KINGS POINT, N.Y., November 23, 2016 — On November 21, Maritime Administrator, Paul N. “Chip” Jaenichen joined the United States Merchant Marine Academy’s (USMMA) administration, faculty, staff and Regiment of Midshipmen at the Regimental Thanksgiving Dinner in Delano Hall. The annual celebration is a much loved tradition at USMMA and a special treat for midshipmen.
After a musical performance by the Regimental Band, Superintendent Rear Admiral James A. Helis kicked-off the festivities by offering welcoming remarks and introducing the Maritime Administrator. Then, for the first time in recent history, the celebration included the Change of Command Ceremony. Commanding Officers of five companies, two battalions, and the Regiment of Midshipmen were relieved of their duties by classmates who will serve in their positions for the second half of Academic Year 2016-2017. MIDN Stacee Glass, Regimental Commander was relieved by MIDN Patrick Rooney.
CDR Mikel Stroud, Acting Commandant of Midshipmen said, “It was a great night. We were honored to have the Maritime Administrator join us and personally deliver his final Thanksgiving message to the Regiment of Midshipmen.” He added, “I was truly impressed with our midshipmen and the hard work they put into making this a very special night.”
After grace, led by Command Chaplain LCDR Jerry Durham, each table shared a family-style meal of turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, vegetables and apple cider. A midshipman at each table carved one of the 76 turkeys. Plebe Veronica Grabiak, from Los Angeles, California was given the honors at her table. She said, “My first Thanksgiving Regimental Dinner was a great way to kick off the holiday season and an opportunity for fellow midshipman and staff to sit down as a family. To come together as one in such a festive setting, definitely puts everyone in a good mood as we all get ready to head home to our friends and families."