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Kings Point Cadets Underway on General Rudder for 30-Day Cruise    

November 25, 2020


Cadets from the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York practice a safety drill aboard the T/S General Rudder. The group will embark on a 30-day cruise through the Gulf of Mexico to earn sea days for their sophomore cadets. (Photo credit: USMMA)

By Andréa Bolt, Communications Specialist, Division of Marketing & Communications

The General Rudder will soon be going back out for another trip around the gulf, but it won’t be Aggies by the Sea at the helm.
 
Forty-one cadets from the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) in Kings Point, New York will get underway Saturday aboard the T/S General Rudder to assist their sophomores in earning the necessary sea days to ultimately graduate. Thus, they’ll be borrowing the General Rudder from our Texas A&M Maritime Academy (TAMMA) for a 30-day deployment.
 
“It’s been challenging during this time to get them sea days, so we were all pleased when this opportunity presented itself,” explained USMMA Director of External and Congressional Affairs George Rhynedance. “Because Texas A&M University at Galveston finished their fall semester November 24, we decided to get our midshipmen a jumpstart on sea time and were able to leverage the availability of the General Rudder.”
 
Accompanied by a handful of USMMA faculty members, as well as a few TAMMA crew, Rhynedance says the cadets will practice navigation, shipboard operations, watch standing, rescue operations and even work in the galley on their cruise through the Gulf of Mexico.

TAMMA administrators pose with those visiting from USMMA in front of campus.
TAMMA administrators pose with those visiting from USMMA in front of campus. (Photo credit: USMMA)


He said USMMA cadets normally travel in groups of two to their sea day cruise deployment ports, so sending a group this large is unusual but advantageous as it will take considerable pressure off USMMA’s shipboard training group.
 
Rhynedance said this was the first chance for the class of 2023 to get out to sea and that they were thrilled by the opportunity, but he also had a fun fact to share.
 
“If you stand closely next to the General Rudder where her name is painted, you can see the shadow of her formal title underneath. She actually used to be the T/S Kings Pointer in another life,” he shared.

The General Rudder served as the T/S Kings Pointer in an earlier life, as evidenced by the title slightly visible behind the vessel's current name.
The General Rudder served as the T/S Kings Pointer in an earlier life, as evidenced by the title slightly visible behind the vessel's current name. (Photo credit: USMMA)


MARAD supports the training of merchant marine officers at USMMA, TAMMA, and the five other state maritime academies by providing training vessels for use in at-sea training and as shore-side laboratories. Through MARAD’s ship-sharing agreement, academies may “borrow” each other’s vessels to accommodate the respective need for sea day requirements. TAMMA has utilized California State Maritime Academy’s T/S Golden Bear and Massachusetts Maritime Academy’s T/S Kennedy for this purpose.

“We’re happy to be able to share the General Rudder with our friends from King’s Point,” remarked Texas A&M-Galveston Chief Operating Officer and TAMMA Superintendent Col. Michael Fossum. “As training facilities, it’s our job to provide the best possible opportunities to benefit these special students who will one day support our country’s commerce, national defense and many economic needs. It’s crucial we all work together to this end.”

The General Rudder is part of the National Defense Reserve Fleet and has been berthed at Texas A&M-Galveston since 2012.
 
According to MARAD the six state maritime academies graduated 922 unlimited license merchant mariners in FY 2019.

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Media contact:
Andréa Bolt
Communications Specialist
a_bolt@tamug.edu



Texas A&M University at Galveston is an ocean-oriented branch campus of Texas A&M University which educates nearly 2,300 undergraduate and graduate students in a unique blend of marine and maritime programs, including majors in science, business, engineering, liberal arts, and transportation. It is driving the development of the blue economy in the Gulf Coast Region and is a critical contributor to Texas A&M’s sea-grant portion of Texas A&M’s rare land-, sea-, space-grant mission with nearly $10 million in research expenditures.
 
Texas A&M-Galveston is also home to the Texas A&M Maritime Academy, one of seven in the U.S. and the only academy integrated into a Tier 1 academic institution, which trains over 400 cadets annually for maritime service and employment around the world. Texas A&M-Galveston is ideally located in Galveston, Texas on the Gulf Coast where is it surrounded by the industry, environment and programs essential to fulfilling its special-purpose mission. Aggies are known for their deep commitment to the success of each other and their strong desire to serve.

If you are interested in supporting this endeavor or research, please contact the Texas A&M University at Galveston Office of Development by email at GiveToSeaAggies@txamfoundation.com or by calling (409) 740-4481.