In this May 22, 2019 photo Briana Love, center, and fellow underclassmen prepare to drill at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y. The class graduating on Saturday, May 25, will include 223 women, the largest number since the first female cadets graduated in 1980. It will include 117 African-Americans, more than double the number from 2013, and the largest number of Hispanics, 88. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Mike Pence calls West Point grads the 'best of the best'

May 25, 2019 - 11:28 am

WEST POINT, N.Y. (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence has told the graduating class of the U.S. Military Academy that they are "the best of the best."

Pence told the West Point graduates Saturday that as they accept "the mantle of leadership" their commander in chief, President Donald Trump, "will always have your back."

More than 980 cadets became U.S. Army second lieutenants in the ceremony at West Point's football stadium.

The class was the most diverse in West Point's history.

The 2019 cadets included 34 black women and 223 women, both all-time highs since the first female cadets graduated in 1980. The academy graduated its 5,000th woman Saturday.

The 110 African Americans who graduated were double the number from 2013.

This was Pence's second visit to West Point and his first as commencement speaker.

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