The U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, fly in formation over the United States Naval Academy 2018 Graduation Day and Commissioning Ceremony at Navy-Marine Corp. Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland. US Navy photo. President Donald Trump congratulated the U.S. Naval Academy class of 2018 as they were commissioned Friday as Navy ensigns and Marine Corps second lieutenants.
“Together you are the tip of the spear, the edge of the blade, the front of the shield protecting and defending our nation,” Trump said to the graduating class.
During the Friday ceremony, 784 midshipmen stood and were commissioned as Naval officers, 236 midshipmen stood and were commissioned as Marine Corps officers, and 11 international students graduated and will return to serve their nations.
Nearly four years ago, when the class of 2018 was inducted on July 1, 2014,303 of the 1,191 new midshipmen were women, the largest number of women inducted to a Naval Academy class at that point.
Addressing the class, in a speech laden with congratulations to for their academic and athletic achievements – including beating the Army in 19 sporting events this past year – Trump encouraged the soon-to-be commissioned officers to continue the culture of winning.
“You crave adventure. You chase discovery. And you never flinch in the eye of a raging storm,” Trump said. U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen from the Class of 2018 toss their covers in the air during the graduation and commissioning ceremony at Navy/Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. The Class of 2018 includes 303 women (25%, the largest number ever) and a total of 402 minority midshipmen (34%) out of the total 1,192 midshipman in the Class of 2018. The Class of 2018 has candidates who accepted appointments from all 50 states, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Guam and 13 international students from: Cambodia, Cameroon , Federated States of Micronesia , Georgia, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Montenegro, Nigeria, Republic of Korea, Senegal, Taiwan, and United Arab Emirates. US Navy photo.
In terms of policy, Trump discussed the recently approved Fiscal Year 2018 Department of Defense budget, securing $700 billion to support the military, which ended “the disastrous defense sequester.”
With a FY 2019 defense bill approved this week by the House of Representatives and being worked on by the Senate, Trump added that next year will continue adding money for defense spending for such items as new ships, new equipment and pay raises for military personnel.
“We are recommitting to that fundamental truth, we are a maritime nation,” Trump said. “And being a maritime nation, we’re surrounded by sea, we must always dominate that sea.”
Bulking up the nation’s maritime capability was also at the heart of Undersecretary of the Navy Thomas Modly’s address to the class. Modly, a 1983 U.S. Naval Academy graduate and former helicopter pilot, likened the Navy the 2018 class enters to the one he was commissioned into 35 years ago today.
Defense spending was increasing, especially spending on the Navy, after years of deficient budgets, Modly said.
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