Graduates of the U.S. Military Academy celebrate at the end of ceremonies Saturday in West Point, N.Y. Vice President Mike Pence addressed the new second lieutenants, telling them the world is “a dangerous place” and that “it is a virtual certainty” they will see combat. “Some of you may even be called upon to serve in this hemisphere,” he said.
WEST POINT, N.Y. — Vice President Mike Pence told the most diverse graduating class in the history of the U.S. Military Academy on Saturday that the world is “a dangerous place” and they should expect to see combat.
“Some of you will join the fight against radical Islamic terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq,” he said.
Pence congratulated the West Point graduates on behalf of President Donald Trump.
More than 980 cadets became Army second lieutenants in the ceremony at West Point’s football stadium.
Pence noted that Trump has proposed a $750 billion defense budget for 2020 and said the United States “is once again embracing our role as the leader of the free world.”
“It is a virtual certainty that you will fight on a battlefield for America at some point in your life,” Pence said. “You will lead soldiers in combat. It will happen. Some of you may even be called upon to serve in this hemisphere.”
The class was the most diverse in West Point’s history, and Pence said he wanted to acknowledge “the historic milestones that we’re marking today.”
The 2019 cadets included 34 black women and 223 women, both all-time highs since the first female cadets graduated in 1980. The academy graduated its 5,000th woman Saturday.
Vice President Mike Pence holds a sword presented as a gift during Saturday’s graduation ceremony at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.