Admiral James G. Stavridis, USN, Commander, U.S. Southern Command, will deliver the keynote address at commencement exercises on June 16 for the 213 members of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy’s class of 2008.
Admiral Stavridis assumed command of the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) in October 2006. SOUTHCOM is responsible for contingency planning, operations and security cooperation for Central and South America, the Caribbean, and the . SOUTHCOM is also responsible for ensuring the defense of the and the canal area. Located in , SOUTHCOM is comprised of more than 1,200 military and civilian personnel representing the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and several federal agencies.
Prior to his current post, Admiral Stavridis commanded a destroyer squadron and an aircraft carrier strike group that conducted operations in the in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. Ashore, he served on the staffs of the Chief of Naval Operation and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Admiral Stavridis holds a Ph.D. in International Relations from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at . He is the author or co-author of several books.
Forty-two members of the 2008 class will be commissioned for active military service: 17 in the U.S. Navy: 8 in the Marine Corps; 1l in the Coast Guard; 1 in the Air Force; and 5 in the Army. In addition, 2 graduates will take a reserve commission in the Army National Guard; 2 in the Army Reserve; and 2 in the Coast Guard Reserve.Seventy percent of the ’08 class spent all or part of their sea year assigned to Naval auxiliary vessels forward deployed to the Middle East and/or aboard commercial vessels chartered to carry military supplies in support of operations in and . USMMA is the only federal academy with students in a combat zone.