Vice President Joe Biden welcomed the U.S. Coast Guard Academy’s Class of 2013 as the Coast Guard’s newest officers, saluting their service and emphasizing the important role they play in meeting the nation’s many maritime needs.
“I believe you graduate into a world where the maritime domain is as important as ever to our national security, and the Coast Guard’s global mission is more important than it has ever been,” Biden said.
As the 227 cadets in the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Class of 2013 recited the oath of office, they officially embarked on their critical and inspiring role as leaders in the service’s life saving, national defense and law enforcement missions.
Over the last four years, these newly-commissioned ensigns have evolved into strong leaders, motivated and ready to contribute to the service in a meaningful way, said Ensign Joe Sullivan-Springhetti, a native of Portland, Ore., and the distinguished honor graduate.
“I feel like all of 2013 has grown an incredible amount. Individually, we’re more mature, more confident and more capable of responding effectively in stressful situations,” said Sullivan-Springhetti. “Collectively, I think we’ve grown extremely close to one another. We trust and rely on one another, and we have a team mentality that will follow us into the fleet. Between our individual attributes and the strength of our class, we’re going to be able to handle whatever comes next.”
The graduates are headed to frontline operations on our maritime borders and littorals; from the Great Lakes to the Arctic. But whether they are stationed in a command center in charge of a life-saving mission, or standing the watch in the darkness of night in search of illicit activity, they are ready; ready to make their mark on the legacy that is the United States Coast Guard.
“It’s no coincidence that Coast Guards around the world have turned our white ships and racing stripes into a universal symbol. It’s no accident that the world still looks to us to keep the sea lanes safe. And it’s no surprise-given all your talents-that the world looks to us as the partner of choice to help countries confront criminals and traffickers and all the challenges that no nation can solve on its own,” said Biden. “And when the world looks to us, Class of 2013, we look to you… And no one could look to you-no one could see these remarkable young men and women- and not feel immensely optimistic about the future.”
Congratulations to the Class of 2013 as you join the distinguished “Long Blue Line.”