In May, the George Washington University Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps class of 2013 took the oath of office in front of the Marine Corps Memorial in Arlington, Virginia. The mid-morning sun rose over the Iwo Jima Memorial, reflecting off the graduates’ brass on their new choker whites. Hundreds of proud parents and friends were in the audience, snapping photographs and cheering when their ensign or second lieutenant received her or his commission. Admiral James G. Stavridis, having recently turned over command of NATO and European Command, was the guest of honor and delivered a sensational address that surely encouraged every graduate.
As I left that day, I wondered if this would be the last “diverse” class to enter the Fleet. Starting next year, the vast majority of all NROTC graduates will be STEM majors (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), with minimal studies in the humanities. To me, the word diversity refers to much more than only gender, race, religion, and sexual preference; it also applies to the intellectual background that each officer brings to the force.