Social distancing makes for surreal SEAL graduation ceremony

Coronavirus
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SAN DIEGO — Typically the moment a Navy SEAL gets their “Trident” — the pin representing the integrity and discipline they are meant to display as they serve on the elite force — they are surrounded by family, and they’re welcome to embrace loved ones and fellow service members in celebration.

That wasn’t the case for the class of SEALs who graduated at the Naval Special Warfare Center in Coronado on April 15, in the midst of a global pandemic. Instead, the graduation ceremony featured only students and staff, with the graduates standing six feet apart and with their faces covered by cloth masks.

Photos shared with FOX 5 by the U.S. Navy gave a firsthand look at the surreal scene.

While the pandemic put a damper on the celebration, Navy leadership said it remained a moment of great honor for the new SEALs.

“The ‘Trident’ is a symbol of honor, integrity and discipline that embodies the ethos Navy SEALs follow in their service to the American people,” a Navy spokesman said. “(Commanding Officer Cmdr. Keith) Marinics told the graduates to never forget the importance of always acting with humility, professionalism and integrity.”

The Navy said the altered ceremony was part of their proactive approach to preventing the spread of coronavirus on base.

The San Diego-based aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt had an outbreak of COVID-19 that left hundreds of sailors sick and one dead. The political fallout from the virus’ spread around the carrier included the firing of its popular commanding officer and the resignation of the acting Navy secretary.

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