Students from Paulding and Bartow counties appointed to attend U.S. military academies received a send-off dinner from District 14 U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ranger, recently.
Graves hosted the event in Calhoun to honor students from Georgia's 14th Congressional District appointed to attend U.S. military academies.
Bartow and Paulding appointees nominated by Graves included:
• Andy Ledbetter II, a Paulding resident who was home-schooled and attended Northwestern Preparatory School in California. He was appointed to the U.S. Air Force Academy.
• Gavin Nix of Cartersville, a Woodland High School graduate who was appointed to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.
• Justin Waldman, a North Paulding High School graduate appointed to the U.S. Air Force Academy. He also was nominated by U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga.
• Malachi Wright, a Paulding County High School graduate appointed to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.
Others included Ryan Craft of Catoosa County, U.S. Naval Academy; Emma Kate Smith of Gordon County and Colton Woods of Polk County, both U.S. Air Force Academy; and John Buckley of Henry County, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.
The Merchant Marine Academy is the only institution that allows an appointment by any member of Congress regardless of the student's place of residence, a spokesman said.
The students heard from some 2019 service academy graduates who had previously received nominations from Graves during the event at the UGA Extension Building in Calhoun June 6.
Graves said, “Our servicemen and women are truly some of the best this nation has to offer.
"Especially as we honor the 75th anniversary of D-Day, it’s fitting that these young men and women are taking their first steps to join an elite group who have dedicated their lives in service of our country.
"It’s an honor to have nominated these outstanding students to our service academies and I know they have bright and proud futures ahead of them,” Graves said.
As a member of Congress, Graves is responsible for nominating students to the military academies.
Graves uses an independent board of military advisors to review applications from 14th District students and determine who receives a nomination, a news release stated.
Each military academy then chooses which students it will appoint.
Students do not pay for tuition, housing, food, books and other college costs but must commit to active duty military service as an officer following graduation.