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Merchant Marine Academy Closed Due to Government Shutdown

The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) website has a simple message: “Due to a lapse in funding, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy is closed for normal operations.”

“While all the service academies are being forced to make changes as a result, the impact on the USMMA is the most severe due to the fact that our faculty and staff are nearly all civilians, and therefore subject to the shutdown furloughs that do not impact active-duty military personnel,” says Rear Adm. James A. Helis, USMS, the school’s superintendent. “As a result, the academy has significantly reduced operations and administrative support programs have ceased. Up until now, we have kept midshipmen on campus in the hopes that the shutdown would be short-lived. This lack of certainty has created tremendous strain on our midshipmen, their families, and the academy itself.”

“While all the service academies are being forced to make changes as a result, the impact on the USMMA is the most severe due to the fact that our faculty and staff are nearly all civilians, and therefore subject to the shutdown furloughs that do not impact active-duty military personnel.”

To minimize the impact, Helis says the school will move up the fall break, originally scheduled for Nov. 1-11, to “minimize the disruptive impact the shutdown is having on our academic calendar.”

According to Helis, the closure affects the entire institution. “USMMA coaches are civilian employees, and like their academic counterparts, are subject to furlough under a shutdown due to a lapse in appropriations, so we are unable to participate in intercollegiate athletic events during the government shutdown.”

U.S. Merchant Marine Academy

The United States Merchant Marine Academy is a federal service academy that educates and graduates licensed Merchant Marine officers of exemplary character who serve America’s marine transportation and defense needs in peace and war. U.S. Merchant Marine Academy photo

While the school won’t cover the travel expenses for the midshipmen to go home, the campus dining hall will remain open for those who stay on campus. “If the government shutdown lasts beyond Oct. 15, the Academy will pay to fly midshipmen from their home of record back to campus once the government shutdown is over,” Helis says.

USMMA is a federal service academy that educates and graduates licensed Merchant Marine officers of exemplary character who serve America’s marine transportation and defense needs in peace and war.

While the school won’t cover the travel expenses for the midshipmen to go home, the campus dining hall will remain open for those who stay on campus.

Midshipmen who graduate receive a Bachelor of Science degree, a U.S. Coast Guard license, and an officer’s commission in the U.S. armed forces.

The academy’s motto is Acta Non Verba, or “Deeds not Words.”

By

Capt. Edward H. Lundquist, U.S. Navy (Ret.) is a senior-level communications professional with more than...