An example of why the Academy administration has zero credibility [updated]

Another alum who has been working behind the scenes came up with this interesting comparison of statements by Academy leadership about the timeline for restoring sea year.


Former (I’ll never get tired of saying that) Maritime Administrator Jaenichen during the July 13, 2016 town hall call following the Congressional Board of Visitors meeting (Day 28 of the sea year stand down cancellation):

Tom Wesley: “With the 14 or more companies that are now engaged with you in this conversation surely one of them, it stands to reason, must be out in front of some of the others. When do you expect the first of the staggered commercial companies to be approved for release for Midshipmen? Is there, in your heart of hearts, where do you think it’s going to be? Is it one week? Is it one month? Is it one year?”

Jaenichen: “Tom, thanks for the question. I know you and I have had several conversations, and you’ve talked with Mike Rodriguez as well. In my heart of hearts I will tell you, we do have some companies that are well out in front of others. They’ve taken a hard lead on this. I anticipate that we’ll have their information very quickly, and I would say it’s more in a matter of weeks and not months or years.

(Emphasis added.)

Superintendent Helis during the August 2, 2016 town hall call (Day 48 of the sea year stand down cancellation):

“I think all of us around the table here are confident that by the time we roll around to November at the end of the final exams, we get ready to send out the next group including the 2018 A’s [inaudible 01:02:40]. That we’ll be up to full normal operations. That’s why all of our focus has been on the 18 and 19-Bs who are immediately effected, but I think three plus months from now I think will be in a much better place to go forward.

And I would tell your daughter at this point not to worry about sea, getting to sea or sea grades, I’d tell her to get focused on term one classes and be ready to go to sea come the end of her finals.”

(Emphasis added.)

Superintendent Helis during the September 1, 2016 National Parents Association (Day 78 of the sea year stand down cancellation):

Helis: “. . . So I expect, yes, it’s not going to be this stop and improvise this as we go. We will be able to start the sailing year with a plan knowing the full inventory of [inaudible 01:17:36] vessels available and get it out.  Now there’s always some … Even in the best of times we have to wait weeks to get out because of academic issues and medical clearances but I think it’s going to be a much more normal start to sea year then what we just went through.”

Female: “Starting for A splitters?”

Helis: “Starting in November.

(Emphasis added.)

However, this exchange also occurred during the Sept. 1, 2016 NPA meeting:

Q.  “Do we have to wait on the consultants to get the kids back on commercial ships if the commercial ships are ready?”

Helis:  “As of now, yes you have to wait. Secretary’s decision is to wait.”

* * *

Q.  “You are anticipating by January of ‘17 that we should have a report.”
Rodriguez: “Yes, absolutely”

Superintendent Helis during the January 17, 2017 town hall call (Day 215 of the sea year stand down cancellation):

“I fully anticipate that we will be back to commercial shipping well in time for the class of 2020 to make their sailing. Um, so the message I would give to 2020 is don’t be concerned, you will get out to get your commercial sailing in. Right now we need you to focus on calc, physics, chem and all the other normal activities for the plebes now and the plebe system and getting himself ready to go to sea this summer or this fall whatever split he’s in but I don’t anticipate that this is going to continue anywhere near that long.”

So let’s put this in perspective. In July, some companies were “well out in front” of the process for credentialing to allow the return of midshipmen to their ships — to the point where they were “weeks” away from being approved.   Then in September, we were told that Secretary Fox decided that resumption of sea year had to wait until the LMI report came out — but there is no reason that credentialing of shipping companies should not have continued. If the criteria for restoring sea year on commercial ships are reasonable, there is no reason why those shipping companies that were weeks away from being credentialed in July could not immediately begin accepting Kings Point cadets on their ships once the LMI report was issued.

One would have expected that by the time of the January 17, 2017 town hall — eleven days after the LMI report was delivered — we would have been informed that sea year had resumed on at least one commercial shipping company’s ships. Instead, we were told that the class of 2020 can expect to be on commercial ships when its sea year begins (in June 2017). The Academy has provided no reason why sea year was not immediately “stood up” on January 6, 2017 with the commercial shipping companies that were only “weeks” away from being credentialed six months ago.

And they have the nerve to tell people not to believe what they read in this blog?

[I updated this post to correct the date and order in which the quotation from Jaenichen appears and to put the Sept. 1, 2016 quotation from Helis into context. In doing so, I updated my conclusion as well.]


  1. Lies, Lies, and More Lies… When will the lying end?
    No wonder there is no Trust among the regiment, when it comes to trusting leadership.

  2. No one has contacted me with any requests to be vetted for this credentialing process. I am shoreside management of a large company and we have always had KP cadets on our ships. This is a completely fabricated lie to further MARAD and Hellis’ plan to build state ships.

  3. Helis said “the message I would give to 2020 is don’t be concerned”.
    Inference #1: So 2019 should be concerned.
    Inference #2: 2019B will start 2nd Sailing on March 5th. They will not get on Commercial ships now until June 2017. Please don’t literally hold your breath on this, you may hit your head on the floor when you pass out.

    Interesting that there was a flurry of activity to get 2019A out to sea as fast as possible this week, on MSC and Navy ships. My mid reports news that 8 got orders which put them on the same plane tonight, bound for the same ship overseas. Reportedly 3 were currently on the KP’er, with 18 “training” days under their belt, and 5 were still sitting at home waiting 80 days into the Trimester. Did you read that? 5 were still sitting at home 80 days into the Trimester!!!!

    The cynical part of me wonders if they all escaped Helis’ Stalag tonight and got airborne.

    I guess our gutless Colonel Klink doesn’t want to have to answer to Sec. Chao why so many are doing nothing. He had no compunction about lying to Congress and Sen Wicker about all the mids were out to see, however he knows there are those in MARAD that will tell their new Boss, Elaine Chao, the truth. He should be held to the Honor Code the same as the Mids, let him stand before the Honor Council and be tried. #PoeticJustice


  4. Coach,
    I just re-read your post and although I agree with most of what you say, when you write: “…he knows there are those in MARAD that will tell their new Boss, Elaine Chao, the truth.” I’m afraid you are mistaken. The permanent bureaucracy is not part of the solution, but part of the problem. Both in MARAD and DoT. Sadly, they are just not with us.

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