Only 10% of 2020 B-Splits will go out to sea on time

In two weeks, B-Splits at the Academy are scheduled to depart on sea year. Unfortunately, 90% of the Class of 2020 B-Splits will be getting an exposure to “land year” instead.

At a meeting at Kings Point today, the B-Splits were informed by Academy Training Representatives CAPT Albert and LCDR Jones that only 10% of the 2020 B-Splits will go out to sea on time. They have no timeline for the other 90%.

Remember that the sea year stand down cancellation supposedly ended in January?  We were told then by Superintendent Helis that “there was a way forward.”  How many times were the plebes (now 4th Class midshipmen and members of the Class of 2020) told (by Superintendent Helis) that things should be worked out by the time the B-Splits would leave for sea year in June?  Not happening.

It makes you wonder:  If 84% of sea year on commercial ships is restored as reported by MARAD, why are so few midshipmen able to get out to sea on time?  As I indicated in this post, MARAD’s Owen Doherty has promised to provide me with an explanation as to how MARAD arrived at the 84% figure.  I’ve had a productive back-and-forth with him as I try to get an understanding of the calculation. I still don’t have all of the answers (I sent him 7 or 8 follow up questions this morning); but I’m encouraged by his candor in responding to my questions so far. That doesn’t mean that I’ll agree that MARAD has used an appropriate metric to reach the 84% figure and my questions today focused on what appear to me to be  deficiencies in MARAD’s methodology.  MARAD may have a valid answer to my concerns and I don’t want to post the explanation until I am confident that I understand it and can explain it fairly. I’m hoping that I can post the explanation by the end of the week.


  1. So, I have always been big on undeniable facts. As such, the fact that MARAD is claiming 84% restoration of sea year is fairly meaningless, regardless of how that number is reached. Why? Because if your version of today’s events at the academy are accurate ( and as always, I assume they are until otherwise demonstrated) 90% of 2020 B splitters are simply out of luck and are being denied the quality of education they were promised.
    Even assuming MARAD’s 84% number is correct, the reality is that because of the backlog the stand down has created for the last year, they probably need a sea year capacity of well over 100% for a very extended period of time in order to catch up to where they normally would be on mids being at sea on commercial ships.
    That’s basic math. They can twist- they can hide it and they can explain it. But they can’t change it.
    BTW, this post is not meant to cast dispersions in any way on on Mr. Doherty,who seems to be the first person from MARAD in a year attempting to provide attributable info. I appreciate what seem to be his candor, if unfortunately not liking his numbers. At least he is trying to provide information openly. It’s not his fault that many of us may not like the numbers themselves,

  2. Reliable Intelligence indicates that the first Sea Year Casualty, a 2019 Mid who failed some Sea Year Projects due to only having ~50% of days needed and not enough time to complete them, was disenrolled two weeks before Trimester Finals, and left last week.

    Now this info about 2020. WTH? And the ATR’s have to tell them? Where was Helis when it was time to break the bad news?

    That is 3 years of Mids negatively impacted by Helis’ lies. Is the Stalin reincarnate implementing a final vindictive scorched earth policy?

    The ViceSuper, Acting Dean, and Commandant need to start thinking about a Plan B and begin updating their CV’s. Being a group of Helis obligated sycophants will not serve them well after Helis scurries off campus in the middle of the night like the rat he is.

  3. No Merchant Mariner Credentials or “Z” cards required to get on/off ships.

    No US Navy ID cards from the Sec. of the Navy.

  4. Ok, this is going way to far here. Even pre-stand down not everyone when out immediately and to say that there is no timeline is ridiculous. I am a 2020 B splitter and what he said was that 90% of you will go home initially. That is how it has been for years. The ATRs do the best with what they have so if you are going to go on a tirade against the academy that you claim to be protective please pick people who actually want to hurt the academy.

    • Several points: First, no, everyone did not go out immediately in the past. But it was a far greater number than 10%. As reported by a midshipman in attendance, you and your classmates were told that they did not have a timeline for the 90%. That’s also a change from the past. They would have at least had an idea as to when the mids who were not sailing immediately would be going out. They would no what ships were coming in that would have open berths, where they were scheduled to dock, etc. In other words, they would have a timeline for the rest of the B-Splits.

