ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Thousands pack Navy-Marine Corps Stadium to watch some of America's best military fighters graduate at the Naval Academy Graduation.
Proud moms and dads, friends and other family were in Annapolis to witness a great accomplishment. Many of those graduates hoped to be doing this someday.
The class of 2019 is more than a thousand strong with 756 men and 296 women. Of those 1,052 men and women, 769 became Navy Ensigns and 265 became 2nd Lieutenants in the Marine Corps.
Every year they rotate the commencement speakers at the Naval Academy. It's either the Secretary of Defense, the Chairmen of the Joint Chief of Staff or the president or vice president. This year it was the Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan.
Secretary Shanahan had the privilege to speak to what was described as, "the best class we ever graduated from the Naval Academy."
With 81 students off to graduate school and a graduation rate of 89.9 percent, these midshipmen know success. Secretary Shanahan warned the class that all that achievement might not be a good thing, sometimes failure leads to a strong leader.
"Because those people know where they went wrong and they are smarter, wiser and less arrogant than those that have never failed. If you have never experienced failure, if you have not felt the cut of the blade, then when failure finds you, you won't know how to recover," said Secretary Shanahan.
Heeding his words, the soon to be graduates patiently waited to do something they've dreamed of for four grueling years.
As the new grads celebrated, WMAR-2 came upon now Ensign Chris Rose and his Grandfather Dan Cooper. His grandfather knows a little about the accomplishment his grandson has achieved; Dan Cooper is a graduate from the class of '57 and a Retired Vice Admiral.
"He happens to be one of three of our grandsons who graduated from here and all of them are doing quiet well," said Cooper.
"I owe a lot of my success to how he raised my mom and who my dad is, so I'm very thankful for him and everything he has done for our family," said Rose.
Now, Vice Admiral Cooper can watch his grandson excel at flight school in Pensacola Florida.