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Class of 2016 Profiles

KINGS POINT, N.Y., June 23, 2016 – As the United States Merchant Marine Academy’s (USMMA) Class of 2016 graduates head out to start their careers as the Nation’s newest Merchant Marine and Armed Forces Officers, we celebrate their achievements with a review of Class of 2016 members who were profiled in the media.

Ensign LeRoid Edwin Jones, Jr. ’16, U.S. Navy Reserve, Logistics and Intermodal Transportation Major, Destrehan, La.

Maritime Professional published a profile of LeRoid Jones, Jr. as part of their “MarPro’s Future Leader Series” in May.  To the question “What keeps you here?” Jones answered, “What keeps me here most is knowing all of the possibilities that are available upon graduation. I had a blast during Sea Year and knowing that I soon will be a licensed mate, really keeps me at Kings Point. Not to mention that I also have a great group of friends, as well. Just seeing the amazing opportunities that this academy offers has also helped to influence my sister in attending the academy. Once she found out that this academy has given me the opportunity to travel, and in just one short year see more of the world than most people do in their entire lives, really stood out to her.”  The profile included a photo of Jones with his sister, Midshipman 3rd Class Victoria Jones.

Regarding his career plans, Jones noted, “I intend to pursue a career in the maritime industry upon graduating, sailing as a Third Mate.”

Jones’ profile is online at this link.

James Hudson Gardner ’16, Magna cum Laude, Logistics and Intermodal Transportation Major, Williamsburg, Va.

Maritime Professional also published a profile of James Hudson Gardner as part of their “MarPro’s Future Leader Series” in March.  During his Sea Year Garner sailed on the RoRo vessel M/V Liberty Promise. “With multiple ports of call, I learned how to interact with numerous cultures and keep track of the fast paced movement that car carriers are known for. I loved the challenge as we constantly had to adapt to varying cargos and procedures in each port. During my second sailing period, I sailed aboard the USNS Kanawha (TAO-196). With 140 days aboard, it was on this ship I realized the importance of mentorship and how the crew become your extended family. Lastly, I sailed aboard a Joint High Speed Vessel, the Choctaw County (JHSV-2). The shiphandling was extensive. It’s not very often a cadet has the privilege to steer a ship (via a joystick) in between buoys outside of the Charleston breakwater at over 42 knots. As many of my classmates would agree, Sea Year is the highlight of our experience at Kings Point.”

Gardner will serve in the U.S. Coast Guard.

Gardner’s profile is online at this link.

Ensign Joshua Anthony Levitas ’16 , U.S. Navy, Summa cum Laude, Marine Engineering Systems Major, Huntingtown, Md.

The Landmark Conference featured tennis player Joshua Levitas in their “Friday Focus” section in April.  To the question “What does it mean to you to be a NCAA Division III student-athlete?” Levitas answered, “it is an honor to represent my school as a varsity athlete. I have also learned a lot of about what it means to be both a leader and a follower for a team. My freshman year we were the worst team in the conference, but we came together as a team this past year and made it to playoffs. It is very rewarding to see dedication and hard work get paid off.”

Levitas received a U.S. Navy direct commission to serve as a Cryptologic Warfare Officer.

Levitas’ profile is online at this link.

Ensign Elizabeth Anne Rose ’16, U.S. Navy, Marine Engineering Systems Major, Hamilton, Ohio

The Landmark Conference also featured swimmer Elizabeth Rose.  In her profile she said, “I would never trade my time swimming NCAA Division III for anything. It has opened up so many doors for me, including introducing me to some of the best friends/family I could ever find, and teaching me real skills in discipline and perseverance. Division III athletics allowed me to get involved and hone my leadership skills, and gave me the opportunity to be a part of a national network of collegiate athletes that I might otherwise have never had. The amount of work, energy, and time I gave to the USMMA swim and dive program was so, so worth it, and if I had the chance to do it again, I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Rose will serve in the U.S. Navy as a Surface Warfare Officer.

Rose’s profile is online at this link.

Ensign Thomas Oliver Hill ’16, U.S. Navy, Magna cum Laude, Marine Engineering Systems Major, Arvada, Colo.

In February, our Regimental Public Affairs Officer Jacob Weaver ’16 interviewed the Regimental Commander (RC) Thomas Hill for a profile posted on the Academy’s web site. To the question, “What was your favorite experience while at the Academy?” Hill responded, “my best experience was serving as an EMT officer during Indoctrination for the class of 2018. Being in charge of indoc was really cool, and it is a nice time to be on campus, if you’re not a candidate of course. Not having any classes allowed me ample time to focus on building and guiding the EMT’s to maximize their success with minimal interference from classes and other Regimental duties.   Like any focused, intensive leadership course, it gave me the opportunity to make mistakes, and learn from those mistakes.”

Regarding his plans for after graduation, Hill said, “after graduation I plan on taking an active duty slot in the Navy as a Submariner.  I would be attending Nuclear Power School in South Carolina immediately after graduation.  I am looking forward to this challenge.”

Hill’s profile is online at this link.

By Cmdr. Benjamin Benson, USMS

Updated: Friday, June 24, 2016
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