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U.S. Congressman Cliff Bentz congratulates military service academy nominees

U.S. Congressman Cliff Bentz spoke to his nominees and their families to congratulate them. (KTVL/ Tiffany Olin){p}{/p}
U.S. Congressman Cliff Bentz spoke to his nominees and their families to congratulate them. (KTVL/ Tiffany Olin)

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Earlier today, U.S. Congressman Cliff Bentz (R-Oregon) hosted a lunch to congratulate around half of the 15 students he nominated that were accepted to the Military Academy. The lunch was held at the Black Bear Diner in Medford.

Members of Congress may nominate candidates for appointment to four of the five United States service academies: U.S. Military Academy in West Point, NY; the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD; the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO; and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY. The fifth service academy, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, New London, CT, does not require a congressional nomination for appointment.

For the 2022-2023 school year, Bentz nominated a total of 15 students from all over Oregon’s second congressional district – including seven from Southern Oregon.

Bentz said the number of students from Southern Oregon that ended up getting accepted into the programs says a lot about the teachers and parents in the region.

“Somebody’s doing a good job down here teaching and also raising children of this quality. It’s a real compliment to this community,” Bentz said. “I'm absolutely sure that if we check around, there’s a lot of great kids in this community so it’s reflected in how many ended up in this group.”

Bentz’s nominations followed the Service Academy Nomination Board, which reviews the applicants’ academic performance, extracurricular involvement and character.

Bentz’s Service Academy Nomination Board included Retired U.S. Marine Corps Colonel Dave Dotterrer, Retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Jeff Smith, Retired U.S. Navy Commander John Howard, Oregon Air National Guard Lieutenant Colonel Shana Stroh and Oregon Army National Guard Lieutenant Colonel Travis Lee.

“These kids stood out both academically, but more importantly they stood out because of their leadership,” said Chairman of the Nomination Board and retired Colonel Dave Dotterrer.

The students went around the room sharing their goals and the academies they were nominated for; some students were nominated for multiple service academies.

“It was very obvious as we talked to these kids that this was not something that popped into their heads at the last minute," Dotterrer said. "This was something that they’d been thinking about for a long time, they’d been preparing themselves for it and it showed up in their performance in front of the board."

Bentz shared that he wanted to host the lunch so that parents and students could ask the board anything that was on their minds from their kids leaving the nest to the nitty-gritty of job selection.

Those that attend a service academy, commit themselves to serve in the military for a minimum of five years after they graduate.

While the nomination is a big accomplishment, the respective academy will decide the students’ final admission into the service programs in the spring of 2022.

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