happening. Nobody knows what is happening on accreditation. The school is mum on what they are doing. I would hope they are doing something, and believe they probably are, but they haven't provided an update to anyone. Would I support DS going here again--yes. Do I believe that the school will be around in 10 years. Yes. Do I believe the school will be better in 10 years--yes. Why--because in the next year or two, when the south china sea and korea and eastern Europe explode, the need for the expertise the school teaches will be highlighted.
     
  3. sevenrider860

    sevenrider860 Member

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    golfindad - Thank you for your response and assessment. Very much appreciated.
     
  4. azmilmom

    azmilmom Member

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    @sevenrider860, thanks for asking the questions, and @golfindad thanks for taking a stab at answering them. Our family is cautiously excited about DS going to KP, but are concerned about these same issues. Accreditation is the really big one and I do hope that TPTB turn things around and see the immense value USMMA brings to our country.
     
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  5. WI-Dad20/21

    WI-Dad20/21 Member

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    Excellent summary @golfindad. So far, it's been a tremendous experience for our DS.
     
  6. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ... 5-Year Member

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    KP has had enemies, efforts to close her and bad leaders in the past and history being what it is, will likely also in the future.

    She has survived before, survives now and will continue to survive and thrive into the future.
     
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  7. usarmy87

    usarmy87 Member

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    Wow. Confirms choice to go with 4 year Arotc scholarship.
     
  8. KP2020Dad

    KP2020Dad DS - USMMA '20

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    It seems that most of the hysteria is external to KP. My DS loves it there and is doing well. It was the right decision for him. KP was not only his #1 choice, he didn’t consider any of the other service academies. If your DD/DS has USMMA as an alternate choice, because their ultimate goal is to go active Army/Navy/Air Force/USMC, than it is probably best to go ROTC. KP is tough and stressful, if your DS/DD isn’t fully committed, it may be too overwhelming. Good luck to all.
     
  9. azmilmom

    azmilmom Member

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    Glad you are satisfied with your choice, but in our case, my DS is going from an AROTC scholarship and into USMMA. He is enthusiastic about attending one of our nation's five service academies and feels it is the right choice for him. I agree with @KP2020Dad that the concerns are mostly external to KP and I feel confident that any issues will be resolved. Look at the other academies' issues over the years...heck, every college/university's issues! They all have them and it's how they address them which shows the character of the institution. Best of luck to all!
     
  10. KenJ

    KenJ Member

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    I agree. If your DS/DD desires military, the 3 military academies (USMA, USNA, USAFA or some ROTC scholarship ... easier to acquire) would be the better choices. If law enforcement, USCGA (so long as the USCG exists). USMMA's primary mission is to produce licensed/professional maritime officers.
     
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  11. sevenrider860

    sevenrider860 Member

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    I keep seeing the statement about "if your child desires gaol is active duty service go somewhere else". I don't find that constructive. There is nothing wrong with having that goal and attending KP. The USMMA Mission Statement is:

    "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."

    The Class of 2016 graduated 229 Merchant Marine and Military Officers. According to the press release: "As part of the commencement exercises 38 graduates were sworn in as active duty officers in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard. Another 25 graduates will be sworn in to the Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard at a later date."

    The two Kings Point graduates my son has met, and who influenced his decision to apply at USMMA, both went active duty Navy after graduation at KP and now both serve with the Military Sealift Command. So I don't think the comments "If your child desires the military, go another route" are constructive. My son has a 4 year NROTC Scholarship and when the free room and board + stipend is factored in, there is a definite financial advantage to go the NROTC route. However his decision to attend KP will not be based on getting a "free ride" followed by an active duty commission...he already has that option. For some kids there is the desire to serve their country as active duty military officers and then work within America's marine transportation industry, and I think that desire is an exact match to the USMMA Mission Statement.

    As a parent, I appreciate the fact that as my son will progress through his 4 years at KP he will have the option of not going active duty after graduation should he find other opportunities that change his mind, and he can still serve his country as an officer in the Navy Reserve.
     
  12. sevenrider860

    sevenrider860 Member

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    I will say that the statements I see about active duty are correctly spelled!

    "if your child's desired goal is active duty service go somewhere else"

    I try to correct my dismal spelling, but the forum think's it is spam and rejects the changes!
     
