Coast Guard celebrates Memorial Day with public recruit graduation

WILDWOOD, N.J. – Loved ones and community members packed the Wildwoods Convention Center for a special Coast Guard recruit graduation opened to the public in honor of Memorial Day Friday at 11 a.m.

The staff of Training Center Cape May partnered with the Wildwoods Convention Center to open graduation to the public in order to honor the sacrifices of U.S. servicemembers this Memorial Day Weekend. More than 800 loved ones and community members packed into the Convention Center Hall to welcome 65 new servicemembers into the U.S. Armed Forces.

“As the Nation’s longest continuous maritime armed service, we are thankful for this opportunity to remember the sacrifices of service men and women everywhere,” said U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Bill Kelly, commanding officer of Training Center Cape May. “The Coast Guard will be serving the community throughout weekend by ensuring security and safety on the water or by helping to remember the many sacrifices of our Nation’s Armed Forces.”

The new Coast Guardsmen from Recruit Company Oscar 186 will have five days of leave and will report to their new duty stations in less than two weeks. Many of the recruits will be conducting frontline Coast Guard operations within days of reporting to their duty station including national defense, homeland security, law enforcement and search and rescue.

“While we hope and pray each night that they will never have to make the ultimate sacrifice, we know this Memorial Day that the Seaman and Fireman of Oscar Company are prepared to protect and defend our way of life,” said Kelly during graduation. “We can rest assured that they are prepared to save and shield the citizens of this great Nation if called upon to do so.”

The off-base graduation marks the beginning of more than 15 Memorial Day events staff and recruits from Training Center Cape May will be participating in over the holiday weekend. More than 200 recruits and staff from Training Center Cape May will lead the lowering of the National Ensign at The Wildwoods Convention Center in Wildwood Friday at 8:15 p.m. The ceremony will include a gun salute, a bugler, and a color guard. The event will culminate in a flyover by a Coast Guard aircraft from Air Station Atlantic City, N.J.

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