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The United States Merchant Marine Academy Announces 2016 Commencement Speaker

KINGS POINT, N.Y., May 11, 2016 – Gen. Darren W. McDew, Commander, U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) will deliver the 80th Commencement address at the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) at Kings Point on Saturday, June 18, 2016, Rear Adm. James A. Helis, USMS, announced today.

“The United States Merchant Marine Academy is honored to have Gen. McDew as our commencement speaker,” said Helis. “His strong support of the U.S. Merchant Marine highlights the significant role that merchant mariners play in supporting our military and keeping Americans safe, and makes him an outstanding role model for the Class of 2016 and all at the Academy.”

Located at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, USTRANSCOM is the single manager for global air, land and sea transportation for the Department of Defense.

During his visit to the Academy in February, McDew addressed the Regiment of Midshipmen, faculty and staff.  Citing the successful deployment of troops and material for Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm 25 years ago, he emphasized the importance of the maritime industry to our National Defense. He said, “you are one of the most powerful assets we have.”

Addressing the midshipmen, he said, “I want to thank you for choosing to put that uniform on, for choosing to put yourself through what you’re putting yourself through,… and then leave here and take on a job in this profession.”  He continued, “you chose something bigger than yourselves.  You chose a future that serves others, and I thank you for that.”

McDew was commissioned in 1982 following his graduation from Virginia Military Institute. He began his flying career at Loring AFB, Maine. His staff assignments include serving as a member of the Air Force Chief of Staff Operations Group, Air Force aide to the President, chief of the Air Force Senate Liaison Division and the director of Air Force Public Affairs.  McDew served as vice director for strategic plans and policy for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He also served as the commander of 18th Air Force, Scott AFB, and commanded at the squadron, group and wing levels as well as at an Air Force direct reporting unit. He deployed in support of ongoing operations in Central and Southwest Asia as an air expeditionary group commander and later as the director of mobility forces. Prior to his current assignment, McDew was the commander of Air Mobility Command, Scott AFB. 

USMMA is a federal service academy that educates and graduates licensed merchant mariners and leaders of exemplary character who serve America’s marine transportation and defense needs in peace and war. With 95 percent of the world’s products transported over water, these leaders are vital to the effective operation of our merchant fleet for both commercial and military transport. Academy graduates abide by the motto “Acta Non Verba" - deeds not words. USMMA is administered by the U. S. Maritime Administration under the auspices of the U. S. Department of Transportation.

By Cmdr. Benjamin Benson

Updated: Wednesday, May 11, 2016
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