A current U.S. Merchant Marine Academy midshipman, Andrew Bouchot of Castle Pines, Colo., has received the Merchant Marine Medal for Outstanding Achievement for his heroic efforts in saving the life of a stowaway during his Academy Sea Year Training.
Bouchot was selected for the prestigious award by the federal Maritime Administration (MARAD).
The medal was presented to Midshipman Bouchot today, National Maritime Day, by Maritime Administrator Rear Admiral Mark Buzby, USN (Retired), .
In December 2017, Midshipman Bouchot was sailing aboard a heavy lift vessel assigned as an engine cadet when, just after leaving Lagos, Nigeria, three stowaways were discovered. One was dehydrated to the point of death. Midshipman Bouchot, a New York State certified EMT, immediately responded to the medical needs of each of the distressed men. Throughout the ordeal, Midshipman Bouchot monitored and treated one of the men, who was near comatose, safely rehydrating him which enabled him to eventually make a full recovery.
The medal, established in 2002, is “awarded to recognize merchant mariners who have participated in an act or operation of humanitarian nature directly to an individual or groups of individuals. This medal may be awarded to those leaders in the maritime industry who have dedicated years of service or achievement and/or given an extraordinary valuable contribution or work to the maritime industry.”
“I am humbled to be recognized for this achievement,” said Midshipman Bouchot. “I simply did what any of my fellow classmates would have done in the same situation.”
“The selfless and courageous actions of Midshipman Bouchot are indicative of the character possessed by the men and women who currently attend the USMMA as well as its over 13,000 living alumni,” said Capt. James Tobin, president of the USMMA Alumni Association and Foundation. “We could not be prouder of Midshipman Bouchot.”
The USMMA, located in Kings Point, N.Y., is unique in that a key part of its training, mandated by Congress, takes place aboard vessels for a full twelve months. During World War II, 142 students lost their lives while training at sea thus making the USMMA the only federal service academy privileged to carry a Battle Standard. Sea Year is a real-world shipboard experience where, as Midshipman Bouchot can attest, anything can happen.