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U.S. Merchant Marine Academy's commencement 2013

Blake Thomas Krell, left, of Ft. Myers, Fla.,

Blake Thomas Krell, left, of Ft. Myers, Fla., and Erika Alicia Lawson, right, of Easton, Md., toss their caps into the air during the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy's 77th Commencement Ceremony on the campus in Kings Point. (June 17, 2013) Photo Credit: Steve Pfost


Number of graduates

201 degrees were awarded Monday morning in a ceremony at the Kings Point campus' Tomb Field.


Commencement speaker

Gen. William M. Fraser III, commander, U.S. Transportation Command, emphasized the importance of leadership, noting, "The true measure of leadership is how you react when the tide turns against you." U.S. Transportation Command is the single manager for global air, land and sea transportation for the Department of Defense.

"True leaders are built on the foundation of integrity," Fraser said. "Integrity at every aspect of your life, personal or professional, you must always maintain the courage of your convictions."



Midshipman 1st Class Tyler William Driscoll, from Lancaster, N.H., earned a 3.977 GPA and an almost perfect score on the U.S. Coast Guard exam. Driscoll, who majored in marine transportation, will sail with the Military Sealift Command.

"Our hard work and dedication do not end here," said Driscoll. "With any luck, we can continue our drive for excellence in our future endeavors and build upon the academy's reputation of producing cognizant and resourceful leaders."



James Levantino, 22, of Southold

logistics and intermodal transportation

"I've got a job with the Otto Candies as a third mate in the Gulf of Mexico," he said, and will be in charge of a navigational launch. "Cmdr. Dan Hunt helped me prepare for the role, the year at sea as well."

Muhammad Ahmad Kamal, 22, of Malaysia

marine engineering systems

"I will be sailing with a private company for seven years as assistant engineer, learning how to manage ships," said the international midshipman who hopes to go into corporate management after that. "The theories we studied and the 10-month sailing program helped me prepare for my time at sea."

Joshua Beck, 23, of Martinsville, N.J.

engineering and shipyard management

"I'll be working for Kirby Offshore Marine as an assistant engineer," he said, adding he's heading to Miami for his new position. "I wouldn't trade my time here for anything in world. I feel confident going into my job."

Brittany Bergmann, 24, of West Islip

logistics and intermodal transportation

She will join the Military Sealift Command and help deliver supplies to active Navy vessels at sea. "Replenishment is a logistics operation integrated into our sea-year," she said.

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