ANNAPOLIS, MD (WUSA9)--The U.S. Naval Academy graduated and commissioned 1,047 men and women on Friday at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis.
Among the grads is 22-year-old Michaela Bilotta. "Mikey," as she likes to be called, is from Georgetown by way of Bethesda and Chevy Chase.
"There are a lot of ways to give back but this was the one that was right for me," says Ensign Bilotta. "I think it's about finding your place and the place that works for you. And I fell in love with this school and what it stands for."
Ever since Bilotta was a little girl, around 7, she says she knew she wanted to give back to her country.
"Growing up we moved around a lot and we lived overseas. And I think we have a lot to be thankful for. And I wanted to have some way to show my thanks for that."
Bilotta didn't know exactly how she was going to give back; but, in the back of her mind she remembered how proud her Godfather, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, was of the military academy.
"My Godfather graduated from here in 1978. And just hearing about the friends he still keeps in touch with. It's just such a close knit group.
"Plus I like the discipline of the Academy. And I liked the scheduled atmosphere. And I liked that it was on a routine. And it was structured. That structure worked for me.
"I think being able to graduate and knowing that I am prepared to go out in a leadership position. And lead other people and serve my country. That sounds cheesey but its important to me. I'm really glad to have been a part of that family for 4 years."
Bilotta says she is committed for the long haul to the U.S. Navy. More than the mandatory 5 year commitment of active duty. In a few months she will be leaving for Panama City, Florida where she will go to dive school. Then it's onto learning to be an explosive ordinance disposal technician. One of 14 future EOD's in the graduating class of 2013.