‘We’re Depending on You,’ Austin Tells Naval Academy Grads

May 28, 2024

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told Naval Academy graduates Friday that the U.S. is counting on them as the next generation of leaders, according to a transcript.

“We’re depending on you to secure the world’s sea lanes for the free flow of ships, commerce and ideas,” Austin said. “We’re depending on you to sail, fly and operate wherever international law allows. We’re depending on you to deepen old alliances and forge new friendships. And we’re depending on you to deter conflict and to keep the peace.”

Austin spoke at the Naval Academy commencement for the second year in a row. He noted that the class faced unprecedented challenges because of the COVID pandemic and that “liberty was rare” during their plebe year.

Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class William Bennett IV

A Call to Service at SC State

Austin also spoke at the May 10 commencement at South Carolina State University, an HBCU, issuing a call to public service.

“We need to keep working together to knock down barriers, to level the playing field, and to let everybody compete to win,” Austin said at SC State, according to a transcript. “We need your service to the nation. So find ways to make change. To contribute. And to be a part of something bigger than yourself…. And we definitely need some of you to stand up, and salute and defend the United States in uniform.”

Watch Austin’s Speeches

You can watch Austin’s Naval Academy and South Carolina State University speeches via C-SPAN.

Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class William Bennett IV

May 28, 2024

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