The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point graduated 200 students at its commencement ceremony Saturday, with speakers urging mariners to go “full ahead” and dozens of graduates accepting officer commissions.
Among the speakers were Superintendent Rear Adm. Jack Buono, Capt. Donald Marcus, a 1979 alum and president of the International Organization of Masters, Mates and Pilots, and Peter Navarro, an assistant to President Donald Trump and director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy.
“Complacency is your enemy. Guard against it and be the best mariner you can be,” Buono told graduates. “Your nation deserves that from you and those that sail and serve with you, they deserve it as well. I have no doubt you will live a life of and embody Acta Non Verba,” the academy’s motto of Action, Not Words.
Almost half – 99 – of the graduates were commissioned as strategic sealift officers, who are commissioned officers in the U.S. Navy Reserve assigned to reserve U.S. Naval activities supporting strategic sealift in times of national defense or emergency.
There were 17 commissioned as officers in the U.S. Navy, 12 commissioned as officers in the U.S. Coast Guard, 10 commissioned as officers in the U.S. Marine Corps, nine commissioned as officers in the U.S. Air Force, and six graduates accepting commissions as officers in the U.S. Army.
Four graduates expect to receive U.S. Army commissions later in the year, while five graduates expect commissions from the U.S. Marine Corps later in the year
There were also 17 graduates commissioned as active duty officers in the U.S. Navy, 12 into the U.S. Coast Guard, 10 in the U.S. Marine Corps, nine in the U.S. Air Force, six in the U.S. Army, and four others anticipate commissions in the U.S. Coast Guard.
One graduate was also commissioned into the Air National Guard and another into the U.S. Air Force reserves.
“Some of the most valuable teachers come from the most unlikely sources and sometimes the lessons are painful,” Marcus said. “But as you learned at this institution, if you persevere, if you have determination and you listen and you grow, you will weather whatever storm approaches.”
The full commencement ceremony can be viewed online at https://www.maritimetv.com/Events/USMMA-2019-Graduation-Ceremony
Photos courtesy of U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.