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California Maritime Academy Commissioning Ceremony 2008

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  • Pacific Merchant Marine Council, NLUS
    Last call for submitting material for the April - June Pacific Merchant Marine Council Captain s Call newsletter. Items for the newletter or website alway
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 29, 2008
      Last call for submitting material for the April - June Pacific Merchant Marine Council Captain's Call newsletter. Items for the newletter or website alway appreciated.
      Phelps Hobart

      California Maritime Academy Commissioning Ceremony 2008

      Saturday morning, April 26th, was special for us who appreciate seeing midshipmen graduate and get sworn in as officers. Arriving early provided opportunity to meet and chat with attendees, the midshipmen, and students. A continental breakfast was set up for all in the dining area. From the Pacific Merchant Marine Council was Rear Admiral Frank X. Johnston, USMS, (Ret.) and Phelps Hobart, Council President. A number of Navy Leaguers from other councils were present as well - some of them award presenters.

      Rear Admiral Johnston gave the address in his new capacity on the Board of Pilot Commissioners - lots of sage advice. California  Maritime Academy President Dr. William Eisenharrdt was in his dress whites; he holds the rank of Rear Admiral, USMS. The Travis Air Force Base Brass Quintet provided appropriate music for the occasion. Of special note attending was Sandy Chavez of the Long Beach Council - she is chair of that council's Merchant Marine Committee. A very proud moment for her (as well as all parents and grandparents) as her daughter Felizia Jean Chavez received her commission Ensign, USN, to be followed by service as a surface warfare officer.

      The Corps was small. Three for active duty in the Navy, one for the Coast Guard, and three for the Merchant Marine Reserve. Two senior midshipmen died - one hiking in Vietnam, the other with a heart attack. So sad; may they rest in peace. The commissioning was special - it brought back personal memories of my early days in uniform. Just like Annapolis, covers thrown in the air at the conclusion of the service.

      Then there was a break for an hour. All gathered at the water's edge for photos - family members and their pride and joy, groups, you name it - all but a dunking. The weather was fantastic - clear and crisp.

      We reassembled in auditorium for the awards presentation at 1100. Awards - an overwhelming amount, well over forty, for every conceivable honorable purpose for maritime graduates and students alike - all in midshipmen or newly commissioned officers in uniform.

      Though desired, this council was unable to make a presentation this year. Maybe next year. I would like to see the award named Captain Jeremiah O'Brien Award for Freedom or Freedom of the Seas. It would go to an ensign going to career service aboard U. S. merchant ships. We have a woefully insufficient awards account - hopefully with support this council fund will grow and we will be on stage making a presentation in 2009. Yes, contributions for this purpose are appreciated and volunteers for the council awards committee most welcomed.

      Next was a two hour break for lunch and socializing. That was followed by the graduation ceremony. Technically the ensigns are not officially commissioned until they get their diplomas. No matter; it all seems to work. All in all it was a very special occasion. I think as many of us who desire to attend morning activities can do so in 2009. The only aspect of the day that was packed was the afternoon graduation ceremony.



      Merchant Marine Reserve Program
      Two in the Merchant Marine Reserve NROTC-DET 71 at the California Maritime Academy - an active unit on campus; its values include honor, courage, and commitment. MMR midshipmen have a desire to protect and serve the United States of America and they clearly display the willingness to accept the responsibility that comes with service afloat.

      The California Maritime Academy's Naval Science Department prepares students to participate in the Merchant Marine Reserve (MMR). A joint program established in 1925 between the U. S. Navy and the U. S. Merchant Marine. The MMR has a mission to assist in times of national emergency by augmenting the Navy's sealift capacity and providing civilian shipping for military operations. Midshipmen also have the ability to apply for an active duty commission in the Navy or other branches of the armed forces.

      College Commitment
      Midshipmen (MMR students) meet for weekly training sessions at Cal Maritime.  These "drill periods" provide opportunities for midshipmen to develop their leadership skills through professional guidance, close-order drill, guest lectures, and other varied leadership laboratories.  MMR students are also required to take three Naval Science classes.

      To participate in the MMR, students must meet the following qualifications:
      be under the age of 34,
      pass a physical examination,
      pass a semi-annual Physical Readiness Test,
      be enrolled in a degree program with a U.S. Coast Guard license option,
      and be in good academic standing, with a GPA of 2.0 or better.
      Students will be offered the opportunity to join the MMR during the orientation period of their first year at Cal Maritime. Applicants will be interviewed by the Officer in Charge of the MMR Unit to determine aptitude for naval service; those deemed eligible must apply and, if selected, will receive appointments as Midshipmen, U.S. Naval Reserve, with concurrent Navy Enlisted Reserve Status.

      Midshipmen between the ages of 17 and 24 are eligible to receive a Student Incentive Payment of $4,000 annually ($16,000 total distributed over four years) from the Federal Maritime Administration.

      Upon graduation midshipmen are commissioned as Ensigns in the U.S. Naval Reserve. They are obligated to maintain their Coast Guard license and participate in the Naval Reserve for six years, during which time they will perform two weeks of paid active duty training per year. In addition, they are required to maintain employment in the maritime industry for three years.

      Midshipmen also have the opportunity to apply for an active duty commission in the Navy (Naval Aviation, Surface Warfare, Naval Intelligence, Navy Nuclear Power Program, or Special Warfare) or another branch of the Armed Forces.

      For additional information contact the Department of Naval Science at 707-654-1266 or 707-654-1267.
    • graylady52@aol.com
      That is a beautiful write-up, Phelps! Thank you so much for sending that to us! You have very good writing skills! I will share the article at our next Long
      Message 2 of 2 , Apr 30, 2008
        That is a beautiful write-up, Phelps!  Thank you so much for sending that to us!  You have very good writing skills!
        I will share the article at our next Long Beach Navy League Council meeting.
        Thank you - it was a wonderful morning!

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