One of the best parts of my job is nominating young men and women for appointments at one of our nation’s five military service academies each year.
Whether it’s the Air Force Academy, Coast Guard Academy, Merchant Marine Academy, Military Academy (West Point), or the Naval Academy, each U.S. Senator or Representative may have a maximum of five cadets or midshipmen at each service academy charged to his or her office at any one time. A maximum of 10 candidates may be nominated for each vacancy, and I make every effort to have a vacancy at each academy each year.
Getting a nomination – and ultimately an appointment – to one of our service academies is no easy task. The initial eligibility requirements are for candidates to be of good moral character, exhibit leadership skills (athletics, student body, scouting, church, etc.), and have a strong academic record. Each year, I submit to the academy my nomination, and the academy will conduct physical and medical exams. The candidates are then ranked by the academy in order of merit, and the most highly qualified receive an offer of appointment to fill the vacancy. Offers of appointment are usually made in April, prior to the admission to the academy in June or July.
This year, we have had six top-notch candidates from Alabama’s First Congressional District receive nominations to the academy. I couldn’t be more excited for these students.
Hayden Ward, an Augustine Scholar at McGill-Toolen Catholic High School, has received appointments to the Naval Academy, Military Academy, and Air Force Academy. She has accepted her appointment to the United States Air Force Academy Class of 2026. Owen Williams, a graduate of Fairhope High School, has committed to the Coast Guard Academy (the Coast Guard Academy does not take nominations). Another Fairhope High School student, Glenn Patrick, has received a nomination to the Merchant Marine Academy. William Jameson attends St. Paul’s Catholic School and has received nominations to the Air Force Academy and to the Naval Academy.
Clark Turner, a Mobile native and student at UMS-Wright Preparatory School, has received an appointment to the Naval Academy, where he plans to fulfill his lifelong dream of flying F-18s off aircraft carriers. Warren Stephens is a graduate of McGill-Toolen Catholic High School and is currently enrolled at the Georgia Military College, where he is a Naval Academy Foundation Scholar. He is looking forward to becoming an F-18 Super Hornet pilot when he reports to the Class of 2026 of the United States Naval Academy. Christopher Garden currently attends Alma Bryant High School and has received offers from the Air Force Academy and the Military Academy. He has chosen to follow in the footsteps of his brother and attend the Air Force Academy.
Our future is bright with these bright, talented, and capable students. Please join me in congratulating them!
Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He lives in Mobile with his wife Tina.