Alumni News
Medals and recognition for civilian mariners who have served in support of the nation’s armed forces in conflicts and certain peacetime efforts are offered by the Maritime Administration (MARAD).

Medals for Mariners

As part of its outreach activities, the Maritime Administration (MARAD) awards medals and war zone ribbon bars to civilian mariners who support the nation’s armed forces in conflict, as well as during peacetime when contributions are significant.

More than 350,000 medals and war zone ribbons have been distributed to eligible merchant mariners for approved conflicts.

MMA alumnus Roger Mercaldi, Jr. ’66 learned of the program, and after submitting qualifying documents, received the Vietnam Service Medal.

“I had heard there was a medal but had not received one, so I contacted MARAD (see info at article end),” he says. “I emailed a copy of my Certificate of Discharge to Merchant Seaman, which must say Nature of Voyage ‘Foreign,’ for service regarding Vietnam, and I received a medal in two days.”

MARAD administers awards and recognition that span conflicts from World War II, Korea, and Vietnam to Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, and Operations Restore Hope and United Shield and related operations in Somalia.

A new award, the Merchant Mariner of World War II Congressional Gold Medal, was recently signed into law by the President and will be created by the U.S. Mint and awarded by the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Capt. Dru DiMattia ’88 is Vice President of the American Merchant Marines Veterans and was involved in helping encourage action in Congress that resulted in the new award. So too, were members of the American Maritime Partnership, a coalition that represents the U.S. domestic maritime industry.

The new medal is in addition to a variety of awards designated for World War II-era conflicts and geographies.

Immediate families of deceased mariners are also eligible to apply for and receive a medal to hold in honor of their maritime awardee.

“Please get the word out to other MMA alumni,” says Mercaldi. “There must be many grads who have no idea they are entitled to these medals for their service to the Nation.”

Learn about the awards and instructions for applications: or contact Deveeda Midgette, Maritime Awards Officer, Office of Sealift Support;; 202-366-2354.

  • Western Maine Skiing

    BLACK MOUNTAIN, Rumford, Maine was host to the annual MMA alumni ski event and social on Saturday, February 29. Alumni attending ranged from the ’60s through the 2000s, as well as current students Owen White ’22 and Max Hart ’23. Perfect conditions greeted twice as many skiers than in years past, with more than half of the alumni participating for the first time. All enjoyed a great day of skiing and socializing, with live music, refreshments and conversation. The event was by all accounts the most successful MMA Winter Gathering we have had so far.

    Dana Blake ’84 and his wife, Patti, from St. John, New Brunswick read about the event in an Alumni Office email and decided to make it a three-day ski vacation. They also skied at Sunday River and Mt. Abram, but enjoyed the skiing at Black Mountain the most. Blake notes he appreciated there was the activity of skiing attached to the event, along with entertainment and socializing with alumni and their spouses at the end of the day.

    Special thanks to Roger Arsenault ’71 and his company, Community Energy, for sponsoring the apres skiing party; the Black Mountain staff, who always make this event easy, effortless, and very enjoyable; and Ed Rosenberg ’72 for arranging this great annual event. Photo courtesy of Barbara Arsenault.

  • Alumni Senior BanquetMORE THAN 210 ALUMNI and members of the Class of 2020 attended the annual Alumni Senior Banquet at the Cross Center in Bangor, Maine, on February 5. Following a social hour, attendees were treated to an excellent sit-down meal. Special thanks to those who sponsored MMA soon-to-be alumni. President Brennan welcomed the group, and Bill Full ’76, Vice President of the Alumni Association, was the program emcee. Guest speaker for the evening was Renee (Mares) Justice ’91, the first MMA alumna to sail as chief engineer (pictured above with her husband, Rodney). In addition to Justice’s words of wisdom and encouragement, the evening included an association overview, scholarship awards, and a charge to the Class of 2020 by classmate Mary Shea, MMA student representative on the Board of Trustees.
  • International WorkBoat ShowMMA, IN CONJUNCTION with Massachusetts Maritime Academy and SUNY Maritime College, hosted the second State Maritime Academy Reception at the Terrace Room of the Westin Hotel Canal Street during the annual International WorkBoat Show in New Orleans on December 4, 2019. Hundreds of maritime alumni and many maritime industry professionals gathered for spirited networking and conversation. Richard Balzano ’89, Deputy Administrator for the Maritime Administration, captured the crowd’s attention with updates and a video of the new National Security Multi-Mission Vessels. Pictured (l to r) Chris Mercer ’88, Richard Balzano ’89, and Jeff Riedel ’86. International WorkBoat Show 2020 is scheduled for December 15-17, 2020.

John Burns III ’85
51 Ash Lane
Hermon, ME 04401

Samuel Rowe ’65
195 Eagle Drive
Mashpee, MA 02649

Pat Zrioka ’87

Rich Slack ’93
32 Joy Lane
Uncasville, CT 06382

Tom Lord ’87

David Knapp ’86
5008 Longfellow Avenue
Tampa, FL 33629

Jon Fortier ’86
5 West Baker Street
Winslow, ME 04901

Ben Cameron ’93
Topsham, ME

Michael Chambers ’80
2233 21st Street
San Francisco, CA 94116

David Lane ’68
St. Augustine, FL

Juan Molino ’89

Lindsey Pinkham ’04
111 Greenwood Avenue
Warren, ME 04864

Minh Harriman ’90

Mike Grigware ’87
30 Riverview Drive
Biddeford, ME 04005

Norman Laskay ’62
5848 Catina Street
New Orleans, LA 70124

Capt. Jay Stewart ’00

Ralph Staples ’71
299 OakValley Lane
Escondido, CA 92027

Sherri Hickman ’85

Michael T. Ward ’10
Virginia Beach, VA

Josh Collamer ’98
Silver Spring, MD

Jason Grabelle ’98
Ellicott City, MD

  • ALUMNI EVENT PLANSAN EXTENSIVE SCHEDULE of spring activities, East Coast State of Maine visits, Bowdoin receptions, a Sea Dogs game, and others, were postponed or canceled due to the pandemic. Tentative upcoming events are Maine Mariner Classic Golf Tournament at the Falmouth Country Club on Monday, June 24. Rescheduled for a later date are A Night by the Bay, August 29, at the Sable Oaks, South Portland, and the 11th Annual Texas Mariner Classic Golf Tournament at The Woodlands Country Club, Texas on Monday, October 26. We will be opportunistic with event planning in the coming months and we’re hopeful for an exciting slate of activities.
  • Casco Bay Chapter
    THRIVING GROUPCASCO BAY has many dedicated alumni who have worked diligently to make it one of MMA’s most active and thriving chapters. The chapter has been busy planning many events and fundraisers over the past few months. They hosted a Scotch auction in January to raise money for scholarships. Planning was underway for another Maine Boatbuilders Show Marine Flea Market and a Sea Dog Family Night until COVID-19 struck. Future dates have yet to be announced. Like the Alumni Association, Casco Bay is holding its scheduled election of officers this summer. Chapter President Pat Zrioka is actively seeking Southern Maine-area alumni who have a passion for MMA and would enjoy planning chapter activities and help preserve the chapter’s deep heritage. If interested, contact Zrioka at
  • Connecticut/ Rhode Island Chapter

    ON THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2019, the Connecticut/Rhode Island Chapter may have become the first alumni group to gather for an evening of axe throwing. They met at Pine and Iron Axe Throwing in Hartford, Connecticut. Following a fun-filled evening of throwing, the group went next door to the Hog River Brewing Company. On March 22, the group gathered at the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford, Connecticut, to root on the MMA men’s lacrosse team as the Mariners opened up their 2020 season with a 9-4 victory in a non-conference game at USJ lacrosse field.

    The Chapter may have become the first to gather for an evening of axe throwing.
  • Puget Sound Chapter
    UP CLOSE IN SEATTLEMMA ALUMNI DIRECTOR Jeff Wright represented the academy at the Pacific Marine Expo held in November. The Puget Sound alumni group met at the Embassy Suites Pioneer Square on November 21 for a social and an Up Close presentation. Alumni attending, (front, l to r) Minh Harriman ’90, Heather Jackson ’05, Carl Rhodes ’04, Sandy Bendixen ’05, and Everett Cooper ’58; (back) Chris Fay ’76, Crystal (Parker) Maass “06, Chris Baril ’87, and Eddie Ma ’18.
  • MMA Alumni Association Election Information

    THE MMA ALUMNI ASSOCIATION announces a Call for Nominations to its biannual election for the Board of Directors. The Alumni Association’s Bylaws allow for the opportunity to have 18 voting Directors on its Board. This year, all four officer positions (President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Clerk) and six Directors will be elected to the Board.

    All MMA alumni are eligible to submit nominations and vote for the Alumni Association Board of Directors. To nominate alumni, including yourself, for the Alumni Association Board of Directors, submit a nomination online, via email (, or by mail (MMA Alumni Relations, 1 Pleasant Street, Castine, ME 04420).

    The nomination must include the name of nominee, year of graduation, nominee email, position on the board (President, Vice President, Treasurer, Clerk, Director), name of nominator, nominator year of graduation, and nominator email. Nominations must be received no later than 11:59 PM (Eastern Time) on June 30 to be valid.

    As a part of the nomination process, all nominees shall complete a brief 200-word résumé to introduce themselves, give a general overview of their career, and state their reason for wanting to serve. The alumni office will collect these statements and provide them to the Nominating Committee for consideration for placement on the ballot.

    Election ballots will be sent either by post or email to all alumni by August 1. Votes may be submitted by mail (only original ballots accepted) or online and must be received by Thursday, October 1.

    The Directors will be introduced at the Alumni Association Annual Meeting to be held on Saturday, October 3, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. in the Class of 1954 Lecture Hall, Alfond Center, MMA. All alumni are invited to attend.

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Thank Youto our sponsors.

The Maine and Massachusetts Maritime Academies, along with SUNY Maritime College, hosted a State Maritime Academy Reception at the International WorkBoat Show. Thank you to the following generous sponsors who provided support for this annual meeting of alumni and friends.

Flagship Management | Hamilton Marine Inc. | American United Marine Corporation | Capt. Sherri Hickman, Maine ’85 | L&R Midland Ryan Smith, Maine ’00 | Portland Tugboat, LLC | Jon Wing, Maine ’74 | Capt. Scott Driscoll, Maine ’01 | McNabb Marketing Resources, Inc. Mobile Bar Pilots | NOBRA | O’Hara Corporation | McAlear Maritime Strategies, LLC | Penobscot Bay Tractor Tug Co. | Professional Mariner

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