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More 1,000 midshipmen part of the U.S. Naval Academy class of 2024

Posted at 5:44 PM, May 24, 2024

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — More than 1,000 midshipmen are now commissioned officers.

The U.S. Naval Academy class of 2024 walking to the notes of pomp and circumstance this afternoon.

Now, they are headed to their next adventure.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke at the ceremony for the second straight year.

He gave words of encouragement for the graduates, noting the start to their careers in the midst of the pandemic was far from ideal.

But he added, they persevered.

"I hope that you'll see your years here as a long lesson in grit, adaptability, and discipline. You put in the reps and sets to succeed as a team and grow as teammates. And that's exactly what we'll continue to expect of you—today and every day," Austin said.

After the words from the secretary of defense, came time for the hat toss.

For one new ensign, it's also a milestone for her whole family.

"I am the first in my family to come to the Naval Academy. I'm the first in mind town. And so that is really important for me, because I'm not only representing myself, but I'm also representing my family, and those from back home. And I really want to make them proud," Andrea Garcia said.

1,040 men and women were able to toss their hats into the air this afternoon.

760 will become navy ensigns.

258 will become second lieutenants in the marines.

And after the ceremony, Secretary Austin temporarily gave up authorities to his deputy.

It's so he can undergo what his office says is a “minimally invasive” and “non surgical” procedure at Walter Reed Medical Center.

It's related to a bladder issue Austin suffered as a result of a surgery he underwent to treat prostate cancer last year.