JANUARY 12, 2016 — In confirmation hearings, Elaine Chao, President-elect Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Transportation, told Senator Roger Wicker that sorting out problems at U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA), Kings Point, NY, will be her first priority at MARAD.
That will be music to the ears of Kings Point alumni. There has been a tension between the academy alumni and the current Maritime Administration for quite some time. Indeed, back in May 2013, current Academy Superintendent James Helis even succeeded in evicting the USMMA Alumni Association & Foundation (AAF) from its offices on the academy’s campus.
The low point in the current administration’s handling of Kings Point came in June 2016 when Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced a stand down of the academy’s Sea Year, which gives USMMA Midshipmen the opportunity to work on ships and gain real world experience as mariners.