Class of 2015: ‘We are ready’

Written by Petty Officer 2nd Class Richard Brahm

The Coast Guard Academy Class of 2015 graduates May 20, 2015. Two Hundred and seventeen cadets recieved commissions as the newest officers in the U.S. Coast Guard. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Cory Mendenhall.

The Coast Guard Academy Class of 2015 graduates May 20, 2015. Two Hundred and seventeen cadets recieved commissions as the newest officers in the U.S. Coast Guard. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Cory Mendenhall.

Today, President Barack Obama, during his last presidential commencement address at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, congratulated and welcomed the Coast Guard’s newest wave of leaders.

As 217 cadets in the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Class of 2015 swore the oath of office in the presence of their commander in chief, they set their course to ensure their names would be etched in the annals of history.

President Obama pointed out the fact that 33 percent of the graduating class is made up of underrepresented minorities, making the Class of 2015 the most diverse class ever to graduate from the Academy.

“We are joined today by commander Merle Smith, the first African American graduate of this academy. His legacy endures in you, because the graduating class of 2015 is the most diverse in Academy history and you took care of each other like family,” said Obama.

The President encouraged the graduates to strive for greatness as they embark on new endeavors.

President Barack Obama speaks to graduating U.S. Coast Guard Academy cadets at the 2015 Commencement Ceremony May 20, 2015. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Cory J. Mendenhall.

President Barack Obama speaks to graduating U.S. Coast Guard Academy cadets at the 2015 Commencement Ceremony May 20, 2015. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Cory J. Mendenhall.

“Cadets, you are at the start of your careers,” said Obama. “We cannot know, each of us, how many days we will walk this earth. We can’t guarantee we are all going to live ‘til we are 100. But what we can do is live each day to its fullest. What we can do is look squarely at what will make the biggest difference for future generations and be willing to tackle those challenges. As you embark on your life of service, as you man your stations, head to the seas, take to the skies. If you remember all that you’ve learned here. How you came here and came together to achieve as a team, what you could never do alone. Then I am confident that you will truly go where few dare. You will rise to meet the challenges that not only face our country, but face our planet, and your legacy will be a nation that will be stronger and safer for generations to come.”

The Class of 2015’s Distinguished Honor Graduate, Ensign Justin Sherman, offered his enthusiastic and sincere thoughts about his class’ future.

“Over the past four years we’ve learned about what it takes to be an officer. Experienced what it means to serve in a branch of the Armed Forces and not just any branch, the Coast Guard,” said Sherman.

“Today is our chance to seize a hold of our futures,” he continued. “To own our careers. We will shape a journey for ourselves, in the Coast Guard and beyond. Across the country and throughout the world. We know this will be a challenge. We know there will be long days of double watches collateral duties. Of seemingly endless boardings and preflight checks. We know there will be hard decisions and sacrifices, but I can tell you, we are ready.”

Congratulations to the Class of 2015, you are now part of the distinguished “Long Blue Line!”

U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Cory Mendenhall.

U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Richard Brahm .

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