KINGS POINT, N.Y., July 26, 2019 – Plebe candidates at the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) at Kings Point achieved an important milestone this past weekend; the completion of their summer training. The Class of 2023 began the orientation period known as Indoctrination, or Indoc, on July 5, and finished with a late-night Honor Oath ceremony on Saturday, July 20, that marked a change in their status from Plebe Candidate to Plebe in the Regiment of Midshipmen.
Superintendent of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, RADM Jack Buono reflected on the Indoc period of training. “I haven’t seen Indoc since 1974,” said Buono. “It is different than it was back then, and for all those that have experienced an Indoc in some form in the past, I’ll tell you it is better. The environment is controlled, the demands on the new candidates are through the roof, and the leadership requirements on the upper-class cadre are significant. The atmosphere is extremely professional, and the Plebe Candidates are fully prepared to join the regiment and start academics when they complete the training.”
The Candidates were kept busy learning the basics of maritime and regimental life at USMMA since their arrival. The training emphasized military discipline, teamwork, physical fitness, basic seamanship, and an introduction to college-level academics. They experienced weapons familiarization firing, Waterfront safety, firefighting, Sexual Assault Response and Prevention training, Honor training and an introduction to U.S. Coast Guard Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), just to name a few.
“The midshipman cadre has been superb in leading the new class through this very demanding training,” said Buono. “I’ve heard criticism that the training has gotten easier over the years, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. We incorporate best-practice leadership techniques that challenge the Plebe Candidates physically, mentally and emotionally. As I said, it’s different, and it’s better.”
“We’ve watched this class transform since Zero Day from a bunch of individuals that were overwhelmed by their new environment, to squads, platoons and companies that have esprit and pride,” said CAPT Mike Stroud, Commandant of the Regiment of Midshipmen. “They worked through tough challenge, after tough challenge during Indoc. They have a long way to go with the academic year and joining the regiment ahead of them, but I have confidence in the Class of 2023.”
USMMA has followed Indoc closely since the new class arrived. Social Media (SM) platforms have allowed the Academy to bring Indoc right into the homes of parents, alumni, midshipmen and friends of the Academy, with the external affairs office posting more than 7,000 photos, 70 stories and 25 videos on two SM sites during the 17-day Indoc period. “Unlike the past, we are able to share everything about Indoc,” said Buono. “You get to see it all, in near-real time, and we are proud to share it with you.”
Now that the Classes of 2020, 2021, and 2022 have returned, next up for the Class of 2023, is the academic year.