U.S. Merchant Marine Academy indoctrination begins

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For 279 young men and women from the graduating high school class of 2016, summer vacation ended Tuesday, not quite a week before the Fourth of July.

United States Merchant Marine Academy Commandant of Midshipmen Captain David Sosa and his charges welcomed the Class of 2020 to its first day of indoctrination in the same manner in which they've greeted plebe-candidates for the last 73 years.

Proud families hugged their children in the parking lot before dispatching them into the waiting clippers of the academy's barbers.

"Indoc," as the Merchant Marine calls its three-week orientation period, promises to introduce plebe-candidates to the "regimental lifestyle."

The Class of 2020 boasts the highest percentage of women of any class in the school's history.

A graduate from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy enters the workforce with a bachelor of science degree, a merchant mariner's license, and a commission as an officer in this nation's armed forces.