U.S. President Barack Obama hugs John Sydney McCain IV, son of Sen. John McCain, R-AZ, during the U.S. Naval Academy Graduation and Commissioning Ceremonies at Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland on May 22, 2009. (UPI Photo/Roger L. Wollenberg) | License Photo
ANNAPOLIS, Md., May 22 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama pledged Friday to U.S. Naval Academy graduates to send them into harm's way only when "absolutely necessary."
"(This) is the promise I make to you," Obama said during the academy's commencement at Annapolis, Md. "It's a promise that as long as I am your commander in chief, I will only send you into harm's way when it is absolutely necessary, and with the strategy and the well-defined goals, the equipment and the support that you need to get the job done."
He said his administration would work to ensure the Navy can meet the challenges of today as well as tomorrow.
Military families wouldn't be forgotten, either, Obama said.
"(Know) that we will be with you every step of the way, increasing your pay, increasing child care, and helping families deal with the stress and separation of war," he said.
Veterans, too, will be taken care of, the president said, "with a modern VA that keeps faith with our veterans and wounded warriors, with a 21st century GI Bill that gives our veterans and their families the chance to live out their dreams."
He urged the graduates to live the Navy's values and virtues of the Navy.
"Emulate the deeds of those who have gone before you," he said. "Do this and you will not only distinguish yourselves as sailors and Marines -- you will be in the lead as we write the next proud chapter in the story of this country that we love."