For Immediate Release
DHS Press Office
NEW LONDON, Conn. — Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson visited the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn. to attend the memorial service for U.S. Coast Guard Cadets Soso Makaridze and Besarion Gorjoladze who passed away in March.
Both Georgian nationals, Cadets Makaridze and Gorjoladze were studying at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy as part of a continuing initiative to foster goodwill and positive global relations between the United States and Georgia. Cadet Makaridze, a senior at the Academy, had recently been accepted into the Aeronautical Engineering graduate program at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom and hoped to attend flight school and later to serve in the Georgian Air Force. Gorjoladze was a sophomore at the Academy, who was poised to start the leadership phase of his cadet career this upcoming summer. The two passed away as a result of injuries sustained during an automobile accident on March 7, 2015.
Secretary Johnson along with U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Paul Zukunft joined the Georgia Deputy Chief of Mission Giorgi Khelashvili in expressing their condolences to the families of Cadets Makaridze and Gorjoladze. Their attendance symbolizes both the diplomatic significance of these partnerships, and the personal investment of both nations’ leadership in ensuring the success of this international program of student exchanges. Fellow Georgian cadets from the Military Academy at West Point were also present to express their condolences.
Like other U.S. military academies, the Coast Guard Academy places a strong emphasis on building international partnerships with allied militaries. Foreign cadets who attend the Academy help develop individual relationships that will span the course of their careers and also serve as ambassadors in establishing close links between U.S. and foreign Coast Guards.
While the Department mourns the passing of these two members of our U.S. Coast Guard family, we are grateful for the part they played in strengthening our friendship with the Democratic Republic of Georgia. In their honor, the U.S. Coast Guard will continue this proven tradition of sustaining bilateral ties of international cooperation, law enforcement, and deterrence.
# # #