KINGS POINT, N.Y., July 1, 2016 – Last month marked the end of an era for the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA). Faculty, staff, alumni, and midshipmen bid farewell to Capt. Douglas A. Hard ’62, USMS, who retired after 42 years of dedicated service to USMMA, and 54 years of service to our Nation.
Capt. Hard, Professor in the Department of Marine Transportation, was honored during formal ceremonies surrounding the Class of 2016’s graduation. At the Class of 2016 Awards Convocation, Class President, Benjamin Morris thanked Hard for his many years of service and presented him a replica of the Academy Battle Standard. Hard was also given the distinction of leading the academic procession and bearing the Mace during the Academy’s eightieth Commencement Ceremony.
“Capt. Hard set the gold standard for service to the Academy and our Nation,” said Superintendent Rear Adm. James A. Helis, USMS. “We can’t thank him enough for all he contributed to the Academy and to the education of the thousands of Midshipmen he taught. The faculty, staff, and Midshipmen wish him fair winds and following seas!”
Heartfelt sentiments were shared at a retirement ceremony that was organized by Capt. Brian Hall, a former student, fellow professor in the Department of Marine Transportation, and a friend. Hall gave a brief account of Hard’s dedicated and exemplary service to our nation. He explained “for 54 years, since he got out of school, he’s been in uniform. He served in the Navy. He served in the Merchant Marine. In 1966 he went back to the Academy to serve as Special Assistant to then, Admiral McClintock. The Vietnam conflict was really ramping up at that point, so he saw a need to go back to sea as a Merchant Marine Officer and then as a Navy Officer, and became OIC (Officer in Charge) of a port in Vietnam. He had a very varied career in the Navy, and Doug is pretty-much considered the father of the Merchant Marine Program.”
He went on to explain, “It wasn’t just the Navy, Doug got an MBA from the Wharton School of Business, and attended “Brooklyn Poly,” where he got a Master of Science in Transportation Engineering.”
Hall continued, “But who is he? He is a Master Mariner. He’s a Naval Officer. He’s a scholar. He’s a father. He’s a husband. He is a lot of things … He is a professor, teacher, advisor, a mentor—but most of all, he is somebody who has dedicated his life to service—service to the nation, service to the maritime industry, and service to the Academy.”
Hall added, “If you look up integrity and discipline, there would be a picture of Doug Hard, there. Mariner, Officer, Scholar, Gentleman, great friend—that’s what Doug Hard is. If you ever need anything Doug Hard is there for you.”
He finished by saying, “anyone who has been in uniform for 54 years deserves a great round of applause!”
By Veronica Cassidy Barry