The MARAD scandal involving USMMA is so target-rich that it’s getting hard for a volunteer news blog to keep up. This post is just to let you know what’s in the works:
We still plan to publish Part 4 to our series on how MARAD is using USMMA’s sea year as a ploy to help further its goal of getting funding for state maritime school training ships. (Here are links to Parts 1, 2 and 3.) Posting of Part 4 keeps getting delayed because there is so much happening all at once.
The LMI Scandal keeps generating spin off stories, such as the conflict of interest post and the report that the DOT Inspector General is now investigating the scandal. Currently, a priority story we are working on is the effort at damage control that is underway. The working title for that story is “If it looks like a coverup and smells like a coverup . . .” Stay tuned for more ground breaking journalism from KPS.
We are also working on a post now that we’ve confirmed that the Academy administration made the recent DMDC SAGR survey mandatory. In the process, the administration failed to follow proper protocol for administering the survey rendering the results invalid. More failed leadership. More news to report.
And we’ve got an audio transcript from the recent Congressional Board of Visitors meeting in which the administration finally admits that it doesn’t know who the alleged perpetrators of SA/SH during “sea year” are, because the survey answers just refer to “off-campus experience.” (Something readers of this blog have known since mid-September [See FAQ No.7].) There were several other amazing statements made during the meeting and as soon as we can get the relevant audio posted, you’ll have that story.
The most influential person in Congress right now with the new incoming administration is Senator Sessions. While he will not be named Transportation Secretary, don’t underestimate his influence in Defense and Maritime issues, especially since he is considered a Mobile AL Resident and I understand Mobile’s port is 12th largest in the nation, and is the home to AUSTAL which builds a version of the Navy’s LCS. In addition to my congressman, I’ve emailed him regarding SECDOT, MARAD and Helis’ behavior and efforts to cripple the training of our Midshipmen at the Academy. Here is the link if you wish to do so: https://www.sessions.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact-jeff
Another interesting link on his page leads to where you can request a meeting with him. Perhaps the USMMAAF Leadership can be proactive with Senator Sessions?
You never know until you try…..
Thank you for your efforts here, it is a voice of reason. #FireHelis
I thought about starting a petition on https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/, asking for the removal of Colonel Helis for gross dereliction of duty by jeopardizing the licensing and future employment opportunities of hundreds of Midshipmen through the “suspension” [sic] Cancellation of Sea Year. Ultimately I cannot do that to my dependent. My dependent is deathly afraid of swift and absolute retribution by the negative “leadership” sitting in Wiley Hall.
Plus, it would be hard to get 100,000 signatures in 30 days.
This crisis revolves around SUNY Maritime’s Training Vessel, Empire State IV, which is about to be taken out of service.
Last time such a crisis arose the TV Kings Pointer was transferred to Texas A. & M. Maritime program. KP relied on sending its cadets to sea on commercial ships which served Kings Point as well as it always has. So why not transfer another TV Kings Pointer to another failing state maritime academy and send ALL Kings Point cadets out on commercial ships?
The fact that theKings Pointer is smaller is irrelevant. How many licensed officers does SUNY graduate in a year? A small fraction of the USMMA total.
Occam’s Razor holds that the simplest solution is generally the best one. Can politicians and bureaucrats figure that out? Not holding my breath.
Perhaps that would satisfy requirements for deckies, but the plant on the old Kings Pointer, and I’m certain also the new one, leaves a lot to be desired for training of aspiring 3rd Engineers.
Precisely my thoughts! A simple sail across the sound too!
Have you guys tried to get anyone from a media source like the Washington Post to look into this?
Patrick, the problem is that the media is generally only concerned with generating click bait stories or stories that fit the narrative. SA/SH on campuses around the country is a hot button issue being driven by a narrative. I actually had a reporter tell me (I’m paraphrasing): “Unless you can show me statistics that show that sexual assault and harassment don’t occur at sea, I think the sea year stand down is appropriate.” Of course, no one can show such statistics, because there is inevitably some SA/SH and it would be silly to claim otherwise.
That’s what we are dealing with. The WAPO has printed several stories on the USMMA issue, but each time it has gotten facts wrong — and always in favor of the narrative.
Coach has it right. Senator Sessions, now AG elect, could use his influence before Jan 20 to fire Helis and Jaenichen. Wait until you get the facts on the cadets that were quickly removed from the USNS Mercy this past week.
I was recently at KP for two weeks. During that time I had the chance to talk with other Alumni and students as well.
From what I gathered, the original SASH survey was announced on a Friday evening at 2300 for the following Saturday morning. This was after license was completed, and on a normal liberty weekend. To be told at 2300 that you have to attend a mandatory meeting at 0700 on a Saturday when you had plans already would have put me in a pretty sour state of mind. If you told me I had to take some BS survey, when I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, I would have filled it out as quickly and sarcastically as possible too.
Q: Did anyone touch you while at KP?
A: Are you kidding me? I was the official cabin boy all 300 days at sea!
Can I go now?
While it may seem too simplistic, that’s just about what happened with many of the Midshipmen when this survey was administered. They were mad as hell that they had to attend this stupid survey and were looking for the fastest way out of it so they could get on with their previous plans.