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USMMA Holds Change of Command Ceremony

KINGS POINT, N.Y., January 6, 2104 – On December 16, 2013, the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) held a Change of Command Ceremony in Ackerman Auditorium where Commanding Officers of five companies, two battalions, and the Regiment of Midshipmen were relieved of their duties by classmates who will serve in their positions for the second half of Academic Year 2013-2014.

For seven decades at USMMA, the Regiment of Midshipmen has been led by midshipmen officers, appointed by the Superintendent to establish and maintain accountability, good order and discipline, and esprit de corps within the Regiment.  The ceremony acknowledges that a transfer of authority has taken place and demonstrates to all hands that Regiment is never without leadership. The highlight of the Change of Command Ceremony is the reading of official orders by the relieving officer and the officer to be relieved. Command passes when the outgoing officer presents arms, and says “I am ready to be relieved.”  The incoming officer renders a hand salute and says “I relieve you, Sir.”  This exchange is initiated by each officer to be relieved.

The outgoing Regimental Commander, Midshipman 1/C Kevin Berto, was relieved by Midshipman Connor McGowan, who takes charge of the Regiment of Midshipmen through the end of the academic year.  Berto,from Lake Forrest, Illinois said, “Serving as Regimental Commander was challenging, and even more so, rewarding.  I am grateful for the opportunity to have influenced the development of my peers and underclassmen.  It was a joy to work with my fellow midshipmen officers and learn from Regimental Training Officer, Commander McCarthy, Commandant of Midshipmen, Captain Kennedy, and Superintendent, Rear Admiral Helis, and the faculty, all of whom are generously involved in the Regiment's continued betterment.  The turnover process in passing command to M/N Connor McGowan allowed me to reflect on the obstacles overcome, lessons learned, and good times had since last May when I accepted command from Midshipman Daniel Galginaitis. Midshipman Connor McGowan and I volunteered as drill instructors, and it feels right to turn over the position to an enthusiastic and thoughtful leader. I know that as Regimental Commander, M/N CAPT McGowan will thoroughly enjoy the interactions with the midshipmen, faculty, and alumni.”

The new Regimental Commander, Midshipman Captain McGowan, of Bath, Maine said, “I'm excited and glad to be able to work with the members of the regiment.  I know we are all capable of operating at a high level of professionalism.  I look to serving the Regiment of Midshipmen in every capacity that I can."

Along with the change in Regimental Commander, the following First Classmen participated in the Change of Command Ceremony:

Band Company:   MIDN LCDR Adam Wood was relieved by MIDN LCDR Patrick Finneran

1st Battalion: MIDN CDR Brandon DeLarosa was relieved MIDN CDR John Demederios
1st Company: MIDN Kathryn McKenna was relieved by MIDN LCDR Robert Femia
2nd  Company: MIDN LCDR Joseph Dunn was relieved by MIDN LCDRAndrew Donohue
2nd Battalion: MIDN CDR Tyler Russel was relieved by MIDN CDR Frederick Ebers
3rd Company: MIDN LCDR Thomas Treat was relieved by MIDN LCDR Tyler Washington
4th Company: MIDN LCDR Phillip Walker was relieved by MIDN LCDR Jacob Joseph
Regimental Executive Officer: MIDN CDR Antoine Picou was relieved by MIDN CDR Zachary Adema

Rear Admiral James A. Helis congratulated the Academy’s newest Regimental Officers and wished them success.  “You have been chosen to lead the Regiment of Midshipmen because you possess the qualities that make good leaders.  I wish you success in your new roles. May your example inspire those who will follow in your footsteps.”

Updated: Wednesday, January 8, 2014