Missouri Military Academy Cadets March to Class Fall 2021

Missouri Military Academy cadets march from Centennial Gymtorium to Barnard Hall for their first day of classes on Monday, August 16, 2021. Missouri’s only military boarding school, educating boys from across the U.S. and around the world in grades 7-12 plus post-grad year, the academy focuses its unique 360° Education around structure, self-discipline and accountability.


On Monday, August 16, the Missouri Military Academy (MMA) Corps of Cadets began their academic classes for the fall 2021 semester. Cadets have been on campus at the Mexico, Missouri campus since late July, when cadet leaders returned to work with MMA commandant staff to prepare for the upcoming year. Missouri Military Academy is Missouri’s only military boarding school for high school and middle school.

                “High school and middle school education for our MMA cadets is more challenging than what typical students participate in, as we challenge and motivate each cadet to realize his full potential,” said MMA President Richard V. Geraci, Brigadier General, USA (Ret). “Cadets participate in our 360° Education – in an environment marked by structure, self-discipline and accountability – to help them take command of their lives.”

                According to Geraci, MMA anticipates 195 to 220 cadets to be enrolled for fall 2021 classes by October 1. The arrival of international cadets who are awaiting visas, with travel to the U.S. hindered by the COVID pandemic, will impact the final number. COVID in some areas of the United States is also impacting cadet arrivals.

The fall semester started with cadet leaders participating in an intensive 9-day leadership training camp, and a week-long prep into the Academy’s military educational model, prior to the first day of academic classes, for all cadets. During that time, cadets received their first haircuts of the year and were issued uniforms, began athletic practices and underwent training with Commandant of Cadets Rick Grabowski, Colonel, USMC (Ret).

TRAVERSE CITY — Brittni Moore went from working as a camera assistant on the set of “The Walking Dead” to pursuing a degree as an engineering officer in Northwestern Michigan College’s Great Lakes Maritime Academy.

The 30-year-old already has a degree in filmmaking, but during a hiatus one summer she worked on a tall ship for two weeks. Two years later she was still there.

“I just fell in love with sailing,” said Moore, who also adds “The Blacklist” and “Nurse Jackie” to her credits. “I love the feel of being in a program where everyone has to work together in a very concrete goal of moving the ship.”

Moore was one of 50 cadets aboard the T/S State of Michigan training ship when it left its berth at the Hagerty Center early Tuesday.

Jerry Achenbach, superintendent of the Maritime Academy, said NMC is seeking to add women to its maritime engineering program in which only 8 to 12 percent of enrollees are female.

“We need more diversity and we need more engineers,” Achenbach said.

As the state maritime academy of Michigan, the GLMA educates and trains deck and engineering officers for the U.S. Merchant Marine. Jobs for graduates are plentiful and pay $70,000 to $80,000 a year in the high demand field, Achenbach said. The downside is that those who work on ships are away from home for about six months of the year, he said.

The academy usually has two training cruises per summer, but this year four cruises will take place through October to give 140 to 160 cadets the opportunity to earn sea time. The first four-week cruise will take them to Lake Huron, Lake St. Clair, Lake Erie and the Detroit and St. Mary’s rivers.

The pandemic shortened last year’s sailing season and has made it more difficult to find berths aboard commercial vessels. Cadets who normally share staterooms were also limited to one cadet per room.

The extra cruises allow all cadets to accrue some sea time, while also giving those who could not sail last year because of COVID-19 to make up for that missed time, Achenbach said.

There are about 200 cadets at the academy who must earn 360 days of required sea time during their four-year program.

“By having the training ship and flexible program we will be able to give cadets the opportunity to graduate when they were scheduled to, rather than them having to spend more time at the academy,” Achenbach said.

Daniel Flores is 35 and said his fellow cadets range from 19 to 40 years old — which is something he likes.

Originally from Peru, Flores now is starting the second year of the engineering program, where he’s learning how to take care of ships from stem to stern.

“It’s everything from installing hand sanitizer to pulling apart an engine,” he said.

Flores has worked on a cruise ship and will go back “to his element” as an engineer when he graduates.

Cadets and crew were required

Eight students were “separated” — meaning expelled — from the U.S. Military Academy and more than 50 students must repeat a year following a cheating scandal, academy officials announced in a statement Friday. 

The academy, also called West Point for its location on the Hudson River in New York, will also end its willful admission process that allows cadets who admit to violating the honor code escape expulsion. The program, in place since 2015, was used by 55 cadets in this matter.

The incident occurred in May 2020, when 73 students allegedly violated West Point’s honor code by cheating during a remote calculus exam.

“Of the 73 cases investigated by the cadet honor committee, six cadets resigned during the investigation, an additional four cadets were acquitted by a board of their peers, and two cases were dropped due to insufficient evidence,” the statement said. “Of the resulting 61 cases that were fully adjudicated, eight were separated, 51 were turned back one full year, and two were turned back six months.”

The superintendent of the academy, Lieutenant General Darryl A. Williams, in October “elevated the decision for cadets to represent the academy to his level,” the statement said. With this policy change, cadets were allowed to conduct public affairs activities, travel, and participate in clubs and sports until final adjudication.

Prior to the final adjudication, 16 cadets were competing for the academy on sports teams. No one found guilty is now representing the academy.

The cheating scandal is the worst West Point has seen since 1976, when 153 cadets resigned or were expelled after cheating on an electrical engineering exam, VOA noted in a previous article. 

The service academies are highly competitive, and in return for a selective education without paying tuition, graduates are funneled into naval or military roles in the U.S. or their home country government. The academies take up to 60 international admissions each year. The first international cadet to graduate was Antonio Barrios, a Guatemalan, in 1889.