- The Washington Times - Monday, May 18, 2020

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper will give a pre-recorded keynote address during a “virtual” graduation ceremony on Friday at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.

The virtual ceremony will include segments from five in-person swearing-in events at the Academy that began on May 12 and will run through May 20. Several military leaders will offer remarks, including Acting Secretary of the Navy James E. McPherson, Adm. Mike M. Gilday, the Chief of Naval Operations and Gen. David H. Berger, Commandant of the Marine Corps.

Annapolis is the only service academy to have a virtual graduation ceremony as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Vice President Mike Pence gave the keynote address during the April 18 Air Force Academy graduation in Colorado and Pres. Trump will address the graduating cadets at the U.S. Military Academy on June 13. In both events, social distancing and other health steps were taken into account, officials said.

Pentagon officials noted that West Point and the Air Force Academy are located in relatively isolated areas while the U.S. Naval Academy is in an urban setting, within the boundaries of Maryland’s state capital.

The swearing in events at the U.S. Naval Academy are closed to guests - including parents and family members - in order to comply with health and safety requirements in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The ceremony will be streamed at https://watchstadium.com/live/us-naval-academy-graduation/ and an archived video will be available afterwards.

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