Cream, simply put, always rises to the top but when you’re talking about rising to the top at the Academy, things get a bit more complicated. Each year, upcoming seniors apply for various positions as Regimental leaders. Each of these positions is appointed after an extensive series of personal interviews and resume and application review by Academy staff.
This year’s top leadership position, Regimental Commander, has been awarded to 1/C Kevin Manning, a 2009 graduate of Hanover High, and a current Marine Engineering major! Manning chose the Academy for the challenge, the adventure and its great engineering program. Freshman orientation was one of the challenges! “ … but it was a great challenge,” Manning remembered. "During that time I made many lasting friendships. At the same time I learned the skills I would need to make it through my first year and my first trip out to sea. Adventure – that would be sea term and shipping on a commercial container vessel to Europe! I wouldn’t change a thing about the last three years, and I’m really looking forward to the coming year,” he continued.
Second in Command or Regimental Executive Officer, 1/C Adam LaBranche, graduated from Saint John the Baptist High School, West Islip, NY, in 2009. Today he is a Marine Engineering major and an RXO determined to pass on the “tools for success” he has learned at the Academy. “The best piece of counsel I can give an incoming youngie is to look at both the big picture and your personal goals. We do things differently at MMA. That is what makes us not only better than any maritime college, but better than any college out there. In four years the Academy teaches the professional mentality, leadership, and discipline needed to succeed in the "real world". This gives MMA graduates a huge advantage in the job market whether aboard a ship or on land. These lessons started during my first orientation and continue to this day. Its hard work, but it will pay dividends for the rest of your life,” LaBranche declared.
It appears that top Buc advice mirrors that famous American saying – the only place that success comes before work … is the dictionary!