University Center — College of the Canyons hosted Congressman Buck McKeon’s annual Service Academy Night. Held at the Dr. Diane Van Hook University Center, the event was attended by at least 200 local high school students and parents, consisting primarily of the class of 2015.
The Service Academy Night is an informational seminar designed to educate future applicants to the American Service Academies, how to apply, interview, and receive a nomination from their Congressperson in order to be accepted into schools as West Point and Annapolis.
Congressmen and women are entitled by law, to nominate a selected number of students in their districts they believe have excelled in education, athletics, and community service to the nation’s service academies. These students apply to the academies of their choice as well as to their congressperson in order to receive their nomination.
The job of academies such as West Point and Annapolis, are to develop officers with the character and capability to be war fighters and to lead war fighters in service to our nation. As such, academies like West Point only accept the best and the brightest into their ranks. In order to be considered, you must be a US Citizen, between the ages of 17 and 22 years old, be unmarried and not pregnant, and have good moral character.
Once those basic qualifications have been met, applicants have to complete paperwork, medical evaluations, interviews, and essays in order to be accepted to an academy. Oftentimes, academies will not accept a person until they have a nomination from a sitting member of congress. In most cases, if the applicant meets the standards of the academy, they will be conditionally accepted as long as they can get the needed nomination.
Congressman McKeon’s event on September 9th was apolitical, meaning that it was solely about the nomination process and allowing the students and parents to meet with local representatives of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marine academies.
“The Congressman does not involve himself in the process until the very end,” said McKeon’s Special Aid of Military Affairs JD Kennedy, “He [Congressman McKeon] only meets the nominees at a special brunch before they leave, shakes their hands, and wishes them well.”
Even though McKeon is not involved with the selection process, the board he has set up comprises of local residents who have graduated from the academies themselves. They are actively participating members of the community, some of whom are still active duty military.
If you would like to know more about the service academies, see below for links to their websites and Congressman McKeon’s web page.