Vice President Joe Biden on Saturday praised West Point class president Eugene “E.J.” Coleman for coming out gay.

Biden told the United States Military Academy's class of 2016 that the country's armed forces are strengthened by greater diversity.

“Having men and women together in the battlefield is an incredible asset, particularly when they're asked to lead teams in parts of the world with fundamentally different expectations and norms,” Biden told the class at its graduation ceremony at Michie Stadium.

Biden singled out Coleman, saying that under the military's former “don't ask, don't tell” policy, the cadet would not have been allowed to serve.

“E.J. would have been discharged from the Army, and we would have lost an incredible talent,” the vice president said. “Thanks for your courage, EJ. And I expect we're going to hear big things from you, pal.”