What is the compelling national interest in having a U.S. Merchant Marine Academy?

We posed the question to Admiral Helis last week (among many other questions which still remain unanswered). Here’s how he responded:

The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy educates and graduates licensed merchant marines and leaders of exemplary character who serve the nation’s marine transportation and defense needs in peace and war. All midshipmen have a service obligation to the country as well as filling essential roles as leaders across the marine transportation industry, which is vital to our economy and defense needs.

The Academy is one of largest sources of newly licensed mariners each year, and our service obligation requirements are unique and differentiate the federal academy. U.S. Merchant Marine Academy graduates are in high demand in the maritime industry with a near 100 percent placement rate following graduation.

Even well past their obligation period requiring military reservist duty and active sailing on their license, Academy graduates continue to play essential roles as leaders across the marine transportation industry. In addition, every year at least 25% of the graduating class enlists in active service in one of federal armed services.

Very nice.

but…

With the exception of the sevice obligation - which can be satisfied working commercial - the above quote could have been written by any of the 6 State Academys as well,

So the question remains unanswered, Why do we need a Federal USMMA?

Well, two comments, and one that answers Jetryder’s post, kind of. The service obligation is not satisfied working commercial any longer. I think that program ended with my graduating class. I am not sure how it works now, but I do believe that they have to be a bit more active than when I was a shiny new Ensign (USNR Inactive). . . . .

The other comment; “licensed merchant marines”? AAAHHHHHHH. Freaking Army brass. . . . . .

[QUOTE=cmakin;107418]The other comment; “licensed merchant marines”? AAAHHHHHHH. Freaking Army brass. . . . . .[/QUOTE]

ARRGGGHHHH! The little fucking Armee pipsqueak couldn’t even get that one right!

There is no no way to rationalize the existence of that school any more…its day is past and it must be closed not just to save the money but because it is also an embarrassment!

you know I was thinking that it would be fine to have a USMMA provided we had the US Merchant Marine which by legal federal statute we are supposed to have as promulgated in the Merchant Marine Act of 1936 which to this day remains the law of the land…

and I quote…

TITLE I – DECLARATION OF POLICY

SECTION 101. It is necessary for the national defense and development of its foreign and domestic commerce that the United States shall have a merchant marine
    (a) sufficient to carry its domestic water-borne commerce and a substantial portion of the water-borne export and import foreign commerce of the United States and to provide shipping   
         service on all routes essential for maintaining the flow of such domestic and foreign water-borne commerce at all times
    (b) capable of serving as a naval and military auxiliary in time of war or national emergency,
    (c) owned and operated under the United States flag by citizens of the United States insofar as may be practicable, and
    (d) composed of the best-equipped, safest, and most suitable types of vessels, constructed in the United States and manned with a trained and efficient citizen personnel. 

[B]
It is hereby declared to be the policy of the United States to foster the development and encourage the maintenance of such a merchant marine.[/B]

Give us such a merchant marine Mr.President and you have have a dozen federally funded schools turning out little toy navee officer cum mariners…

.

[QUOTE=c.captain;107431]TITLE I – DECLARATION OF POLICY

SECTION 101. It is necessary for the national defense and development of its foreign and domestic commerce that the United States shall have a merchant marine

(a) sufficient to carry its domestic water-borne commerce and a substantial portion of the water-borne export and import foreign commerce of the United States and to provide shipping
service on all routes essential for maintaining the flow of such domestic and foreign water-borne commerce at all times

(b) capable of serving as a naval and military auxiliary in time of war or national emergency,

© owned and operated under the United States flag by citizens of the United States insofar as may be practicable, and

(d) composed of the best-equipped, safest, and most suitable types of vessels, constructed in the United States and manned with a trained and efficient citizen personnel. It is hereby declared to be the policy of the United States to foster the development and encourage the maintenance of such a merchant marine.[/QUOTE]

If the wording of this act is still the law of the land then this administration is in direct breach of the act. The last sentence of part (d) is the exact opposite of what is going on now. A supreme court case needs to be brought against them. What other recourse of accountability is there when the highest office in the land acts repeatedly in direct contradiction to the law of that land?

