An Open Letter to the Regiment of Midshipmen

I am proud to be at Kings Point. I am proud to represent this institution despite its many issues. Today, I am concerned about the future of this institution. I am concerned about the morale among the Regiment of Midshipmen. Between the Washington Post articles and speeches from the Administration, I feel blamed and dirty. I believe many feel this way. Additionally, I believe through this, the general lack of trust and confidence in the Administration has been illuminated. I am not sure this is warranted. However, at a certain point, the perception of the Regiment of Midshipmen becomes reality. We are blamed for lack of reporting during sea year. However, is the fear stemming from peers or the leaders in charge of us while at sea? Do we feel comfortable talking to our very own SARC? I do not have the answers. Further, we, the Regiment of Midshipmen, consistently receive sexual assault and awareness training. Before recently, has our leadership received the same training? Does a general perception exist among the Regiment that Midshipmen are held to different standards than our leadership? Earning followers trust is an essential component of influence. You cannot successfully lead without influence. The Regiment of Midshipmen is accused of sticking together and not holding each other accountable. A culture has been created that, to some extent, needs to be broken. However, I believe it partially stems from our lack of trust in our leadership. Nevertheless, there is hope, and we have the opportunity to be a part of significant changes that will place this institution in the position to succeed for years to come. I firmly believe that. Recently, I met with members from the Secretary of the Department of Transportation’s staff. An outside, contracted group, will be conducting a comprehensive investigation of the systematic failures at this institution. This is an excellent opportunity to be forthcoming with our experiences and opinions. The review is not an indictment on any individual midshipman. We must understand that these issues existed before us will continue unless we act. Despite how we often may feel, our opinions do matter. This school and the Administration would not exist without the Regiment of Midshipmen. Positive changes will be made. For the first time, I heard someone from our leadership in the DOT take ownership of an issue after listening to a fellow midshipman’s testimony. She said, “I am sorry, it is our fault, and we will work to fix it.”

Nevertheless, it is easy to point fingers. At a certain point, we must evaluate ourselves and the present situation. We individually and collectively must take responsibility for the predicament in which we find ourselves, while keeping everything in the proper perspective. Let’s support fellow midshipmen when they step out of their comfort zone and report misconduct. Let’s make a collective effort to hold each other accountable, and graduate an exceptional group of leaders that display all the traits of the epitome of a Kings Pointer –service, integrity, loyalty, initiative, knowledge, and justice.

Finally, let’s not forget the positives of Kings Point. We have a rich heritage of the 142 Midshipmen who selflessly gave the ultimate sacrifice to ensure the security of this great nation. The other day, we were reminded of the midshipmen who responded to the tragedy that occurred on 9/11. These midshipmen contributed to the largest unplanned water evacuation in the history of the United States. When Kings Pointers face unfortunate circumstances, they act with a sense of commitment, honor, and courage. I am proud to be associated with Kings Point and the midshipmen here. Despite our jokes and sometimes negative attitude, I believe that we all are proud to attend Kings Point. I walk around the campus see people who have excelled and sacrificed to gain admission. I see people who will serve our country in a variety of ways. People who will fly planes in every branch of the military, people who seek to become a Navy Seal, people who will sail on naval vessels, people who will sail the seven seas transporting vital cargo and ensuing our economic security. We have graduated admirals, best-selling authors, astronauts, congressmen, a billionaire, CEO’s, distinguished mates and engineers, entrepreneurs, and people who have made the ultimate sacrifice for this nation.

Let’s work together and support each other, while remembering our heritage and being proud to be at Kings Point.

A Concerned Midshipman,
MIDN Matthew J. Miller, 1/C
United States Merchant Marine Academy
Regimental Honor Board Chairman
Men’s Basketball Team Captain
President Investment Club
President FCA Club
Marine Engineering and Shipyard Management