Papp’s speech to the service’s future leaders focused on the oath of office each cadet will take when four years of academy life ends and their careers begin in earnest as commissioned Coast Guard officers.
Papp told the Corps “your oath is sacred, your commission is timeless” while noting that the wording of his commission is virtually identical to the 1791 commission of Hopley Yeaton — the first Coast Guard Officer.
Cadet 1st Class Meghan Zehringer, chosen by academy leaders to represent the Corps of Cadets as regimental commander for the spring semester, was inspired by Papp’s message.
“With graduation approaching and my class about to take the oath to serve in the Coast Guard as junior officers, I found Admiral Papp’s address to be very eye opening and informative. I have never truly looked at the oath and the fact that he was able to analyze and explain each part of it increased not only my awareness of the importance of understanding the words that I pledge to live by but also that of the entire Corps of Cadets, the [Officer Candidate School] students, and all others present [at the speech].”
As the most junior members at the academy, 4th class cadets gained perspective on their chosen profession from the commandant’s words.
“I was humbled by Admiral Papp’s presence and how someone of his ranking could take the time to talk to the corps. He even stayed after for anyone who wanted to personally talk with him. His speech on commitment to the oath really made me appreciate what I am doing and gave me something to look forward to after my time at the Academy.” – Cadet 4th Class Devin Fellman
“Admiral Papp’s speech provoked a sense of unpretentious kinship between his self and the corps, blending perfectly with his message that we are all shipmates. I believe that this sense of kinship has inspired the corps to a greater trust of and willingness to follow the Commandant of the Coast Guard.” – Cadet 4th Class Laura Carts
“I stayed behind after and talked a little bit with the admiral, and what was awesome was the fact that he was able to relate to what I was going through as a 4th class cadet. He asked me how the school year was going and some goals I was going to set for myself. He provided words of encouragement and support. Also, even though the admiral is in such a high position of power, he doesn’t let that change his attitude or how he acts. He honestly acts like he is one of our shipmates. In other words, he is very down to earth and an approachable guy.” – Cadet 4th Class John Ramirez