By Daniel S. Marciniak and Ezra J. Bolender, U.S. Naval War College Public Affairs
NEWPORT, R.I. (NNS) -- One thousand, six hundred and six joint military, civilian and international students graduated from U.S. Naval War College (NWC), June 19, during a graduation ceremony held at Dewey Field, Naval Station Newport.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert attended the ceremony to recognize graduates for their achievements.
"It's all about relationships," Greenert told the students. "And in my view, we have the best relationship-building institution right here. This is our intellectual capitol. This place is interservice, interagency and international, and has a long history of cross pollination."
Greenert went on to stress the relationships of today will be key to dealing with the problems of tomorrow.
"We have 63 different nations here, 64 if you include the United States, forging bonds," he said. "Nurture the friendships, and during the crises, you'll have somebody you can depend on."
The graduating class included 316 U.S. resident students from the Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Army, Coast Guard and civilian government agencies and 118 international naval officers.
Two of these students were Lt. Cmdr. Daniel Post and Air Force Lt. Col. Cameron Pringle, each graduating with the highest distinction in their class.
"I had always wanted to come here ever since I heard about the NWC and what programs were offered," said Post, distinguished honor graduate of the College of Naval Command and Staff (CNCS). "It's a great way to earn a master's degree and be in an environment with peers from different services."
Pringle agreed, adding that he now sees the role of joint and multinational cooperation more clearly.
"The number one thing I can take away from my time here is an appreciation for the bigger picture and the role of other services and other nations in contributing to our national defense," said Pringle, distinguished honor graduate of the College of Naval Warfare (CNW).
"I will miss the day-to-day ability to compare ideas with officers of such a high caliber. I really want to thank the professors here for providing a world-class learning environment," added Pringle.
Additionally, 1,172 students graduated by completing coursework through the College of Distance Education (CDE). CDE is composed of faculty-led evening seminars, a web-enabled program, and a CD-ROM based correspondence program.
The top graduate of this year's CDE class was Marine Capt. George M. Lamb, who completed his studies through the Fleet Seminar Program in Washington, D.C. He was also the recipient of the McGinnis Family Award for outstanding performance in nonresident education, which encompasses academic, professional and community service achievement.
"It's [CDE] a great opportunity for young officers and for mid-grade officers to structure some of the experiences they've had with academic rigor, and gain a better understanding of national security," said Lamb. "It's great to have some different viewpoints to challenge us.
"I have gained an understanding of decision making and how national security decision making occurs, both at the top level and at the combat and command level. I feel like I understand the history, and that's absolutely crucial in going forward in a military career."
U.S. students in residence attended either the CNW or CNCS. International officers attended either the Naval Command College or Naval Staff College.
Depending on the program, U.S. students earned either a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies, accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, or NWC diploma. Military graduates also earned Joint Professional Military Education credit from the Department of Defense.