KINGS POINT, N.Y., August 12, 2014 - On Saturday, August 9th, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) at Kings Point welcomed 250 “plebe candidates” of the Class of 2018 into the Regiment of Midshipmen as they took USMMA’s Corps of Cadets Oath administrated by Rear Admiral James A. Helis, Ph.D., Superintendent of USMMA, during the Acceptance Day Ceremony and Parade. They were then sworn in as midshipmen in the U.S. Navy Reserve by Rear Admiral Thomas K. Shannon, Commander, Military Sealift Command.
Acceptance Day marks the transition of the “plebe candidates” to “plebes.” The Class of 2018 officially arrived on July 2, 2014. The congressionally-nominated plebe candidates began a rigorous, 20-day regimen of academic, military, and physical training known as Indoctrination – their first step toward becoming future leaders and licensed merchant marine officers.
Before administering the oath to the newest Navy reservists, Rear Admiral Shannon addressed the parents. He said, “You are giving us America’s finest sons and daughters, and we don’t take that lightly.” He then turned his attention to the Class of 2018. “There is a Battle Standard here which you will all become intimately familiar with while you are at Kings Point. Every time you encounter it you will render a smart salute,” said Shannon. “While you do that, I recommend you think about what standard you will set as an individual, and what standard, pulling together, your class will set as a whole.” He added, “One other piece of advice before I administer the oath - every once in a while remember to call your mother.”
After the Ceremony the new Plebes joined the Regiment of Midshipmen and marched past the Reviewing Officer, Rear Admiral Shannon, who was joined by Maritime Administrator, Paul N. Jaenichen, Rear Admiral Helis, and the Commandant of Midshipmen, Captain Jay Kennedy.
The Class of 2018 makes up one of the most diverse classes in Academy history with minority enrollment at 27.4% and the percentage of females at 18.6 %. The average SAT scores for the Class of 2018 is 1284; 632 for critical reading and 652 for math. The 250 plebes represent 46 states and 4 foreign countries, including Malaysia, Romania, Panama and the Republic of Korea.
The Academy is the only federal service academy where graduates earn three graduation credentials – a Bachelor of Science Degree, an Officer’s commission in any branch of the military and a U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) license as a Deck or Engineering Officer. In preparation for USCG license exams, each midshipman spends a minimum of 300 days at sea aboard U.S. flagged vessels involved in global trade or military operations.
As part of their service obligation, Kings Point graduates serve five years on active-duty in the military or sail five years as Officers in the U. S. Merchant Marine and eight years in the reserves. USMMA is the largest single commissioning source for the U.S. Navy after the Naval Academy, ensuring a steady stream of leaders and merchant marine officers to support the nation’s economic and security interests.
The USMMA is on the Forbes list of top colleges in the United States. U.S. News and World Report ranked USMMA the second best public college in the North Region, and third best regional college in the North, in its 2014 rankings.