Maritime Administration News Release

News Release #: DOT 10-08
Date: Jan 24 2008
Contact: Susan Clark
Contact Phone: 202-366-5807

Wounded Warriors to Serve at Merchant Marine Academy

Secretary Peters Announces Plan to Benefit Veterans, Midshipment

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters announced today that the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point (USMMA) will be opened to U.S. Navy and Marine Corps veterans recovering from combat injuries for assignment. The Academy, located on Long Island, New York, will provide an opportunity for wounded sailors and Marines to continue active duty as they recuperate from their injuries in a setting that is relatively close to their homes and families. Students at the Academy will benefit through interaction with veterans with recent combat experience, she added.

Maritime Administrator Sean T. Connaughton, along with Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter and Representative Gene Taylor (4th-MS), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Seapower and Expeditionary Forces, joined together to develop the new program. The participating veterans will be eligible for light duty assignments at Kings Point, such as classroom instruction and student mentoring, under the Navy’s Safe Harbor Program and the Marine Corps’ Wounded Warrior Regiment.

“Our wounded sailors and Marines can bring home the ideals of courage, service, and personal sacrifice and their experience will provide inspiration to the Academy’s cadets,” Secretary Peters said.

Administrator Connaughton agreed, adding, “We will be honored to welcome these heroes to Kings Point. It will provide them a safe haven for recovery, and provides the benefit of their knowledge and experience for the faculty and staff, as well as the midshipmen.”

Chairman Taylor, who made the formal request to the Navy, said, “Our wounded veterans want very much to continue to contribute in a meaningful way. This gives them the opportunity to do so. Being surrounded by enthusiastic young people can only speed their recovery. I commend Secretary Winter for his continued dedication to ensure our wounded sailors and Marines are given the best chance at a full recovery.”

The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York, is operated by the Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration. It trains men and women for service in the merchant marine, and all graduates are required to serve either in the U.S. maritime industry or in the U.S. Armed Forces.