ANNAPOLIS, Md. (NNS) -- Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, visited the U.S. Naval Academy to speak with Midshipmen and Academy leadership about ethics and professionalism March 26.
Dempsey spoke with Midshipmen from the Class of 2014 in Alumni Hall about the importance of having a class and personal identity and building on that throughout their careers.
"Do not forget that what we do for our nation will require sacrifice," said Dempsey. "I can't tell you when or where, but it will require sacrifice. Remind yourself that when the sacrifice can become very personal and painful, it's the time to regenerate yourself and become better than you ever thought you could be."
During his speech, Dempsey asked Midshipmen to reflect on what they have in their heart and urged them to consider what they are going to take with them as they graduate the Academy in May.
"Until you know what is in your heart, you really won't know what it means to lead," said Dempsey. "You execute missions with your head, but you lead with your heart. Think about what is in your heart before you graduate."
While visiting, Dempsey took time to answer a few questions from Midshipmen in the Class of 2016 during an ethics class in Luce Hall. He also addressed officers and Academy leadership in Mahan Hall.
"You own the responsibility to establish a climate in the Sailors and Marines that you lead," said Dempsey. "We need junior leaders, non-commissioned officers and officers to establish a climate where everyone is created equal."
If you establish a climate of dignity and respect then your leaders can put in place the policies and initiatives that allow for progression, said Dempsey.
To conclude, Dempsey offered some advice to the Class of 2014.
"You don't put the uniform of the Armed Forces of the United States of America on unless you trust the man and woman to your left and right, the one in front and the one in the back" said Dempsey. "What I need you to do as an ensign, or as a lieutenant, is master the basics. Be the best that you can be, and don't settle for mediocrity."
Let history find you, said Dempsey. You just be ready for when it finds you.
To hear more from the SECDEF and Chairman about ethics watch their interview with the Pentagon Channel here.
For more news from U.S. Naval Academy, visit www.navy.mil/local/usna/.