A Denison man is among 280 individuals who were recently accepted to study at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.

Cameron Fallon, of Denison, was recently sworn in as a midshipman with the U.S. Naval Reserve at the USMMA, located at Kings Point, New York. The school focuses on training mariners for service aboard ships in the U.S. Merchant Marine or for active duty in the armed forces.

“With 95 percent of the world’s products transported over water, these leaders are vital to the effective operation of our merchant fleet for both commercial and military transport during war and peace,” the USMMA website says. “In time of war or national emergency, the U.S. Merchant Marine becomes vital to national security as a ‘fourth arm of defense.’ Our merchant ships bear the brunt of delivering military troops, supplies and equipment overseas to our forces and allies operating as an auxiliary unit to the Navy.”

The school is one of the five federal service academies that include the Military Academy at West Point, the Naval Academy at Annapolis, Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs and the U.S. Coast Academy in New London, Connecticut.

At the school, midshipmen will study topics ranging from from navigation, ship administration, customs and other maritime subjects. Once Fallon graduates from the academy after four years he will receive bachelor’s of science degree, a U.S. Coast Guard license and an officer’s commission in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Graduates have the choice of spending five years active duty in the armed forces upon graduation of spending eight years in the reserves while working for five years in the U.S. maritime industry.

In order to qualify for the academy, an applicant must meet certain physical and academic requirements while also being sponsored by their congressman or senator. In Fallon’s case, it was U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe who chose to endorse him.

“Cameron epitomizes the top-notch talent and success it takes to be admitted into one of our nation’s military academies,” Ratcliffe said via email. “I was humbled for the opportunity to nominate him to attend the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy on behalf of the 4th District of Texas. His decision to serve our country is incredibly inspiring, and I’m confident he will continue making Northeast Texas proud in his future endeavors.”