Defense secretary tells Navy graduates they are ready to serve

May 26, 2023, 11:06 AM | Updated: 2:52 pm

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told newly commissioned officers at the U.S. Naval Academy on Friday that they are ready to “defend our democracy with honor, courage and commitment.”

Austin, speaking during the ceremony at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium after President Joe Biden addressed graduates last year and Vice President Kamala Harris delivered remarks in 2021, acknowledged the Navy’s role in training allies, helping expand Ukraine’s maritime capabilities in its fight against Russian invasion and bringing relief to international conflict zones.

“Class of 2023, wherever your career takes you, remind the world of what you stand for — and what America stands for: Honor. Courage. And commitment. Democracy. Liberty. And the rule of law,” Austin told 1,018 graduates at the academy’s commissioning ceremony.

The secretary said naval officers have a special understanding of the power of teamwork, and “we need that spirit for the crucial mission that you’re all here to shoulder.”

Austin said U.S. Marines are training alongside allies in Japan and the Philippines to strengthen deterrence in the Indo-Pacific. He also said the Navy is driving forward the AUKUS partnership with Australia and the U.K.

In Europe, he said, U.S. sailors are operating shoulder-to-shoulder with NATO allies.

He told the graduating class that their leadership will be at the center of American efforts for a more peaceful future.

“Our competitors openly challenge that vision,” he said. “They want to replace the hard-won postwar system of rules and rights with a lawless world of autocracy and aggression. But the American flag atop a U.S. Navy ship has long been the symbol of hope for a more free and secure world.”

The secretary noted that the class rose to the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic in their first year at the academy.

“It separated you from your classmates as you were just starting to feel like a family, but you hung in there,” Austin said. “You took care of each other.”

The class included 751 men and 267 women. There were 744 graduates who were commissioned as Navy ensigns, including 539 men and 205 women. There were 257 commissioned as 2nd lieutenants in the Marine Corps, including 198 men and 59 women. The newly commissioned officers will serve at least five years.

National News

Dr. Max Rogers, the obstetrician-gynecologist at Grove Hill Memorial Hospital, poses for a photo Mo...

Associated Press

Alabama birthing units are closing to save money and get funding. Some say babies are at risk

GROVE HILL, Ala. (AP) — One of the last remaining birthing units in southern Alabama will close next month to qualify for federal funding that will save the hospital’s emergency services, but doctors warn the move may cost newborns and pregnant women essential access to obstetric care. Nestled in rural Clarke County, the small, nonprofit […]

24 minutes ago

Jim, left, and Tamara Hamilton watch former President Donald Trump speak on television on Thursday,...

Associated Press

Some GOP voters welcome Trump’s somewhat softened tone at Republican National Convention

For those conservative voters long turned off by former President Donald Trump’s rhetoric, his somewhat softened tone in accepting the Republican nomination Thursday night was a welcome relief. “He’s much improved,” Dave Struthers, a 57-year-old farmer from Collins, Iowa, said as he watched Trump’s speech in the basement of his farmhouse. “The thing I’ve had […]

40 minutes ago

FILE - Former President Barack Obama speaks in Athens, Greece, June 21, 2023. Democrats at the high...

Associated Press

Obama’s dilemma: Balancing Democrats’ worry about Biden and maintaining influence with president

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former President Barack Obama has a delicate balance to strike: how to weigh the mounting opposition to President Joe Biden continuing his campaign with his loyalty to his former running mate. In recent days, Obama has taken calls from congressional leaders, Democratic governors and key donors in which he has shared their […]

1 hour ago

Vice President Kamala Harris arrives for an Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote Town Hall, Sat...

Associated Press

Majority of Democrats think Kamala Harris would make a good president, AP-NORC poll shows

WASHINGTON (AP) — As President Joe Biden faces a growing drumbeat of pressure to drop his reelection bid, a majority of Democrats think his vice president would make a good president herself. A new poll from the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that about 6 in 10 Democrats believe Kamala Harris would do […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

How bootcamps are helping to address the historic gap in internet access on US tribal lands

There’s a home movie theater with orange walls and plush recliners at the top of a steep hill on Matthew Rantanen’s ranch in Southern California. But on a recent afternoon, people weren’t flocking to the room to watch a movie or to escape the scorching heat, they were shining a beam of light through more […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Thousands celebrate life of former fire chief killed at Trump rally, private funeral set for Friday

FREEPORT, Pa. (AP) — Thousands of mourners paid their respects at a Pennsylvania banquet hall Thursday to the family of a former fire chief who was shot and killed during the attempted assassination of former President Donald Trump. Trump sent a note of condolence hailing Corey Comperatore as a hero, a copy of which was […]

1 hour ago

Defense secretary tells Navy graduates they are ready to serve