Gates Welcomes Sailors of 'Uncommon Perseverance'
(July 23, 2009)
NAVAL STATION GREAT LAKES, Ill., July 17,
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates today congratulated
the Navy's 971 newest sailors as they graduated from boot
camp here among much pomp and pageantry.
“When you leave here and move
on to your permanent assignment, you have the
great responsibility of defending our nation and
its interests here at home and in distant
lands,” Gates told the nine graduating
divisions. “It is no easy task, but it is a
vital one if the United States is to remain
safe, prosperous, and strong.
“I have no doubt that you are more than equal to
the task,” he added.
Gates complimented the graduates on having the
“uncommon perseverance and patriotism” to enlist
and complete eight weeks of basic training.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates congratulates some of the Navy's 971 newest sailors as they graduated from boot camp at Great Lakes Naval Training Center, Ill., July 17, 2009.
“Earlier today, I observed some of the
exercises and training you have completed. I am impressed,
to say the least,” he said. “It takes uncommon perseverance
to make it through basic training, just as it takes uncommon
patriotism to make the decision to join the military in a
time of a war.” |
The new sailors exemplify the Navy's core values of honor,
courage and commitment. “You embody the adage of, ‘Not for
self, but country,'” he said.
They will have the chance to reinforce the adage when they
join their shipmates deployed around the globe, from Iraq
and Afghanistan to ships at sea. But there's a good chance
they'll spend more time on dry land than water, Gates said.
In the Central Command area of responsibility, there are
more sailors serving on land than sea, as SEALs, ‘Devil
Docs' performing frontline surgeries, engineers, ordnance
disposal experts and in countless other capacities, he
Regardless of their duty station, Gates said, the sailors
are following in a long and vital tradition.
“From the Barbary pirates to al-Qaeda, our nation has faced
fierce and unpredictable adversaries that would do us harm,”
Gates said. “However, just as in the time of wooden ships
and iron sailors, our enemies underestimate our resolve and
our capabilities only at their own peril.
“You are the next generation of sailors that have been
tasked with the heavy burden of ensuring the safety and
security of our nation,” he said.
Gates assured the sailors and their families, however, that
he takes his personal responsibility for each of them very
seriously and will do everything in his power to help them
accomplish their mission and bring them home safely.
He concluded his remarks with the Navy's customary wish: “I
wish you fair winds and following seas.”
Earlier in the day, Gates attended a capping ceremony aboard
the USS Trayer, a destroyer simulator on Naval Stations
Great Lakes. The ceremony officially marks the completion of
a recruit's training and is the final step before
The secretary's visit to Naval Station Great Lakes concluded
his two-day trip, which included a town hall meeting at Fort
Drum, N.Y., and an address to the Economic Club of Chicago
yesterday. He returned to Washington today to bid farewell
to Army Secretary Pete Geren who is leaving his post after
two years on the job.
By Samantha L. Quigley|
DOD photo by Air Force Master Sgt. Jerry Morrison
American Forces Press Service
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