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DHS Secretary delivers Coast Guard graduation speech

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas delivers a commencement address to Coast Guard Academy cadets on May 22, 2024.
J. Scott Applewhite
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas updates reporters on the effort to resettle vulnerable Afghans in the United States, in Washington, Friday, Sept. 3, 2021.

Two hundred and twenty-five U.S. Coast Guard cadets became officers on Wednesday during their graduation ceremony in New London.

Rear Admiral Michael Johnson, the 43rd superintendent of the Academy, said this class is special because they joined the service at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“To the great class of 2024, over the past four years you have truly given it your all,” Johnson said. “Despite the rest of the world on lockdown and in quarantine, you showed up here on July 8, 2020. Many of you missed your senior sports seasons, proms, even your high school graduations. But despite this, you remain dedicated to serving your country and for that we are eternally grateful.”

Coast Guard Academy

These Coast Guard cadets will join ships and stations across the world.

Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Linda Fagan and U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas were also at the ceremony.

Mayorkas did not comment on current events, but hinted at the work the graduates will do worldwide to support the nation and its allies.

“Perhaps you are the most tested and resilient of the 142 classes that came before you,” Mayorkas said. “Around this time college graduates are participating in commencement ceremonies across the country. They, like you, do not know what tomorrow is going to bring. But this we do know for the vast majority of them, their tomorrow will be nothing like yours.”

Five graduates were from foreign countries: Guyana, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, the Philippines and Jordan.

An award-winning freelance reporter/host for WSHU, Brian lives in southeastern Connecticut and covers stories for WSHU across the Eastern side of the state.