NOAA 2000-821
Contact: Jeanne Kouhestani


The 99th class of NOAA Corps recruits will graduate today from three months of basic officer training at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y., the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said. The officers are scheduled to begin their first assignments aboard NOAA research and survey ships later this month.

The NOAA Corps is the nation's seventh uniformed service. NOAA Corps officers manage and operate the agency's fleet of 15 ships and 13 aircraft used to gather data and conduct research in fulfillment of NOAA's environmental science mission. Officers also apply their technical, managerial and operational skills to shoreside positions within NOAA program offices.

"These new recruits are an extremely high-caliber group of men and women, and have been very successful in completing our rigorous training program at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy," said Rear Admiral Evelyn Fields, director of NOAA's Office of Marine and Aviation Operations and the NOAA Corps. "They have already proven themselves to be highly motivated to excel in their work, and we have every confidence that each will make an important contribution to the success of NOAA's programs."

New NOAA Corps recruits – who must have degrees in science, engineering or mathematics – are sent to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy to learn ship management, bridge operations, radar plotting, navigation, firefighting, service protocol, and other skills needed before they begin tours aboard NOAA vessels as junior officers. Classroom lectures, lab activities and demonstrations are combined with hands-on experience aboard the Academy-owned ship, Kings Pointer, which is a sister ship to two NOAA-owned vessels.

Once assigned to a vessel for a two-year tour, each officer will work with a senior officer on the bridge and also begin specialized training in hydrographic surveys, fishery research and trawling, or oceanic and atmospheric research, depending on the vessel assigned.

Of the four women and 11 men recruited, eight have been assigned to fisheries ships; two to coastal research ships; four to hydrographic survey ships; and one to an oceanographic research ship.

There are currently 228 officers in the Corps, including the 15 new recruits.

The recruits are:

Ens. Nicholas Chrobak
Ens. Jennifer Dowling
Ens. Roger Eggers
Ens. Erik M. Eilers
Ens. Reina Garcia
Ens. Richard Hester
Ens. Jessica Kondel
Ens. Stephen Z. Kroening
Ens. Noah Lawrence-Slavas
Ens. Bill Mowitt
Ens. Tom Peltzer
Ens. William Pierce
Ens. Jason Seifert
Ens. Jeffrey Taylor
Ens. Jennifer Washburn

For photos and brief biographies of the new recruits, visit our Web site at

Information about the Office of Marine and Aviation Operations can be found at: