On May 27 United States Naval Academy graduated 1076 midshipmen under a warm and muggy (yet thankfully rain free) Friday to kick off the Memorial Day weekend. 788 were commissioned as Navy Ensigns and 256 as Marine Corps 2nd Lieutenants, and one each as officers in the US Air Force and the US Coast Guard. There were 15 foreign national students graduating fromBangladesh, Bulgaria, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Gabon, Guyana, Kazakhstan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia,Peru, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand .
The top graduate is Thomas Joseph Wester, from Brookfield, Wisconsin who was a mathematics major. He will be commissioned as a Navy Ensign.
Timothy Edward Tracey of Omaha, Nebraska was the class salutatorian. He was a mechanical engineering major. He will be commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps.
This is the 166th traditional graduation ceremony. Since 1845, approximately 83,500 midshipmen have graduated from the Naval Academy. Since 1980, more than 5000 women including the class of 2015 have graduated from the United States Naval Academy.
Secretary of Defense, Ashton “Ash” Carter addressed the graduates this morning at about 1020am. The Secretary was joined on the rostrum by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, VADM. Walter E. “Ted” Carter, Superintendent of the Naval Academy, and Col. Stephen E. Liszewski, Commandant of midshipmen, among other military and political officials.
New to the ceremony this year was a second pass by the Blue Angels. After the initial flyover, they returned during the National Anthem and made a slow, nearly-silent pass behind the large US flag.
Defense Secretary Carter spoke to the graduating Mids and thanked them for their service and sacrifice. He spoke of their time on the Yard and the obstacles they faced in their four years. He also highlighted the successes the class saw with winning YouTube with Naptown Funk, and producing a 6th round NFL draft pick. Speaking of the NFL, Carter said that both Keenan Reynolds and Chris Swain were free to pursue their NFL dreams and to “go get ’em.” Both Swain and Reynolds were commissioned as Ensigns in the Navy and will have to serve 8 years as a Navy Reserve Officer to complete their commitment. The Reserves typically will spend one weekend a month and two weeks a year working for the Navy. The typical requirement is 5 years.
See full remarks from the Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter below:
Additional photos will be coming soon.