Austin Christopher Haire of Ignacio recently graduated from the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) at Kings Point, N.Y. Haire earned a bachelor of science degree and a commission in the U. S. armed services. He also earned a Merchant Marine officer license, qualifying him to serve as an officer on any ship in the U.S. flag merchant marine.
The United States Merchant Marine Academy is a federal service academy that educates and graduates licensed Merchant Marine officers. In addition to the rigorous academic and physical requirements for admission, applicants must be nominated by their Congressman or Senator. Haire was nominated by U.S. Sen. Michael Bennett.
All USMMA graduates earn both a degree and a merchant marine license and incur an obligation to serve the United States. The U.S. Flag Merchant Marine is essential for securing the country's commerce in peacetime and delivering warfighters, weapons, and military supplies in times of conflict.
The majority of "Kings Pointers" will serve as Navy reservists in the Strategic Sealift Officer Program while working aboard U.S. flag vessels; others will serve on active duty in our nations' armed forces. As part of his four-year education, Haire spent one year training as a cadet aboard oceangoing vessels.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the dedication of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (1943-2018). Dedicated in wartime, USMMA has served the nation in both peace and war. As the first federal academy to admit women, USMMA will also celebrate the 40th anniversary of the first women to graduate from any federal service academy.
More information about the 75th Anniversary at www.WeAreTheUSMMA.com
The academy welcomed U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis as this year's graduation speaker.
"I think whether you're going to be at shore or at sea, you're going to bind the muscles of American commerce and that's a simple reality because as small as our Merchant Marine may be today, it is absolutely essential," he told the graduating class. "It's in every war plan that I review, I guarantee you, because you're going to be the fourth arm of defense. You're going to sustain our allies and fuel our ships and ferry our warriors. It's as simple as that and we're going to need you as we see the storm clouds gather elsewhere."
For more information about the Academy, visit https://www.usmma.edu/.