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TAMUG Graduates Complete “Clean Sweep” Aboard USNS Henson    

June 8, 2018

Aggie crew members aboard the USNS Henson. Left to right: Chief Mate Will Taylor '85, Captain Kristin Mangold '87 and Third Mate John Sampa '16. Not pictured: Second Mate Glen Baumgart '88. SOURCE: Kristin Mangold

By Patrick Temperilli, Academic Affairs

Kristin Mangold has been captain of the USNS Henson (T-AGS-63) for several years, and in that time she has dealt with a number of interesting and exciting scenarios. Recently, however, she experienced something quite unique: a “clean sweep” of deck officer positions aboard the Henson occupied by graduates of Texas A&M University at Galveston.

Captain Mangold, class of 1987, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in marine sciences, along with her Third Mate deck officer license from the Texas A&M Maritime Academy; the degree plus license option being a major draw for many students attending TAMUG.

Her ship, the Henson, is a U.S. Navy oceanographic survey vessel currently tasked with testing their scientific survey systems and small boats.

Mangold had been sailing with Chief Mate William Taylor ’85 for a few years.  They were recently joined by Second Mate Glen Baumgart ’88. “It was great,” said Mangold. “The three of us had known each other from college but I hadn’t seen Baumgart since I graduated.”

While Mangold was on vacation, the crew was joined by another TAMUG Aggie, Third Mate John Sampa, class of 2016. “When I returned to the ship in May we had the “clean sweep” of Sea Aggies,” Mangold said. “This is the first time in a 30-year career that I’ve experienced so many Sea Aggies on one ship.” With a crew full of Aggies, she made sure to return with a Texas A&M flag in hand.

While the ship was in Saipan, the California State University Maritime Academy’s TS Golden Bear also came into port.

“I flew the Aggie flag from the outboard halyard. That earned me one of their hats and a visit from their captain, who knew and sailed with several of my Sea Aggie classmates. The next day he flew the Cal. Maritime flag, so I had to hoist our flag again for our departure,” Mangold said. “We had a little friendly rivalry going on.”

The common experiences shared by the “clean sweep” Aggie crew certainly bolstered their camaraderie.

“We all enjoyed working together,” said Mangold.  “Just having that common thread of being a Sea Aggie enhanced the work relationship. We could relate to where everyone came from and share common experiences. The Merchant Marines are a small group as it is and it’s just special to find the Sea Aggies who are still involved in the industry.”

However, not everyone quite understands what being an Aggie is about.

“I think people are always surprised by the bonds Aggies share all over the world,” said Mangold. “We are well known for our spirit and pride. Most non-Aggies are a bit confused by what ‘Gig ‘em’ means.”

As for Mangold’s experience at TAMUG, she is extremely grateful. 

“TAMUG was a great starting point.  Once I got out of school and into the industry I was able to fit in with my shipmates, learn from them and advance my career.  Attending a small college was a definite benefit for me and helped me build the strong relationships that many of us share from that time in our lives. The training I had and the friends I made at TAMUG positively shaped who I am today.”

Mangold believes that tradition of excellence has continued through the decades, with the newest generation of TAMUG graduates bearing the flame. “John Sampa has proven to be a very good third mate,” Mangold said.

With two of the four crewmembers home on vacation, the “clean sweep” may be over, but that doesn’t detract from the experience in Mangold’s eyes. “I am thrilled we had the opportunity to experience such a rare reunion aboard my ship,” she said. “I’d be proud to sail with any of these Sea Aggies again in the future.”


Media contact:
Patrick Temperilli, Academic Affairs, 409.740.4783

Marine Sciences
Texas A&M Maritime Academy