For those of you who follow the Fast Lane, it's no secret that I am proud of the midshipmen and staff at the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY, and I enthusiastically support the Academy's efforts to train and prepare America's next generation of merchant mariners.
I'm also eager to share good news about all that's happening at Kings Point. And on Monday, in front of the entire USMMA student body, Deputy Secretary of Transportation John Porcari commissioned Rear Admiral Susan Dunlap into the United States Maritime Service in preparation for her new role as the Academy's Deputy Superintendent.
RADM Dunlap joined the Academy family, where she will work with Superintendent Dr. James Helis to continue the Kings Point tradition of developing fine young maritime professionals.
I was happy to hear that RADM Dunlap was commissioned at a town hall meeting where the faculty, staff, and students were also thanked for their efforts in developing the Academy’s strategic plan. You see, the new Deputy Superintendent will be a driving force behind implementing that plan as well as managing the critical capital improvements needed to modernize Kings Point.
Improving the academy and providing midshipmen the tools and resources they need is a priority here at DOT. A top-notch education for America’s merchant mariners is as critical for our economy as it is for our national security.
After years of neglect, work started this month to replace Mallory Pier. I am also pleased to report that both Delano and Roger Hall are now undergoing much needed renovations. Last year, we secured a new state-of-the-art training vessel, and we expect renovations to begin on Cleveland Hall soon. And after renovations to the dorms are complete, we will then turn our attention to the academic facilities.
I’m excited about the changes taking place. The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy is home to first-class students and provides a first-class education. The community deserves first-class facilities.
Kings Point also deserves first-class leadership, and that's exactly what RADM Susan Dunlap offers.
She brings with her over 28 years of leadership experience as an officer in the U.S. Navy, most recently as Director of the Africa Engagement Group for the U.S. Naval Forces Africa. She also led the Military Sealift Command's Sealift Logistics Command, Far East, where she was responsible for more than 2400 mariners stationed on 49 ships, operating throughout a 52 million square-mile area of the Pacific.
Because many of our midshipmen go on to careers with the Military Sealift Command, it's clear that RADM Dunlap brings with her valuable insight into the Merchant Marine role in supporting global transportation and U.S. national security.
RADM Dunlap's experience and her commitment to service and education will help lead Kings Point into a new era of maritime education. Please join Maritime Administrator David Matsuda, Academy Superintendent Helis, and me in wishing her a hearty, "Welcome aboard!"