  13. kpmom2013

    kpmom2013 10-Year Member

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  14. kpmom2013

    kpmom2013 10-Year Member

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    You will find a certain segment of those on this forum with the attitude that those whose current goal is active duty do not belong at Kings Point. My DS (class of 2013) is now a Navy pilot. When he was about to graduate, he had offers of Navy Pilot, Marine Corps Pilot or Sailing on a US flag merchant ship with a first year guaranteed salary of nearly $90,000. How is that choice a bad thing? I do not think it is realistic to assume every 17 or 18 year old knows exactly what they want to do in their careerl, including my DD class of 2021. KP gives them an excellent education and exposure to some really great options. DS had several friends who entered KP certain they wanted to go active duty and after sea year they decided they wanted to sail. Even if they do go active duty, isn't it a good thing that some of our active duty troops gain an appreciation for the vital role that the Merchant Marine plays in our economy and in our national defense? Everyone should be welcomed here no matter what their current career goals. Okay I've said my piece. Now feel free to disagree.
     
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  15. WI-Dad20/21

    WI-Dad20/21 Member

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    That sums it up nicely. To have the option of going active duty, sailing on your Coast Guard license, or working in the US transportation industry is priceless.
     
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  16. galileo.galilei

    galileo.galilei Member

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    I am reading these posts with the goal of becoming more educated about the academy so that I can talk to my DS about applying to USMMA along with re-applying to USNA. I have been reading the posts and talking to USNA graduates who regret how little they knew about USMMA back in the day, and that if they were applying now, USMMA would be on the list of academies for them. As a parent, I find it frustrating that my DS won't consider any other academy, particularly since he didn't get it this year. Will see how my arguments go...
     
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  17. KP2020Dad

    KP2020Dad DS - USMMA '20

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    No one ever said, "...go somewhere else." Several parents (and their DD/DS) seem to have a hard time trying to decide between an ROTC scholarship and a USMMA appointment. My point was that if the DD/DS had the ultimate goal of being an Active Duty Army/Air Force/USMC officer that going the ROTC route would serve them well. USMMA is tough and shouldn't be looked at as the "easy" fall back plan. If the DD/DS isn't fully committed to KP, it will be even tougher. I re-read KenJ's and my post a few times to see how they could have been taken out of context and I don't see it. They both try to convey that there many routes a young adult can take to acheive their goals.
     
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  18. powderhorngreen

    powderhorngreen 5-Year Member

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    If my student had it to do over, he would not attend USMMA. Graduation is is 433 days for him, assuming the school remains accredited. Good luck with your decision.
     
  19. sevenrider860

    sevenrider860 Member

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    KP2020Dad,

    My response was not geared specifically to anything you wrote and could definitely have been expressed in better terms. When searching the many historical messages while trying to learn more about the USMMA myself, I have come away with the impression that many have a belief that active duty after graduation should not be an ultimate goal and that KP should be producing maritime officers and not feeding the armed services with active duty officers upon graduation.

    My son does have a goal today of serving as an active duty Surface Warfare Officer after graduation. The advice I have provided is that if he wants an almost 100% guarantee of active duty in the Navy after graduation and a more "normal" college experience the NROTC Scholarship is the path to follow. I told him that I think that KP will provide him an amazing education and life experience with a good chance, but not 100%, of achieving the active duty goal he currently has...but he will work harder in the next 4 years than he ever has before to achieve that goal and he will have more options available to adjust his graduation goals those 4 years than he would with his NROTC scholarship. I think the Class of 2016 Press Release from June 23, 2016 tends to lend support that active duty after graduation is realistic goal to have. 5 graduates are profiled and 4 of the 5 went active duty.
     
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  20. kpmom2013

    kpmom2013 10-Year Member

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    Golfindad. Your comments are true. I would add two plusses for KP re SWO. First, after sea year, your DS would know 10 times more about ships than any NROTC graduate. Whether he goes deck or engine, he would definitely be more of an asset and have way less of a learning curve than his civilian college peers. Second, the tightknit nature of KP grads cannot be overstated. My DS has benefited many times in his active duty assignments from the KP brotherhood because they really do look out for each other to an amazing degree. Even his USNA friends are jealous of the Kings Point bond. I will say, however, that KP is extremely difficult academically with the higher credit load, and your DS would be wise to consider the positives of a "normal" college before deciding on KP.