KINGS POINT, N.Y., June 28, 2016 - The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point (USMMA) welcomed its incoming Class of 2020, consisting of 279 plebe candidates, representing 51 states and U.S. territories, and two foreign countries, Panama and Malaysia.
Upon arrival, “at 0700” this morning, the Congressionally-nominated future midshipmen began a rigorous 21-day regimen of academic, military, and physical training known as Indoctrination or INDOC, which will transform them into future leaders and licensed maritime officers.
The new plebe candidates make up one of the most diverse USMMA classes. Minority enrollment for the Class of 2020 is now at 23.7, and the percentage of females is at 19.7 %. This is the highest percentage of females to enter the Academy in its history.
During their first day of INDOC, plebe candidates said were issued uniforms, received their first regulation haircut, and formed on Barney Square as companies for the first time.
“You are now in the first days of a four year journey,” said Superintendent Rear Adm. James A. Helis, USMS, speaking to the new plebe candidates, “a journey that will transform you into leaders of exemplary character who will serve America's marine transportation and defense needs in peace and war.” He continued, “you will probably work harder than you ever have before in your lives to get there. But the rewards at the end are enormous: your degree, your Merchant Marine Officers license, a commission in the Armed Forces, and the pride and satisfaction of being a graduate of Kings Point, of the United States Merchant Marine Academy, which are accolades you will carry with you for the rest of your lives.”
Speaking to the families gathered to see the new plebe candidates off, Helis said, “congratulations on getting your sons and daughters this far, continue to support them over the coming four years, and be assured that your sons’ and daughters’ success is our mission.”
At a separate briefing for family members, Helis was joined by Commandant of Midshipmen Capt. David B. Sosa, USMS, Interim Academic Dean Capt. David J. Palmer, USMS, the Regimental Commander Midshipman 1st Class Benjamin Wiese and the President of the National Parents Association Thomas Wesley. Their presentation slides can be downloaded under related document and include key dates such as when the plebe candidates will be able to make their first and second phone calls, Acceptance Day, Parents Weekend and Homecoming
By Veronica Cassidy Barry