Installation Ceremony: New Superintendent
On Monday, July 30, 2012, Rear Admiral James A. Helis, USMS, was installed as the 12th Superintendent of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. His wife Jan and his two sons, Corbin, a 2011 West Point graduate, and Ian, a plebe candidate from the Kings Point Class of 2016, were by his side.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood led the commissioning ceremony. Maritime Administrator David T. Matsuda gave the opening remarks. Other distinguished guests, Academy faculty and staff, the Regiment of Midshipmen, alumni, family, and friends also attended.
Following the installation ceremony, a reception was held in Wiley Hall.
for a video of the Installation Ceremony that took place on Monday.
See below for a full transcript of Rear Admiral Helis’ installation speech.
Installation Speech (Original Draft)
RADM James A. Helis, USMS
Secretary LaHood, Administrator Matsuda, Admiral Buzby, Admiral Carpenter, alumni, friends of Kings Point: thank you for attending today’s ceremony. You honor us and the Academy with your presence.
Mr. Secretary, I am humbled and honored by this appointment. Thank you for the vote of confidence in selecting me for this office and for your daily, passionate support for Kings Point. I accept this responsibility and pledge to you and the entire Kings Point family—midshipmen, staff, faculty, partners in the Department of Transportation and the Maritime Administration, alumni, the maritime profession—my best efforts to ensure that Kings Point remains the world’s finest maritime academy, an institution second to none.
I also thank my family, who stand here with me today, for their years of unconditional love and support. Thank you again for the sacrifices that you have freely given in support of me.
I have often been asked why I asked for this appointment. If you want the answer, simply look at the two young men who just honored me by attaching my new rank. Look around you at the Regiment of Midshipmen in front of us. What you see are young men and women who have chosen the harder path, the great challenges that an Academy experience presents, when they all had safer and easier choices. They are the lifeblood, the future of our Nation. They will struggle, sacrifice, and persevere, and then build in their own way on an awesome legacy of service in war and peace written by those who went before them. The chance to serve our Nation by contributing in some small way to their education and development is an honor that each one of us here should cherish.
For the midshipmen—you have been given a wonderful opportunity, a great gift, in your appointments to the Academy. You must give everything you do your best efforts. Great things are expected of those who are privileged to call themselves Kings Pointers. Use your years here wisely so that when the time comes, you can both measure up to the great legacy of those who have gone before, and light the way for those who will follow you.
Like all great institutions, Kings Point has had endured difficult times. But the Academy has emerged from each storm stronger, more deeply committed to its mission of educating and graduating licensed mariners who are leaders of exemplary character. Kings Point and her alumni have served our nation’s needs in war and peace for seventy years, and will continue to do so long after all of us here today have taken the final voyage. The task before us is to take Kings Point to new heights. We will do that with dedication and plain hard work, one step, one day, one project, one achievement at a time. Kings Point’s voyage of service to the nation will continue far into the future. Our job is to carry our share of the burden during our days here. All of us have a role to play. If we all do our jobs, we cannot help but leave the Academy a better place than we found it.
I look forward to the great voyage ahead. Together, guided by our values of honor, service, and excellence, we will set the course for Kings Point’s future, which has never looked brighter.
ACTA NON VERBA