BIG Visit to US Merchant Marine Academy

Post date: Dec 2, 2011 1:06:07 AM

NOVEMBER 2011. We at BIG are hopeful of having a military band perform at BayFest 2012, and our top choice are the men and women attending the US Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA), a Federal Service Academy located in Kings Point, NY. This week, BIG President Steve Barrison, Vice President Jack Spadaro, and Executive Director Laura McKenna, visited USMMA to discuss the possibility.Campus TourCapt. Reed Bonadonna, Director of Ethics and Character Development at USMMA, took time from his busy schedule to provide us with a guided tour of the campus and its history. We took in many of the important landmarks, including Wiley Hall, the chapel, the library, war memorials, and boats moored in Hague Basin. Also included in our tour was the American Merchant Marine Museum, which houses an impressive collection of marine art, ship models, and nautical artifacts, and within that, the National Maritime Hall of Fame, which honors people and ships important to American oceanic, coastal, inland waterway, and Great Lakes shipping. At the end of our tour, we met other Academy faculty over a wonderful buffet lunch in the banquet room of Melville Hall, the officers' club, while taking in a spectacular panoramic view of Long Island Sound and the Throggs Neck Bridge.

About the Academy

USMMA has just over 1,050 midshipmen enrolled in its four-year program, with approximately 800 students in residence at any given time. The remainder are sailing on various merchant vessels during their Sophomore and Junior years at the Academy as part of "the Sea Year," when a midshipman must sail between 300 and 360 days to be eligible to obtain a Coast Guard License.

Students graduate USMMA with a Bachelor of Science degree, a Coast Guard License as a Third-Mate or Third-Assistant Engineer, and a commission in the Navy Reserve or an active-duty commission in any of the five service branches (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard). They can also receive a commission into the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

About USMMA's Regimental Band

Since 1971, when a full-time Director of Music was appointed and band members were placed into their own company, USMMA's regimental band has represented the Academy at all Presidential Inauguration Parades, as well as the Miss America Pageant, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Cotton Bowl Halftime Show on New Year's Day, and countless other national events. BIG would be proud and honored to have them participate in BayFest2012.

For more information about the US Merchant Marine Academy and the USMMA Regimental band, go to or visit the campus, which is open to the public.