      Second, go back and read my post. It was not a tirade against the ATRs. I think they have performed amazingly well under extraordinarily difficult conditions. They didn’t create the mess; and, they’ve done their best to try to help the midshipmen get as much sea time as possible.

      To top that off, the ATRs have got MARAD reporting that 84% of sea year is restored when that figure does not reflect the facts on the water. For example, MARAD reports that Matson Navigation is now approved for USMMA midshipmen. Matson has 21 vessels currently. The reports I am getting are that there are no USMMA midshipmen currently sailing on Matson vessels and that all of the Matson berths are taken up by state maritime school cadets. EDITED: Today I received word that two KP cadets are on the Matson Manoa. I understand that there were unique circumstances that allowed them to join the vessel (they were doing an internship in a shipyard in a foreign port and as their internship was ending, the Manoa was leaving the dry dock — they were in the right spot at the right time). It must be incredibly frustrating to be an ATR and have MARAD telling Congress and the public that we are well on our way to full restoration of sea year when the facts on the water seem to belie that claim.

    • Dear Mid:
      I say this with great respect…Please don’t drink the kool aid Helis is serving. The ATRs are in fact doing a great job under very difficult circumstances and there have always been delays in shipping out, usually caused by ship scheduling issues. You literally had to wait for your ship to come in, but at least you had an idea of when that would be.
      With the stand down, your class is now the victim of several problems that previously did not exist to the same extent:
      1. The backlog of sea days needed for 2018 and 19 mids has to be given priority- your class has to wait in line;
      2. There is less overall capacity ( even MARAD acknowledged that they are still 16% below where they were ) and that number can very well be proven to be an underestimate of the problem), and
      3. State Maritime cadets may be taking your slots.

      In a nutshell, you guys and gals are getting shafted.
      This is something you would probably expect to hear at a regular college, not a service Academy, but here it is —DON’T BE AFRAID TO QUESTION AUTHORITY. Just because they are telling you something, it isn’t necessarily true.

    • Dear Mid,
      Proof read your comments. Most of the people reading this website are Alumni, and we will be reading your resume soon.

  5. This is on the border of criminal. The US Government promised an education to the fine young men and women who raised their hand and took an oath to uphold the Constitution are being led by an individual who lies and is ignorant to his obligation and oath

    While minor and in addition there is a ball next Friday and Helis doesn’t even have the required dress whites for the 2020s. Add that to the lack of Z-cards and rotc ID not being available and there is no excuse

    Ok folks what do we do as a mass? How do we unite and call this crisis out publically ? Picket the academy. Demand sec choa respond to the npa and aaf? Have a press conference Maybe a law suit by 2020 for the lack of the government fulfilling its obligation

    Sitting on the bench isn’t working and I don’t know he answer but time to fight and stop the flight

  6. 2019’s didn’t get the correct uniforms and STILL don’t have them a year later so I wouldn’t hold your breath for 2020’s. Here’s another one: the female midshipmen don’t get the dress white uniforms until April of senior year. Talk about discrimination!

  7. State Cadets ARE taking the slots. This is substantiated. 2018 and 2019 are not being given priority. This has been made painfully clear to at least one 2018er who was told, “sorry, but 2020 has priority”, even though this mid is many many days behind due to the make believe issue that caused cancellation of sea year.

  8. My grandson, at my urging, chose KP over a ROTC scholarship to VMI. I am angry. And I want to help fix this cluster—- anyway that I can.
    Bob Waite
    KP 66

  9. I am not going to reply to everything, but yes I know that a lot of things that are told to us should be taken with a grain of salt, however, complete distrust in those appointed above me would be counter productive. Also, while at the Sea year meeting RADM Helis was there. I am not sure if this had been said or not. Trust me, my class feels the frustration that you feel and no I do not have a ship yet or know when I will have one. Thank you for all of your continued support though. You guys really do keep this school from being destroyed…

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