[QUOTE=PaddyWest2012;107440]If the wording of this act is still the law of the land then this administration is in direct breach of the act. The last sentence of part (d) is the exact opposite of what is going on now. A supreme court case needs to be brought against them. What other recourse of accountability is there when the highest office in the land acts repeatedly in direct contradiction to the law of that land?[/QUOTE]

It is not this President, but each and every one since Richard Nixon who’s Administration was the last to ever truly take proactive measures to build a bigger and more modern US fleet. Each President since has presided over the diminishing of our fleet to one extent or another. Ronald Regan’s two terms was more detrimental to keeping a strong modern fleet than any when he terminated the CDS and ODS. Bush 41 did nothing, Clinton enacted the MSP which only stemmed the uncontrolled hemorrhaging, Nush 43 did nothing and now it is Obama’s trick at the wheel to continue steering the ship right into oblivion. He obviously has no clue how to steer nor does he care and nobody knows what the Merchant Mariner Act of 1936 even is anymore expect some hollow words. Big business interests want cheap shipping to bring us cheap manufactured consumer goods and that means having the ferreners do all the work. “Fucking the American worker” is the motto of the US Chamber of Commerce!

A case in Federal District court would be a step to try to help but even if the plaintiff one all the Congress needs to do is nullify the Act. Nobody will stand in opposition except for a few with pretty weak voices in Washington. SO INCREDIBLY SAD and CRIMINAL!

[QUOTE=rob;107412]We posed the question to Admiral Helis last week (among many other questions which still remain unanswered). Here’s how he responded:[/QUOTE]

Col. Helis needs to stop using the percentage of graduates that active duty as an argument to keep Kings Point open. It does nothing but hurt the school and add fuel to the fire about closing it. We have other service academies for those that want to go active duty. It’s a poor argument and a tired meme.

There is no honest need for Kings Point to remain open.

Best reason to keep it open revolves around keeping my industry friends employed on the campus at taxpayer expense.

Emotional alumni see themselves as young again when they look back at the school now. And that’s nice.

Any military officers produced there can be produced at any of the nation’s ROTC programs or other academies.

Can anybody on gcaptain justify the USMMA in a sentence or two?

[QUOTE=Starboard Ten;107470]Can anybody on gcaptain justify the USMMA in a sentence or two?[/QUOTE]

who can make a turd shine?..

the UniBlab can!

If the Unites States had no navy would the United States have a Naval Academy? Well, you get my drift.
This new KP Sup has an agenda and it has nothing to do the the United States Merchant Marine simply because our Merchant Marine was lost, probably forever, several decades ago. A career army officer has no appreciation of a merchant marine as I, a career merchant seaman, have no history with any army. It is as simple as that. This new Sup wants to produce “leaders” as if there were not plenty of institutions all ready in place putting out such “leaders.”
“licensed merchant marines” he says - quite telling, isn’t it?
GOOD GAWD !!!

~ and the band played on ~

I posted this elsewhere, but I think it belongs on this thread:

First off, I have been a long-time observer of these forums. And to be honest have always abstained from posting due to how quickly these threads deteriorate into the same posters rallying together to kick a little more dirt on the USMMA. I have to agree with the sentiment that the constant bashing is detrimental to everyone’s best interest and only goes to decrease the support we need. I have had more than a few shoreside people reference some of the pure crap that is said in these forums and applied it as a wholesale verdict on the US Merchant Marine. Note, there is no Academy in that. I reference all of the recent Jones Act articles I have seen popping up on this site as proof that we are devaluing ourselves. So, on this note, I too agree, use a little discretion for everyone’s sake.

Secondly, while there as disagreement as to KP’s mission, usefulness, or viability I think we can all agree that at a time when this world was in crisis and fighting a second world war, the USMMA served a proud mission with midshipmen who did their duty with valor. These were kids, like the midshipmen today, going to sea during war directly assisting in winning the war by getting the bullets to the front lines. I have heard stories of guys standing on the bow in a convoy and seeing a torpedo go past their bow and into the side of the ship next to them. Stories of guys sleeping in life preservers, just in case. Some of these guys are those of whom were never heard from again. That legacy is something I think anyone addressing the academy should bear in mind.

Thirdly, as far as the academy goes today I hear sentiments of “De- fund MARAD, close KP”. Let kids go to a state school and work their way through college so they know what it is like to actually earn something. First of all, defunding MARAD will hurt the other maritime academies. That is where their training ships and fuel to do their summer cruises come from. Why are we killing the next generation of maritime officers? But, people read that without any education of the industry and take it as gospel because the guy who wrote it from the industry.

