Know Your Military

Vice President Commends Cadets' Commitment to Service at Academy Graduation

May 25, 2019 | BY David Vergun

Vice President Mike Pence delivered the commencement address for the graduation and commissioning ceremony of the U.S. Military Academy's Class of 2019 in West Point, New York.

"You are being given the greatest gift that an American leader can have with the greatest responsibility. America's parents have given you our most precious possession, our sons and daughters, and they ask of you only one thing: lead them well," Pence told the cadets today.

Cadets stand at attention.
At Attention
Cadets participate in the graduation and commissioning ceremony of the U.S. Military Academy’s Class of 2019 in West Point, N.Y., May 25, 2019.
Photo By: Screenshot by David Vergun, DOD
VIRIN: 190525-O-ZZ999-003C

"Values of duty, honor, country are engraved on your class rings and are now embedded in your hearts," the vice president said. "They are the values that will carry you from this day in service to this great nation."

Other important values for soldiers and for all others as well, he said, are discipline, integrity, self-control, humility and obedience of orders.

"To lead others, you must lead yourself first," Pence added. "Lead with integrity. Be an example. Mind your mission. Take care of your soldiers, and you will stand your ground."

A man speaks at a podium.
Pence Commencement
Vice President Mike Pence delivers the commencement address for the graduation and commissioning ceremony of the U.S. Military Academy’s Class of 2019 in West Point, N.Y., May 25, 2019.
Photo By: Screenshot by David Vergun, DOD
VIRIN: 190525-O-ZZ999-001C

"The United States Army never quits, never accepts defeat, always puts the mission first," he said.

Pence noted that the 985 cadets of this year's graduating class are the most diverse in the academy's history, including having the most Hispanic and African-American women.

Men speak in front of an audience.
Commencement Address
Vice President Mike Pence delivers the commencement address for the graduation and commissioning ceremony of the U.S. Military Academy’s Class of 2019 in West Point, N.Y., May 25, 2019. Next to Pence is Army Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams, academy commandant, who also spoke.
Photo By: Screenshot by David Vergun, DOD
VIRIN: 190525-O-ZZ999-002C

Academy Commandant Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams said he deeply appreciates members of the class of 1969 for their support and mentorship over the last four years to this graduating class. Members of the class of 1969 presented each of the cadets with a set of second lieutenant rank insignia at the commissioning ceremony.