OCTOBER 9, 2013 — The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, NY, remains closed as a result of the government shut down. The midshipmen were sent home Friday, October 4. Now the USMMA Alumni Association and Foundation is looking for support in getting Kings Point spared from the effects of the shut down in the same way as all the other service academies.
Kings Point plebes took oath on September 9, were sent home October 4
The midshipmen left the campus following a decision to move up the academy's scheduled fall break from its original date of November 1-11 to instead run from Friday, October 4 through Monday, October 14. Though swapping the fall break from November to this week has hit midshipmen, parents, faculty and staff who had made plans for the scheduled break, it minimizes the disruptive impact the shutdown is having on the Kings Point academic calendar.
Because the academy's academic calendar is nearly year-round, it has only 19 "break" days during the year to make up missed classes.
All other service academies have been spared the effect of the shut down.
The Pay Our Military Act, passed and enacted on September 30, 2013 to ensure that servicemen and women would continue to be paid during a shutdown, of the federal government enabled continued operation at West Point, USAFA, and the Naval Academy. It also made accommodation for the Coast Guard Academy (even though it is a part of DHS, not DOD). However, the USMMA was unintentionally left out of this bill.
Midshipmen at USMMA are Naval Reservists, with a sworn military commitment upon graduation. Approximately one-third of graduates go active duty. The other two-thirds have an eight-year obligation to serve the Naval Reserve (meeting the Navy's Military Sealift Command requirements.) The matriculation rate at USMMA is set in cooperation with the Navy to ensure that personnel needs are met each Spring.
Senator John Boozman (AR), a member of the USMMA Board of Visitors, has introduced the Pay Our Military Technical Corrections Act (S. 1568). It would provide a technical correction to the Pay Our Military Act that would enable USMMA to be treated in the same way as the other service academies.
The USMMA Alumni Association is asking Kings Pointers, parents, family and friends to help get the measure passed by asking their senators and congressmen to support the correction.