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Merchant Marine Academy welcomes new class

U.S. Merchant Marine Academy midshipmen walk out of

U.S. Merchant Marine Academy midshipmen walk out of a town hall meeting with US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood where talked about the future of the school. (March 13, 2012) Credit: Alejandra Villa

The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy class of 2016 will arrive at the Kings Point school for the annual Indoctrination Day on Thursday.

Indoctrination Day, known as INDOC and held at all of the country’s five service academies, is akin to basic training in the armed forces. In addition to learning to salute in their first official formation, new students will receive uniforms, complete the registration process and get their first military haircut.

The 274 students starting at the academy this year come from 47 states and the District of Columbia, as well as Malaysia, South Korea and Panama.

After INDOC, students start the school’s academic and physical programs, which will train them as licensed officers to join the armed services or commercial vessels.

The U.S. Department of Transportation, which oversees the Merchant Marine Academy, last month announced that retired Army Col. James Helis will be the school’s new superintendent, the institution’s fourth chief in as many years.