Biden Welcomes Grads to 'Greatest Coast Guard the World Has Ever Seen'

The vice president gives commencement address at Coast Guard Academy ceremony.
24:49 | 05/22/13

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Transcript for Biden Welcomes Grads to 'Greatest Coast Guard the World Has Ever Seen'
Thank you very much -- -- thank you so very very much. Let me -- before began that. -- your words that are. Hearts go and our prayers. Are said for of the people of Oklahoma. Particularly moral problem. Secretary of -- Toronto as the media comment on -- -- was. Scheduled to be here today. I met were there yesterday the situation room. Relative to the situation in. -- Oklahoma. And -- she asked me to extend her apologies. But. Secretary of policy Tom -- is is doing your job. She's in Moore Oklahoma leading FEMA. And the first responders through that region doing everything. Everything in -- -- drew since the British citizens of local home. The they weathered the worst that nature has offer. And it responded with the best that humanity -- And the remarkable courage that means a person to. Put the safety of others ahead of their own. As the rescue continues in the building begins. We've made clear to governor Fallon and -- Lewis that that they have all the resources. They need at their disposal. And no one knows. Better than my friend your governor. How in times of tragedy and difficulty. And the good wishes and help the rest of the nation matter. And mr. mayor in governor -- want to say again do you publicly. The way you handled the tragedy at sandy hook can spend. A model of remarkable stamina and -- and your compassion. -- -- rarely seen by -- -- don't hear your fellow citizens the whole world. And so governor knows. -- what it's like to go through such travail. A long road -- lies ahead of the people more. And it's not going to be an easy but don't want travel -- fill up all the resources the United States government and the united states military. And humor and the American people on their side as they had as they -- make their way through. Enroll her -- those governor O'Malley mr. mayor I think it's a good idea. To change the name here me now. And and Arab north and -- -- of the Honduran navy shipmates cadets -- friends. It's it's an honor to be here today to share this this day review and I mean. If if you're like most graduating class including mine you not like you to remember who your commencement speaker us. But I assure you you remember this day the rest of your lives. And I'm honored you allowed me to share this day would you. I also look what you know -- I'm proud to say that. Monmouth -- -- three Coast Guard graduates who worked for me. Commander the commander who is running my operation. -- national security and do you mind military aid to graduate. National Security Council lieutenant commander and O'Connell. White House fellows since Steve -- executive officer of the saturation and -- house and lieutenant commander in. Peddlers they upon military -- and and captain patty hill Coast Guard -- fellow working with me. I didn't have any trouble asking -- they wanted to board the plane to come in London and around long before idea. I was there and we're all all of -- honored to be here. And all the parents. All the parents today on behalf of the president united states of American myself. Let me say thank you for raising sons and daughters. As formidable. Talent. And patriotic as the young men and women -- -- before -- today. Your country don't mean this sincerely to all the parents your country is indebted to you. And I'm absolutely certain. That the graduates sitting before you. They turned out to be all you hope they may become. Men and women of courage and commitment. So parents it's your day to. So graduating class of 2013. Get off your seats and salute your parents up. Up and thanks. And I are feeling. We all -- -- saluted as our commander in chief Solomon's -- -- before this is over. You Don good morning. I'm just glad you're so -- -- you can't take my job yet. You gotta -- 35. To qualify. Folks. In the early days of the republic Alexander -- was suggested and -- quote. That a few armed vessels. -- additionally judiciously station. Around the entrances of our ports. Might at a small expense. Be made useful sentinels. Of the laws. -- he's sitting before me today there are about to become. Hamilton sentinel. Far. And this is not hyperbole. Part of the greatest Coast Guard the world has ever -- 200. And 94 young men and women with somebody's. Stout heart of hearts alert minds. With a liking for -- seeing his lore. And with that high sense of honor loyalty and obedience. -- goes with -- initiative and leadership. That. Is the academy's mission. And that is what the academy accomplish. -- all abuse a class -- 2013. And great credit. Goes at the senior offices and professors. Who brought you to this day. We all -- view. We all -- all all of you all American -- debt of gratitude. For trade. Such an incredible group of young women and men and you all deserve a round of applause as well. -- -- -- Class -- 2013. This is not your father's Coast Guard. You are now and undergo an indispensable part. Of the most capable. Armed forces in human history and that is not hyperbole. Aren't -- reserve protecting 95000. Miles. WI shoreline. Our -- our rivers our -- our island. And -- -- extending beyond that from the Horn of Africa to east Asian. As -- song says from Aztec she. -- -- -- For most have you four years and you know you were -- -- the most promising high school graduates anywhere in America. Your future. Was limited only by your imaginations. And no -- No one would have blamed you. For choosy easier road. One with a greater physical security. And more material -- But that is not what you -- -- No palm -- The call of the running tide. Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied. Thank god you answered the call you Joseph. To answer that difficult but noble calling. To risk your lives in the service your nation. So that others. May lead. You survived -- -- you got haircuts so severe your -- didn't recognize you. You read -- light squared corners your corners kept her -- in the boat. Forty years about. If someone -- you -- -- deep sleep and ask you how as the cal. You will not hesitate. You survived culminating events. Like the challenge of the guardian. Hundreds wait and see trials. You climb massed nearly 450 feet high. And more. You learn. Fellowship. And leadership. It seemed like it would never happen I expect. But you became -- -- He started teaching in -- swaps. You spend your Summers on mission is far -- wide you've paid your dues and now you're about to become. Full fledged commissioned officers. In the nation's oldest. Continuing. -- going service. The united states Coast Guard. And on behalf of the commander in chief. Your commander in chief -- -- let me say congratulations. On a job well done. Class of 2013. You just didn't heed -- call. You relished the challenge. -- -- -- -- -- -- You've been named all American all conference all New England. Would not -- an international debating competitions. -- aired the first team all American -- softball and more partner team won three state nu way in new Mac tournament championships. Now while your quarterback. John Ridgway has not leading -- hours in the library. Johnny boy I understand that I played two. Here is lead the bears on a football field. As cornerback. He shattered every record. 4569. Passing yards. 4883. Yards in total offense 38 touchdowns. Last the young man putting together my speech. To put this in this -- he asked do you need the details. -- and obviously you never played football. Details matter. And in the classroom. -- -- excelled academically. And some -- -- some of the major things you did did not show up when your grade sheet. Design new article oil drilling vessels and -- collapse bull rescue basket 4865. Helicopter. Develop systems to clean up oil spills and and waterway. And in this year's -- air defense exercise. The Coast Guard electrical engineering engineers beat. Navy. -- My son as a commission auction in the AB suggests that I not say that. My son is an Iraqi veteran a marine and is gives me a major of the army suggested yes I should it. Prepared the report. I think there you guys are -- -- They do a great tradition of this academy in all the academies. -- still were able to find some time to cut loose little. -- -- -- -- -- -- You major president known that -- offense. I understand. It's a trip to football team spent -- academic days. I'm only kidding. I don't know that for a fact but I played college football and that's -- my -- spent time. I've learned from personal experience that and I -- who has explosives. And learn from personal experience admiral. That minor disciplinary infractions don't get in the way -- tell. -- when I guarantee that's true. And this was great relish. Having been engaged in. Some. Many. Minor. Infractions. Myself. And in keeping with the long standing tradition. But tradition I truly wish they had had at the University of Delaware and I graduated. I -- now absolve you all. Of those you -- committed minor infractions. -- Coming from fellow was on social probation for awhile. I'm want to tell you I look forward to this for long time. Look I'm proud of all of -- You're sacrificed. To serve your country and is just beginning as your commencement speaker said. Serve your country. In this great costar. From valedictorian anchor cadet. Great distance but let me tell you. Before night falls. Everyone. On this field will be addressed as ma'am or sir. No matter where you graduated. Regardless of your place in class. And -- it. All you give meaning to the Coast Guard him on the Coast Guard motto. Super Peru's. Always ready. There are no you know even -- autos are often used in his use them so much taken for granted. But it really is. How your fellow Americans. Think you. Think about it. I really mean this think about. The first thing they look -- When -- in distress. On the high seas. In the water. It's the Coast Guard. Everything you do from -- rescued a natural disasters. Your shipmates have saved 3650. Lives last year alone. Risking their lives. Risking their lives many times over to save others. You know the -- thing has happened. We were pretty good pass receiver combination of good friend of mine graduated from this academy played for -- Graham. -- his name was -- -- And -- still around and talk to build -- BP fees in California. And the thing in our generation we reported the academy's. I'm not sure everyone fully understood. The demands and risks and talent required to do your job. But in the last decade or so the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard. Has responded to a quarter million search and rescue cases. Rescued more than 50000. People from certain -- The risk are real who sometimes the price of duties very high. The last ten years 25. Coast Guardsmen have given their lives in the line of duty. It was a coast -- and went into sixty knot winds and thirty foot seas off the coast of North Carolina rescued. Fourteen to sixteen crew members from the HMS bounty. During hurricane center. -- -- coast Guardsmen. That -- first to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina rescue 33000. Women and men and children and rooftops. And from the city underwater. There are tens of thousands of grateful men and women and children from all parts of the world that will tell anyone who will listen. That's the most welcome sight -- every scene of her life are those regimes tribes coming toward them when the sound of that orange. Then orange Coast Guard helicopter above them Lorena bucket. -- a man -- woman inside to save their lives. Without hesitation. Coast -- was thrust themselves between drug trafficking criminal gangs trying to reach