Service Academy Nominations Open for First District Students

For more than 200 years, a group of institutions have honed the skills of our country’s finest young men and women. These institutions, known as the U.S. service academies, have produced scores of astronauts, businesspersons, legislators, Olympians, and professional athletes. Three U.S. presidents have called them their alma maters as well as multiple Nobel Prize recipients. Service academy graduates have seen great success in the public eye, but they’ve also helped to preserve our freedoms. In total, more than 150 graduates have received two of our nation’s highest service honors, known as the Medal of Honor and the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal, with many of these men and women and countless others risking or giving their all in the line of duty.

The youngest U.S. service academy, the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., celebrated its 60th anniversary in April. The oldest academy, the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., celebrated 212 years of operations in March. Meanwhile, the other three academies, the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y., were founded chronologically in between. Combined, these academies offer unique and first-rate educational opportunities to more than 15,000 students at a time, graduating about 3,400 of them annually.

Four of the five service academies, including the U.S. Military, Naval, Air Force, and Merchant Marine academies, require a congressional or vice-presidential nomination to gain admission. As a U.S. representative, I may have at any one time as many as five nominees at each of these four academies. A congressional nomination certainly will not guarantee a final appointment, but I may make as many as 10 nominations for each service academy vacancy.

I encourage all First District students, who are between the ages of 17 and 22, U.S. citizens, unmarried, not pregnant, and have no legal obligation to support children or other dependents, to contact Sherrie Mitchell in my Jonesboro office at 870-203-0540 or to inquire about securing a nomination well before the November 1 deadline.

Because I believe the First District should have its best possible representation at these academies, I will make my nominations on a strictly competitive basis, much like how the academies factor in academic records, extracurricular and athletic activities, physical aptitude, test scores, leadership ability, and medical qualifications before making an appointment.

Lastly, I ask that each student remembers the high honor associated with serving their country before seeking a nomination through my office. Abigail Adams, the first Second Lady and the second First Lady of the United States, once asked, “If we do not lay out ourselves in the service of mankind, whom should we serve?”

I’m eager to see how and whom the young men and women of our First District will serve.

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