By Kat Riddler, Editor-In-Chief
The ceremony for the 17th annual U.S. Service Academy Nominations was held on April 15 at 10 a.m. in the J.C. Penney Summit Lounge at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. The awards were presented by U.S. Congressman William Lacy Clay.
Congressman Clay said, “We do this annually to recognize the young people from the district who want to serve their country in the military. For me, this is one of the more moving ceremonies because you see all of the promise in these young people, and it just touches you.”
The honor of attending a service academy comes with the obligation and commitment to serve in the military for a minimum of five years upon graduation. Congressman Clay may nominate up to 10 individuals for each vacant academy slot allotted to his district, which encompasses the City of St. Louis and a large portion of St. Louis County.
Eligibility requirements as of July 1 of the year of admission to an academy include being 17 to 23 years old, a U.S. citizen, unmarried, not pregnant, without legal obligation to support children or other dependents, a resident of the 1st Congressional District of Missouri, and able to satisfy the medical, physical, and academic requirements of the academy.
Members of Congress may nominate candidates for appointment to four of the five U.S. service academies: U.S. Military Academy (USMA), West Point, New York; the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA), Annapolis, Maryland; the U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA), Colorado Springs, Colorado; and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA), Kings Point, New York. The fifth service academy, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy (USCGA), New London, Connecticut, does not require a congressional nomination for appointment.
Students can be nominated for more than one academy. Admission requirements differ for each academy, and nominees compete with other applicants for the position. The process opens May 15 the year the student is a junior going into their senior year of high school. The academies then met with applicants in October or November. Academies notified applicants of their admission status in February.
The class of 2017 nominees are Caleb Berry, Carson Berry, Alana Chandler, Dylan Crawford, David Le, Robert Shields, Jr., Katherine Stujenske, Jennifer Thomas, Brendan Farmer, Josiah Goosen, Laryn Grant, Austin LaRue, and Darric Woodley.
Special guests for the ceremony included Lt. Colonel Brian Beveridge, U.S. Air Force Reserve, Commander Michael A. Carnes, retired U.S. Navy, and Chief Master Sergeant Thomas Williams, retired U.S. Air Force.