Close KP? Well, if Helis thinks the mission of the academy is just to send out “leaders” then we do have a problem. That is not the intent or mission of the academy, and the people making the most important decisions up there have strayed from the intended purpose of the school. If you believe that our country has a national security interest in getting away from foreign oil, or that it is an interest of national security to have ships at the ready to respond to a crisis, then I think you have cases for the purpose of the USMMA. We desperately need a steady flow of officers filling the void that the baby-boomer generation is leaving behind. That combined with the increased regulation and requirements for upgrading it is almost impossible for a “hawse-piper” to make it these days. The offshore industry is moving farther out, with bigger rigs, drill ships, bigger supply boats, and AHTS vessels that are small ships. The bayous don’t have enough guys to fill these jobs or the ability to pay for the courses to upgrade. Not to mention being able to afford to take the time off to take those courses. The companies just aren’t there to help.

“Just go to another academy.” Well, the insanely high and continually soaring tuition costs are not isolated to Harvard, Princeton, MIT and all the other traditional universities. And to imply that just because you worked your way through college scrubbing toilets and pumping gas while some kid got a “golden ticket” is how it works with everyone that goes through the USMMA is using a broad generalization. I came from less than humble beginnings and still had to work off campus to pay for the loans I needed to even afford to be at KP at it’s reduced cost. In case you didn’t know, it isn’t totally free. And I was definitely not the only one in that situation. Not to mention, that once you are at the academy you are still doing 20+ credit hours, regimental activities every day, and a sport. The attrition rate is incredibly high. So, I would say we earned it just as much.

Fourthly, I see this recurring theme that the Alumni association is some mafia or secret society that gives the graduate a golden ticket to excel into an upper-management position is ludicrous. Or even that the alumni are all products of drinking the kool-aid and being ego-maniacs once they come out. Again, broad strokes being painted here. Very broad generalizations. I have experienced no such thing and have been very successful up to this point based solely on the work ethic and determination I had to develop at KP. And of late, any success from somebody “looking out” for me that has helped climbing any ladder or getting a shot to move up has been from well-established alumni from SUNY. Are there tight knit groups of people from KP looking out for each other? Yes, and they were usually roommates, or class mates. Sometimes not. Just fellow alumni. But any school has that. That is the point of an alumni group. You look out for each other. Some associations are better than others. But, that is not singular to USMMA.

Lastly, in this sentiment that I keep seeing I read about the kids going to KP being rejects from the “real” service academies. Well, I would hate for any current midshipmen to read that. That is not doing them any favors putting them down like that with another broad generalization of the USMMA population. While there is a small population of midshipman every year that show up to KP because their first choice service academy (or even 2nd and 3rd choice) did not accept them, that is by far a small percentage. Many of my classmates were sons/daughters of chief engineers, captains, harbor pilots, maritime attorneys, cargo surveyors, etc. I for one was not. I just wanted to go to a maritime academy. And, since I couldn’t afford to go to any state academies (I would have to pay out of state tuition) USMMA was my choice. But, some kids do show up with KP as their last alternative for attending a service academy. Often they are ill informed as to what they are really getting into. But, that is not their fault. In my experience, the attrition rate is high enough as it is, and many of these individuals don’t hold out because going to sea wasn’t something they wanted to do. Some do make it. But, they also go on to do well and fulfill their obligations just like everyone else. Often, they see KP as a better choice in the end.

I would continue, but I have said my piece. And while I am sure there will be fervent responses from supposed hard-core individuals with way too much time on their hands to commit sooooo many responses and still be worth their salt running a ship or standing a watch, I hope that anyone trying to educate themselves on the industry and USMMA sift through all the other garbage and at least glance upon this. There are a few loud ruffians, but the silent professionals are still around and maintain a proud tradition with a sense of decorum. Fair winds, following seas gentlemen.

[QUOTE=c.captain;107427]ARRGGGHHHH! The little fucking Armee pipsqueak couldn’t even get that one right!

There is no no way to rationalize the existence of that school any more…its day is past and it must be closed not just to save the money but because it is also an embarrassment![/QUOTE]

How is it an embarrassment exactly?

[QUOTE=Starboard Ten;107470]There is no honest need for Kings Point to remain open.

Best reason to keep it open revolves around keeping my industry friends employed on the campus at taxpayer expense.

Emotional alumni see themselves as young again when they look back at the school now. And that’s nice.

Any military officers produced there can be produced at any of the nation’s ROTC programs or other academies.

Can anybody on gcaptain justify the USMMA in a sentence or two?[/QUOTE]

I really can’t say anything to justify it, in its present state. My one fear in closing the school (and I am not a grad) is that its closing will be used as another coffin nail for the Jones Act (merchant marine act of 1920).

The public knows woefully little about this industry (thanks for nothing, MarAd) and this would be pimped on the news as another reason to eliminate cabotage laws so the public can buy more Bangladeshi-death-shop-made tshirts even cheaper.

