Howdy friends and supporters of Texas A&M,
Earlier this month, on Saturday morning May 12th, during the Spring Commencement for Texas A&M at Galveston, graduating cadets from Texas A&M Maritime Academy (TAMMA) were sworn in as Officers to the U.S. Merchant Marine by Rear Admiral Mike Rodriguez.
While presenting these cadets for their achievements, Rear Admiral Michael Rodriguez was particularly on point as he discussed a recent movement by the school, politicians, school supporters and former students to begin working together for obtaining an appropriate training ship for the TAMMA. It has been twelve (12) years since the Academy has been able to carry out their annual training on one ship with all cadets sailing together as part of a coherent program. For the last twelve (12) years cadets from the school have been sent out across a myriad of vessels and programs with varying degree of structure and support for each cadet.
This summer TAMMA will have all cadets on one ship, with TAMMA faculty and staff learning under a common syllabus with familiar shipmates, professors and administration. Albeit the training ship will be the T.S. Kennedy from Massachusetts Maritime Academy. While having all of the cadets sail together for the first time in twelve years is a step in the right direction, having to charter another maritime academy’s training vessel to do so is simply inadequate for the needs of the Texas Merchant Marine Academy, Texas A&M, the State of Texas, as well as all other Gulf States who send their young sons and daughters to this academy to become merchant mariners.
On Wednesday May 9th, 2018 there was a meeting held by the Houston Pilots Association which allowed Colonel Mike Fossum and Rear Admiral Mike Rodriguez the opportunity to review the current situation regarding TAMMA’s efforts to obtain a training ship of adequate size with appropriate berths and facilities for the current program as well as to allow for the anticipated growth of the school. The meeting was announced on Social Media through several outlets, including the Sea Aggie Former Student Network. There was more than one hundred persons in attendance which included current students, parents, former students, faculty and staff. Colonel Fossum gave a brief update of the status and the efforts he has made to get political support which included meeting with members of congress, state and local representatives. Following Colonel Fossum, Rear Admiral Mike Rodriguez presented a call to action by all stakeholders and interested parties to reach out to their Representatives and Senators with letters and emails to show support for TAMUG and TAMMA in their efforts to bring an appropriate ship to Galveston.
The breadth of subjects relating to Marine Biology, Marine Sciences, Maritime, Ocean Engineering, Marine Engineering, and Coastal Studies that are researched and studied by Texas A&M University at Galveston is simply amazing. The school is the premier research and education center on the Gulf Coast for all things related to the coastline and the sea. If you are in any Gulf Coast industry that is maritime related, offshore oil and gas related, or marine fisheries related, you know an Aggie from TAMUG! The TAMUG former students are the backbone of these industries on the Gulf Coast.
If you are a resident of one of the five (5) Gulf Coast states, the SAFSN asks for your personal support in the effort to obtain an adequate training ship for Texas A&M Maritime Academy and a Gulf Coast emergency response vessel prepositioned in Galveston Texas where it can respond timely to our needs. Please write to your Representative, your Senators, and your governor. In this case, many discussions are occurring in committees and the hallways of Capital Hill, therefore time is of the essence and we ask that these letters be forwarded over the course of the next few days, or at your first opportunity. Local and regional politicians are also very valuable supporters and the most valuable thing you can do is impress your friends, colleagues and those in your personal network to consider supporting this with their letters of support as well.
Open the link to the Congressional Outreach Contact List to determine how to contact your Representative and your Senators. The Sea Aggie Former Student Network is providing some links below to suggested form letters you may wish to utilize, or review for suggestions. We are hoping you will be able to find a fax machine, or to fax directly from your computer as this is the fastest way to get these letters into the hands of your Congressmen.
If you are a former student: SAFSN Former Student Letter
If you are a current student:SAFSN Current Student Letter
If you are the parent of a current student: SAFSN Parent Letter
If you are an interested business entity: SAFSN Enterprise Letter
The mission of the Sea Aggie Former Student Network is to strengthen the unity of our Texas A&M University at Galveston graduates and students by promoting the involvement in industry professional events, networking and career enhancement opportunities. The network will serve as a conduit of industry perception and provide conscientious assistance to the maritime & marine student. We will always endeavor to nurture, support and integrate a versatile mix of professionals into the oceans of tomorrow.
Very Best Regards,