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USMMA Celebrates National Maritime Day & Midshipman Appreciation Day

Vice AD, Douglas Perry, NMD 2024

KINGS POINT, N.Y., May 24, 2024 – The United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) at Kings Point commemorated National Maritime Day on Wednesday. The day was filled with activities from morning colors to retreat, underscoring the pivotal role the U.S. merchant marine and maritime industry have played since our nation’s inception.

The highlight was the National Maritime Day Ceremony, held on the Caswell Hollaway Terrace of Wiley Hall, with a view of Long Island Sound. Capt. Sean Tortora, USMS, a Master Mariner and Professor of Marine Transportation, extended a warm welcome to all attendees. The invocation was given by Second Class Midshipman Blake Giannamore.

The most senior merchant mariner present, Chief Engineer and Professor of Marine Engineering, Steven Pike, read the Proclamation on National Maritime Day, 2024. President Biden’s proclamation honored the contributions of merchant mariners to our Nation, particularly those who made the ultimate sacrifice. He stated, “Today, as we honor all that merchant mariners have done for our Nation, we also recognize the mariners who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our Nation. We owe these fallen heroes a debt of gratitude we can never fully repay. But our Nation will never forget their legacy and that of every mariner who has dared all, risked all, and given all for our Nation.”

Following the Proclamation, Rear Adm. Dave Wulf and USMMA’s youngest midshipman, Jason Equiano, 4/c, representing the Regiment of Midshipmen, faculty, and staff, paid tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice by placing a wreath at the War Memorial.

Then, Vice Admiral Douglas G. Perry, Commander, Joint Force Command Norfolk Commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet Director, Combined Joint Operations from the Sea Centre of Excellence, addressed the gathering. He expressed his honor to be present on the 91st National Maritime Day, "a day of great significance as it honors the extraordinary contributions and sacrifices of our merchant mariners, the unsung heroes who support our maritime operations as civilians."

He lightheartedly remarked, "You may be wondering why a Navy submariner is speaking at an event dedicated to celebrating merchant mariners."  He went on to say, "Today, as a fleet commander, I understand the vital role that you mariners play in naval and global operations, both for our Navy and our allies. Your work is not just crucial to the success of our missions, but it forms the very foundation of our strategic capabilities.” He added, “You are the professionals who operate our ships: the fast ammo ships, the oilers, the submarine tenders, the hospital ships that sustain our War Fighting Navy all around the globe.”

The solemn ceremony concluded with Deputy Superintendent Rear Adm David M. Wulf, USMS, expressing gratitude to the all-volunteer, National Maritime Day Committee, for organizing the event and to Vice Adm. Perry for his insightful remarks. He said, “As you mentioned, the U.S. Merchant Marine has a proud history of supporting every action our Navy has undertaken – and with that in mind—and given our close ties to the Navy in so many respects–your presence here today is truly fitting. Thank you, Sir.” He further added, “Most importantly, I’m privileged to have the opportunity to acknowledge our mariners, past and present, who have served ‘in peace and war’ - as well as the entire Regiment of Midshipmen - who have made the commitment to serve our Nation.”

The afternoon transitioned into an evening focused on future merchant mariners. The Academy community came together to celebrate Midshipmen Appreciation Day with a barbecue and games for all hands.



By a joint resolution of Congress approved May 20, 1933, May 22nd of each year is designated as National Maritime Day.  Congress authorized and requested that the President of the United States issue a proclamation recognizing National Maritime Day and calling for its appropriate observance in ceremonies and events held throughout the country.  During National Maritime Day, the country celebrates its proud maritime history and salutes the mariners who have transported American goods across the oceans in times of peace and war.


The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, located in Kings Point, N.Y, educates and graduates licensed merchant mariners and leaders of exemplary character who will serve America’s marine transportation and defense needs in peace and war. The U.S. Merchant Marine is administered by the Maritime Administration under the auspices of the Department of Transportation.



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