I’d say it could be reduced in size, smaller classes, add DP courses, maybe some distance continuing ed. Modernize.

As far as filling a military need? The services are downsizing right now so short of another major war there is no need to supplement the output of the other service academies.

Catherder is absolutely right. Once Kings Point is closed the rest of the industry soon follow.

I posted this on another thread.
I realize no one really cares what anyone says on here and it’s a place to vent. However what everyone who holds a Merchant Mariner credential needs to realize that the US Merchant Marine is slowly being dismantled piece by piece. I agree in reality we don’t need Kings Point having a multitude of Maritime Colleges. Yet once Kings Point closes it’s doors it will quicken the demise of what’s left of the American mariner.
So keep bashing the free ride and how kings pointed suck and I paid for their education cause when it’s closed, who do you think they’ll come after next. I know there’s a bunch of people like, I work offshore they’ll never replace me! Enjoy turning over to the Eastern Europeans. Or the tug guys working inland, enjoy being replaced by low cost Filipinos.
Just remember it’s about taking the industry down one segment at a time.

[QUOTE=leadline;109029]Catherder is absolutely right. Once Kings Point is closed the rest of the industry soon follow.

I posted this on another thread.
I realize no one really cares what anyone says on here and it’s a place to vent. However what everyone who holds a Merchant Mariner credential needs to realize that the US Merchant Marine is slowly being dismantled piece by piece. I agree in reality we don’t need Kings Point having a multitude of Maritime Colleges. Yet once Kings Point closes it’s doors it will quicken the demise of what’s left of the American mariner.
So keep bashing the free ride and how kings pointed suck and I paid for their education cause when it’s closed, who do you think they’ll come after next. I know there’s a bunch of people like, I work offshore they’ll never replace me! Enjoy turning over to the Eastern Europeans. Or the tug guys working inland, enjoy being replaced by low cost Filipinos.
Just remember it’s about taking the industry down one segment at a time.[/QUOTE]

This is ABSOLUTE BULLSHIT! There is no way whatsoever that having a USMMA and the survival of the Jones Act are in anyway linked. The Jones Act survives because shipowners with Jones Act fleets are very powerful and have a strong lobby on their side. Companies like Crowley, Saltchuk Resources, Matson, Edison Chouest, Hornbeck, Kirby only are what they are because of the protectionism in the Act and they ain’t about to let it die. KP plays no part whatsoever in these companies being successful and thriving and anyone attempting to somehow say that they need KP is more than just laughable!

It is a pity that I have such a busy day planned and little time to blast back at people like KPGulfer, UniBlab, Nelson’s Blood and yourself with your asinine statements and pathetic attempts to justify the continued funding of that farcical and no longer justifiable institution!

LOL. We can a free to disagree but as a Kings Pointer you know how powerful the alumni came be in the industry. Once the school is gone the alumni loose all power and then loose the ability to lobby. The reason KP stays open is the idea to have mariners for the Jones Act. No KP no need to keep the Jones Act. The industry is under attack, every aspect of it. You think your safe sailing on a drill ship. Think again, how much longer do you think they will keep Americans on foreign flagged drill ships once the Jones Act is gone.
They started the assault on inland waterways with the not paying their way BS. One segment at a time.
Keep believing what you want, but have fun looking for a job in 10 years, but then again you might be retired by then or maybe not but who knows $17 trillion in debt there should be something for you.

[QUOTE=leadline;109034]No KP no need to keep the Jones Act.[/QUOTE]

What!? This is what I meant about self-centered, self-serving ass holes! What the hell about the other SIX maritime academies!? What are they, 4-year membership yacht clubs? As if KP alumni are the only merchant mariners who lobby for the Jones Act… Statements like that are the reason people want to close KP so bad! Don’t you see how you and your fellow alumni keep digging the whole deeper and deeper? It’s painful to watch actually, knowing that the academy I attend is happy, healthy, has a prosperous future, and no one hates us.

Take your inflated ego somewhere that it’s welcome. You’ll find too few allies here.

LOL. Keep it up and watch what’s left of the industry die.
The point of No KP No Jones Act has to do how senators and congressman look at legislation. So the government pays for licensed officers what’s that school is gone it’s easy to say well we really don’t need the Jones Act. We subsidized officer training why subsided employment. Do you even think that congressman and senators know that there are state maritime colleges or even care?
Again this is the slow dismantling of the maritime industry.

I think this is very appropriate.


First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the socialists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Catholic.

Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.