It’s been just over two months since I assumed command of the National Maritime Center (NMC). My staff and I have been working diligently to improve our processes in order to better serve our mariners.

One of the many groups of mariners we are excited to serve are our veterans and active duty military members looking to obtain credentials and potentially transition to the maritime industry. Did you know that Executive Order (EO) 13860 signed March 4, 2019, directed the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security to ease the requirements that stand in the way of military service members interested in earning merchant mariner credentials? By supporting EO 13860, the NMC can offer credit for military training and experience, credit for military sea service, and offer potential fee waivers to those who qualify.

Veterans who obtain credentials and enter the maritime industry bring with them a wide variety of experiences, many of whom have trained and sailed in challenging environments ranging from restricted inland waterways to arctic operations. It is our hope that we can help veterans capitalize on these experiences and pursue new and challenging careers in the maritime industry.

Those eligible to apply include members of active duty Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, Air Force, Space Force, National Guard, the commissioned corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Public Health Service.

Cmdr. Brian Tesson, commanding officer of Coast Guard cutter Active and also a credentialed mariner, presents Petty Officer Edward Fischer with his merchant mariner credential. Coast Guard photo
Capt. Bradley Clare, commanding officer, National Maritime Center, presents a course approval certificate to Superintendent Jerry Achenbach of the Great Lakes Maritime Academy. Coast Guard photo

Not long after assuming command I had the privilege of issuing the second merchant mariner credential with my signature to a military member. This member, active duty Coast Guard Petty Officer Edward Fischer, received his Master 100 Ton and Mate 200 Ton endorsements on July 23.

Additionally, on Sept. 23 I had the honor of signing the first course approval that allows active duty sea service to be credited toward an engineering officer degree at a maritime academy. The Great Lakes Maritime Academy Military Veterans Program course was signed at the American Merchant Marine Veterans annual convention.

Overall, I am extremely proud to support these efforts that supports our veterans and active duty military members. The NMC is very committed to ensuring the success of our transitioning military members.

Capt. Bradley Clare is the commanding officer of the National Maritime Center (NMC), Martinsburg, W. Va.

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