KINGS POINT, N.Y., November 23, 2015 – The United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) and Regiment of Midshipmen welcomed back 193 cadets who returned to the Academy after completing their Sea Year assignment, during a “Back From Sea Dinner”.
As a requirement for graduation, every midshipmen at USMMA earns a minimum of 300 days seatime, as part of their Sea Year. Each midshipman, referred to as a “cadet” only during Sea Year, is scheduled as an “A-Split” or “B-Split” Cadet. “B-split” refers to the Sea Period that ends on the last Sunday of Fall break. Midshipmen who returned from sea for the first time completed approximately 120 days at sea, and those who returned from their second sailing period completed approximately 240 days at sea.
Director of Professional Development & Career Services, Captain Gene Albert, USMS, addressed the midshipmen. “To the 2017 B-Splits, your cadet sea time is over and may your next discharge read Third Mate or Third Assistant Engineer in five short trimesters. To the 2018 B- Splits, only 109 days to your return to sea”, said Albert. He explained that some cadets, “were aboard vessels with short port stays of 8 hours or less and some for weeks. Such is the life of a mariner.” He encouraged the newly returned mariners to “share your sea stories with each other and hold these memories dear.”
Midshipmen got a head start sharing stories a few days earlier, during the Academy’s first “Sea Story Sunday,” held in Land Hall. Organized by the Academy’s Director of Student Activities, Nicholas Rachowicz, midshipmen and faculty shared their sea-going experiences in a relaxed forum that gave all present an opportunity to reflect upon their time at sea. Stories ranged from the dangers of Alaska’s icy waters and a harrowing underway replenishment (UNREP) to the beauty of the Aurora Borealis.
Rachowicz complimented the story tellers, including Lt. Fionna Boyle, Midshipmen 1st Class Josh Rains, Jason Black and Jeremy Guettlien, and Midshipman 2nd Class Sara Pisarski. “They were funny and kept the audience on the edge of their seats. A crackling fire set the mood.”