Vice President Mike Pence delivered words of encouragement to the class of 2017 at the United States Naval Academy on Friday. He told them to look toward their future, to write a heroic story of service, selflessness, and leadership with their lives, and that President Donald Trump is the best friend the armed forces of the United States will ever have.

“People follow people they trust,” said Pence. He admonished the graduates to cultivate in themselves what he considers to be among the most important qualities of leadership: “humility, orientation to authority, and self-control.”

He told them to consider others more important than themselves and to be servant leaders.

As for the president, Pence said, “President Donald Trump is the best friend the armed forces of the United States will ever have,” promising the graduates that no matter where they serve, Trump will always have their backs.

He said that he and the President pledge to provide the armed forces with the resources they need. “Let me be clear, the era of budget cuts of the armed forces of the United States is over,” said Pence. He mentioned the $54 billion increase in defense spending in the President’s FY2018 budget, noting that a portion is allocated to “rebuild[ing] the Navy with 8 new battle force ships headed for the sea.”

The Vice President stated that President Trump is reaffirming America’s role as leader of the free world.

While we must always work and hope and pray for peace. The best way to ensure peace is for our adversaries and our enemies to know America is prepared to lead and fight and win any contest, any struggle, anywhere on behalf of freedom.

He told the graduates that they will be the “instruments of American policy.”

President Trump is currently on his first trip overseas as president, visiting Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the Vatican. While in Saudi Arabia, Trump pushed for countries to fight against terrorism, mentioning terror 31 times in his speech to Arab leaders.

Pence commented that just yesterday the Navy conducted Freedom of Navigation Operations (FONOPs) in the South China Sea.

The Vice President urged the graduates to “act every day not for self, but for country.”

Pence encouraged the graduates, “if you’re of a mind, have faith that He who planted this miracle of Democracy on these wilderness shores and has seen her through every trial and has seen you through the challenges of the last four years, will never leave you, never forsake you and that no matter where your path may lead, He will always be there to calm the storm and guide you home.”

He concluded, “May God bless you with fair winds and following seas. God bless the Navy and the Marines and God bless the United States of America.”

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