our shores. Last year perform. Security recordings of 111628. Vessels. And being someone who is deeply involved in this issue. You know no matter how benign it looks you never had any idea. Once you step on board -- that vessel. What do wage. You know -- a 163. Tons of cocaine and marijuana. Risking your lives on these emissions. And the case. Senior chief foreign giving his life off the coast to California. When -- smuggling. Vessel rammed into a small boat. I'm told the last active senior chief warrant. As a smuggling vessel bore down on his -- Was the reached toured the point of impact. And push -- Cox who decide to safety. That's courage and devotion and full measure -- greatest tradition of the united states coast. And. Finally over the last decade or so because. Of celebrated productions like the perfect storm the guardian. Coast Guard in Alaska. Deepest and Deadliest Catch. The American people. Have become aware of the incredible risk taking. Talent required -- courage. Courage. Display. -- search and rescue in predictions. The American people are in law. Of which you do. But what they don't know. Is that's only half from what you do. Today's Coast Guard is fully integrated into the global mission. Of the United States armed forces. Some on this campus might even say the Coast Guard is the hard nucleus around about what's the navy forms in times of war. I did not say that some here would -- that. But the real truth is. You work seamlessly -- your sister services. And the whole of our military might as a consequence is greater than the sum of -- parts. Your job. Is only getting more complicated the coast guard's job requiring greater capacity greater talent. Because as the Irish fall William Butler Yeats once at an Apollo. About his Ireland is entitled Easter Sunday 1916 he said -- changed. Changed utterly. Terrible beauty is born. No graduating class gets to choose the time into -- they graduate. And every time is different but -- graduating. Into a world that is rapidly changing. Changing utterly. From challenges and missions. To changing climate. I said this is not your father's Coast Guard we rely -- The united states Coast Guard to see the world what -- we are graduating. His beautiful. And not simply terrible. Also changed. You graduated in a -- -- the great powers. Have stepped back from the brink of mutual assured destruction. But where. New stateless actors. Have stepped into the breach with the desire to smuggle smuggle weapons and terror. Into America report. The belly cargo containers. To do our people great harm. Also changed. You graduated in a world war the new fault lines between nations are the sea lanes in the straits. You know so well. Because more than any other time in history. Every nation's economic power and viability. Is tied to the global economy and as ever boat -- -- On the safe passage of goods on the -- because buying. Of all goods. Are traded by C. Dictatorship is still the backbone. Of global commons. That your job. To secure. -- graduated in a world where piracy. And human trafficking. Have reached levels. That no one thought could exist. Fifty years ago. You graduate and a world worm farm our security our shorelines are treasuries all are threatened. By this country's need to drill in deep seas and transport hundreds of billions of gallons of oil I -- You graduated in a world. -- the consequences of global war already offer the possibility of ice free passage across Arctic regions that didn't exist. When you were born presenting entirely -- challenges. Demanding greater international cooperation. And so much more. But -- every case. You're going to play. A pivotal essential role. And that's why -- officer. You'll conduct port security training missions in countries as diverse as liberians Saudi -- and -- -- To ensure that US port facilities around the world. Major security standards. The containers -- United States. Require. Being certain that do not contain destructive elements. That's why is often -- operate Coast Guard ice -- -- rock chip to navigate waters that would otherwise be -- -- from the Great Lakes and the northeast. The new passages in the Arctic. And that's why today. You are preparing for Arctic future. That includes colder or vote -- complicated operations. -- routinely have ever been engaged in before by the Coast Guard. And that's why. You'll be part of a specialized law enforcement teams to fight maritime crime including pirate ship -- pornographic often working hand in hand. With the navy's fifth fleet. And that's why -- respond. To not just natural -- manmade disasters. To -- steps ships from illegally polluting. And catch those who do to help prevent clean up oil spills not just to protect our resources but to help train and partner. -- other countries to protect theirs is well. Graduating seniors I'm here to tell you I am absolutely. Confident. Absolutely confident. In your ability to meet these new and growing challenges. To protect and secure your country's interest. Europe to every task. This changing world. It is not an exaggeration to say murder increase -- depend upon. The nation -- a great deal -- -- Because we know you're capable of a great deal. As Oliver Wendell Holmes senior -- and I quote. Greatness. Is not in where we stand. -- and what direction -- -- movie. We must sail sometimes with the wind. And sometimes against. But sale we must and not drift. Nor -- anchor. Know you -- as the line anchor. I'm confident. -- the direction to which. We are movie. Will guarantee your greatness. And much of that confidence lies in knowing that in the class of 2013. You're about to take the Helm of -- Coast Guard. The greatest Coast Guard in the history of the world. So my wish for you woes may god bless you. Bless the United States of America and may god. Protect our men and women in uniform. Congratulations. Classic 2000 --

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