Tuesday, January 3, 2023
Good morning, Follow The Voyage – Share The Experience Program Participants –
The TS Kennedy is a busy place!
As you are reading this in your classrooms across the United States and around the world, many of our cadets are on the dock and on the ship helping to load supplies that we will need for our voyage.
Yesterday, we held an Evacuation Drill. When an announcement was made, cadets disembarked the ship as quickly as possible and mustered with their division on the parade field. In the event of an emergency at Taylors Point or in one of our four pots, cadets and crew members need to know how to react and respond. You will hear me say repeatedly throughout Sea Term 2023, safety is our number one priority aboard our training ship. Tomorrow, we will hold our first Coast Guard Fire And Boat Drill at 1600. On the campus of Massachusetts Maritime Academy and aboard the TS Kennedy we use military time. 1600 is the same as 4:00 PM.
Many students have asked how long it has taken me to learn to be a Captain. That is a great question because becoming a Captain does not happen overnight. It has taken many years to reach this position. I got my start right here at Massachusetts Maritime Academy. I graduated in 1987 with a degree in Marine Transportation. Next, I worked for Marine Transport Lines Inc. for nine years. Most of that time was spent on a chemical tanker. I also was a Marine Transportation instructor at the Academy from 2004 to 2009. In 2013, I was hired as the Second Mate of the TS Kennedy. The following year, I became the Acting Chief Mate. In August 2016, I was selected to be the Master of the TS Kennedy.
Students have also asked if there was a special ceremony when I became the Captain of the TS Kennedy. Yes, there was. When one Captain retires and another Captain is appointed to take his place, it is called a Change Of Command. During the ceremony, my wife Joyce fitted me with the shoulder board epaulets that are part of the uniform for the Master of a vessel. The epaulets have four gold bars and an anchor on them. They are worn on my dress white uniform.
A few students have asked if I wear a white uniform every day like the captains that they have met on cruise ships. My job aboard the TS Kennedy is very hands-on. A fancy white uniform certainly wouldn’t stay white for long. You will have to wait until the TS Kennedy is docked in Fort Lauderdale, Florida to see photos of me in my dress white uniform. I plan to wear it at an evening shipboard reception.
I have enjoyed looking over the long list of schools participating in the Follow The Voyage – Share The Experience Program. I was born in Needham, Massachusetts, so I was happy to see students following from Mitchel Elementary School. My family also lived in Madison, Wisconsin when I was a young boy. I am glad to see that we have followers from Markesan Middle School in Wisconsin. I think that Markesan is about an hour away from Madison. In 1970, my family moved to Rhode Island, where I live today with my wife, children, and pets. It’s great to have seven schools participating from my home state. I am especially pleased to have my son Christian's fourth grade class following from Narragansett Elementary School in Narragansett. Christian has spent a great deal of time aboard the TS Kennedy with me. He will be able to provide his class with a lot of interesting information.
Thank you for supporting the cadets aboard the TS Kennedy.
Captain Michael J. Campbell
Master, TS Kennedy