The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) at Kings Point welcomed the Class of 2022 into the U.S. Navy Reserve in a parade and ceremony at Tomb Field on the academy grounds on Saturday, Sept. 1. The class was sworn in on behalf of the U.S. Navy by Captain Steven Urwiller, USMMA ’94, the director of Military Sealift Command’s Reserve Affairs and Military Manpower.
The parade and ceremony marked the end of formal activities for Parents Weekend 2018, with eligible plebes and midshipmen heading off the academy for liberty. This is the first time that the members of the Class of 2022 have been allowed to leave the academy since the 280 plebe candidates, representing 45 states and Panama, arrived at indoctrination training on June 29.
The nearly 20-day orientation period known as indoctrination, or indoc, taught plebe candidates the basics of maritime and regimental life at USMMA. Training emphasized military discipline, daily regimental routine, physical fitness, basic seamanship and an introduction to college-level academics. The swearing in represents another step for the class in their journey toward becoming leaders and licensed U.S. Merchant Marine officers.
Before administering the oath, Urwiller encouraged the plebe class, telling them that they are joining at a time when their presence is most important to our country. He congratulated them on their progress, before administering the oath of a midshipman in the U.S. Navy Reserve.
Once sworn in, the plebes joined the Regiment of Midshipmen and marched past the reviewing officers, Rear Admiral James A. Helis, superintendent of the academy; Urwiller; and Commander Andrew McCarthy, deputy commandant of cadets.
“Today’s event marks another significant milestone at the academy, but in particular for the Class of 2022,” said Helis. “It’s a great moment in their professional development, and we are happy to be able to present it at a time when many of their families could attend.”
USMMA is the only federal service academy where graduates earn three graduation credentials—a Bachelor of Science degree, an officer’s commission in any branch of the military and a U.S. Coast Guard license as a deck or engineering officer.
As part of their service obligation, USMMA graduates serve five years on active-duty in the military or sail five years as officers in the U. S. Merchant Marine and eight years in the Reserves. USMMA is the largest commissioning source for the U.S. Navy after the Naval Academy, ensuring a steady stream of leaders and merchant marine officers to support the nation’s economic and security interests.