Obama highlights climate change at Coast Guard Academy graduation

NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) — President Barack Obama started his keynote address with a little name dropping like he did during his inaugural speech, a name with which the 218 cadets were very familiar.

“Then there was one person in town who asked, ‘did Obama name drop New London?'” the President said, referring to reaction to his January speech. “So let me do it again. It is a great honor to be back in New London at the United States Coast Guard Academy.”

His message to the US Coast Guard Academy cadets and their families focused on climate change and the risks he says the global threat poses to national security, causing instability and unrest.

“I’m just saying climate change did not cause the conflicts we see around the world, yet what we also know is that severe drought helped to create the instability in Nigeria that was exploited by the terrorist group Boko Haram,” said Mr. Obama.

The President says military forces have to be ready, and these graduates are the new leaders of the U.S. Coast Guard.

“That’s definitely something we’re going to be looking at, servicing the waters up there looking, figuring out where everything is opening up,” said new ensign Victoria Diaz. “That’s going to be one of our big missions. He’s right, that’s going to be one of our main priorities in the Coast Guard.”

Diaz, of East Haddam, is one of eight graduates from Connecticut. She is heading to Pensacola, Fla. for flight school. Like all her classmates, she was handed her orders right from the President.

“I think I blacked out when I shook his hand because I don’t remember what I said to him,” said Diaz. “It’s an honor, a once in a lifetime chance to be able to get to do this and we got to do it today. I”m privileged.”

And now she is among the Coast Guard’s newest ensigns.

As they divest themselves of all symbols of cadet life by throwing up their hats into the air, a Coast Guard helicopter flies over the cheering crowd, a storybook ending to the 134th commencement exercises.

WTNH NEWS8 provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Also, you can now block any inappropriate user by simple selecting the drop down menu on the right of any comment and selection "Block User" from there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s