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Accepting academy nomination applications

By By Jo Bonner
One of my greatest privileges as a member of Congress is to nominate qualified young men and women from Alabama's First District to our United States Service Academies. Each year, I am so pleased at the number of young men and women throughout south Alabama who are interested in attending a service academy.
To receive an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, the U.S. Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, or the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at King's Point, it is necessary to have a nomination. The application process for the U.S. Coast Guard Academy at New London is slightly different and does not require a nomination from my office.
For those south Alabama students interested in attending a service academy, it is never too soon to begin the nomination process. One thing is certain-gaining admission to one of the five academies is not easy.
I also encourage students to apply with Alabama's two U.S. senators for a nomination, Senator Richard Shelby and Senator Jeff Sessions. Additionally, students who have a parent in active military are also eligible to apply to the president's and vice president's offices for a nomination.
Students interested in receiving a nomination should contact my office to receive an application packet that includes details of the requirements for obtaining a nomination and general information about the academies.
By law, I am permitted to have up to five constituents from the First District at each academy at any given time. In late December, I will review all information in the completed files and select the candidates to nominate. I nominate ten nominees for each vacancy to each academy. Once nominations are made, the selection process begins.
In addition to the basic age requirements, candidates for admission must also display significant degrees of academic achievement (displayed by high school transcripts as well as SAT and/or ACT scores); have demonstrated leadership in school, church, or community activities; be of good moral character; and successfully complete a medical review and physical aptitude examination.
Each of these factors is carefully considered by the academies when making their final evaluations to choose those candidates most qualified for the demands of military academies and service as military officers.
Nominees will receive notification of their selection for an appointment from January through May.
If you are not selected by a service academy, there is always next year. Anyone between the ages of 17 and 22 on the proposed date of entry may apply for a nomination as long as they are not married or supporting children. It is important to note that academies view an extra year of maturity favorably.
Each of the military academies does an excellent job of preparing students for a challenging future by providing rigorous academic and athletic demands. It takes a special person to withstand the program, and if you think you qualify for admission, I encourage you to apply early.
I invite all interested juniors and seniors to my annual Academy Night on Monday, October 2 from 7:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. at St. Paul's Episcopal School. This informative program will be held in the Dr. Monte L. Moorer Theatre located at 161 Dogwood Lane in Mobile.
Academy night emphasizes the educational opportunities available at the distinguished United States Service Academies and provides information on the requirements and procedures for seeking a congressional nomination. Representatives from each of the academies will give a short presentation on their respective institutions.
Our office looks forward to working with any interested students and their families toward a nomination to one of the five academies. For more information, you should contact Brooks Chew in my Baldwin County office at 251-943-2073. Additionally, information is available on my website at http://bonner.house.gov.
My staff and I work for you. If we can ever be of service, do not hesitate to call my office toll free at 1-800-288-8721 or visit my website http://bonner.house.gov.
Jo Bonner is a U.S. congressman. His column appears weekly.