By MICHAEL MELIA, Associated Press
NEW LONDON, Conn. (AP) _ Vice President Joe Biden told graduating cadets Wednesday at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy that the nation will increasingly rely on the service for missions including more remote Arctic operations, port security and support of other U.S. military branches in securing maritime shipping around the world.
With the gray Thames River as his backdrop, Biden told the 227 cadets at the academy’s 132nd commencement that far beyond search and rescue missions, the service works closely with other branches of the armed forces in a way many Americans do not realize.
“This is not your father’s Coast Guard,” Biden said. “Your job is only getting more complicated.”
The Coast Guard Academy, the smallest of the five federal service academies, has about 940 cadets in its four-year program. They graduate as ensigns, or junior officers, with a bachelor of science degree and an obligation to serve five years in the U.S. Coast Guard.