214 Coast Guard Cadets Graduate

By Jeff Saperstone and Jessie Sawyer
|  Wednesday, May 21, 2014  |  Updated 7:14 PM EDT
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More than 200 cadets threw their caps into the air.

Videography and Editing Terry Brennan

More than 200 cadets threw their caps into the air.

More than 200 cadets threw their caps into the air Wednesday afternoon at the Coast Guard Academy in New London.

Graduates heard from Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson.

"You are truly an impressive class of Coast Guard cadets," Johnson said.

It was also the last ceremony for Admiral Robert Papp, Coast Guard commandant, who is retiring next week after 40 years. He swore in the 214 Coast Guard cadets.

"I think for the first time ever in 40 years, as I drove towards the gate of the academy, I didn't get that queasy feeling in my stomach," he said.

The graduates will now move onto their assignments after four challenging years at the academy.

"Very excited. Very anxious to get out there and just do the job," graduate Charles Totten, of Jacksonville, Florida, said.

Cole Gingrich, of Altoona, Pennsylvania, said that graduating is "indescribable." His uncle graduated from the academy in 1989.

"It always reminds you of the great things that going on here," Larry White, his uncle, said.

The graduates were left with words from their class motto – "honor the past, guard the future."

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