Coast Guard Academy graduates include son of former Grand Haven commander

Mark Brooky • May 23, 2017 at 5:00 PM

This is the time of year for commencements, high school and college. But let us not forget our military academies, especially the Coast Guard Academy.

President Donald Trump addressed the Class of 2017 at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, during the 136th Commencement on May 17.

Nearly 200 graduating cadets listened to a tribute from their commander-in-chief.

“Americans will place their trust in your leadership, just as they have trusted in generations of Coast Guard men and women, with respect for your skill, with awe at your courage, and with the knowledge that you will always be ready,” the president told them. “You are ‘Always Ready.’”

“Family, friends, professors, alumni and cadets alike enjoyed a warm, sunny day as they supported the new ensigns, wishing them well as they embark on their chosen professions,” Lt. jg Alexis Davis wrote in the official U.S. Coast Guard blog. “Despite the protest outside the gates, the atmosphere at the academy was both celebratory and hopeful. The new ensigns will be embarking on careers such as aviation, deck watch officer, engineering, prevention, response and, for the first time, two cadets were selected to go to cyber command.”

The class’ distinguished honor graduate, which is the equivalent of a valedictorian, was Christopher Robert Popiel. His father is Capt. Anthony Popiel, who served as commander of Group Grand Haven from 1998 to 2001.

The class included six international students who will be returning to their respective countries in Mexico, the Marshall Islands, Georgia and Honduras, Davis noted. There were 56 who graduated with high honors and 45 with honors. There was one Fulbright scholar, Patrick Ledzian, who will be traveling to the Netherlands to begin working on his master’s degree in the fall.

Read the complete blog post: “Welcome to the fleet Coast Guard Academy Class of 2017.”

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