KINGS POINT, N.Y., August 8, 2016 - On Saturday, August 6th, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) at Kings Point welcomed 272 “plebe candidates” of the Class of 2020 into the Regiment of Midshipmen. Rear Admiral James A. Helis, Ph.D., Superintendent, administrated the USMMA’s Corps of Cadets Oath during the Acceptance Day Ceremony and Parade. They were then sworn in as midshipmen in the U.S. Navy Reserve by Deputy Maritime Administrator, Michael J. Rodriguez, a Captain in the U.S. Navy Reserve.
Acceptance Day marks the transition of the “plebe candidates” to “plebes.” The Class of 2020 officially arrived on June 28, 2016, when the congressionally-nominated plebe candidates, representing 51 states and U.S. territories, and two foreign countries, Panama and Malaysia began a rigorous, 20-day regimen of academic, military, and physical training known as Indoctrination – their first step toward becoming future leaders and licensed U.S. Merchant Marine officers.
Before administering the oath, Rodriguez said, “Thank you of you in the Class of 2020 - for your hard work to reach this first of many milestones.” He then addressed the plebe families, “Thanks to all the Moms and Dads, Grandmothers, Grandfathers, and significant others for sending such great young men and women to us.” He took time to thank his own parents, Mary and Lou Rodriguez, who were in the audience. “Had it not been for their encouragement, support, and a lot of tough love - I would not be here today. I would not have had my Acceptance Day all the way back in 1975. I would not have had a graduation day. I know that looks like a long way off for all of you 2020s. However, it comes at you quicker than you think, “said Rodriguez.
After the Ceremony the new Plebes joined the Regiment of Midshipmen and marched past the Reviewing Officer, Captain Michael Rodriguez, Rear Admiral Helis, and Commandant of Midshipmen, Captain David Sosa.
The Class of 2020 is one of the most diverse classes in Academy history, with minority enrollment at 23.7 % and the percentage of females at 19.7 %. This is the highest percentage of females to enter the Academy in its history. The mean SAT score for the class is 1280.
USMMA 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
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.