The following is the text of a news release from the State University of New York (SUNY) Maritime College:
(THROGGS NECK, N.Y.) — Gen. Darren McDew, commander of the U.S. Transportation Command, visited the State University of New York Maritime College on Monday.
During the visit McDew toured the campus and the college’s training ship Empire State VI, where he spoke with cadets about their experiences on the training ship and Military Sealift Command ships.
“SUNY Maritime College, along with the other state maritime academies, is responsible for producing 70 percent of the unlimited-tonnage licensed mariners that keep our nation safe and economy strong,” said Rear Adm. Michael Alfultis, president of the college. “As the largest of the state academies, (SUNY) Maritime College holds a special place in that role and we welcomed the opportunity to show our facilities to Gen. McDew.”
The U.S. Transportation Command is the single manager for global air, land and sea transportation for the Department of Defense. It is also the operational commander for Military Sealift Command, which provides the civilian mariners responsible for operating the ships that support the nation’s missions in times of peace and war.
Approximately 70 percent of the college’s graduates earn their Coast Guard licenses after completing three summer sea terms and other required training on Empire State VI. The training ship is more than 50 years old and will reach the end of its service life in 2019. The college’s administration is working with the five other state maritime academies, the U.S. Maritime Administration, elected officials and others to secure funds to build replacement vessels. The ships are owned by the federal government and operated by the state maritime academies.
“Replacing the Empire State VI with a new national security multi-mission vessel will ensure that SUNY Maritime students continue to get necessary real-world training with the additional ability of the ship to be used for disaster response,” Alfultis said.
McDew has been commander of the U.S. Transportation Command since August 2015. He received his Air Force commission in 1982 and, since then, has logged more than 3,300 flight hours. He served for two years as an Air Force aide to President Bill Clinton, as vice director for strategic plans and policy for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and as commander of Air Mobility Command at Scott Air Force Base.
Over the course of his career, McDew has been decorated with the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Air Force Achievement Medal, among more than a dozen others.