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Bartlett tops area congressmen in service academy admissions

October 30, 2008

To the editor:

My grandson graduated with the Naval Academy Class of 2008 and is now serving as a Marine 2nd lieutenant at Quantico, Va., with a career plan to fly helicopters in the Marine Corps.

For the past three years, I have served on Rep. (Roscoe) Bartlett's Academy Selection Council and have been so impressed with the youth we interviewed. All council members have been senior military officers, asking career questions of 17-year-old high school students.

Our weekend interview sessions take one to two days; we have interviewed as many as 60 applicants in a day. I have been truly impressed with the dedication of these young people, who love their country enough to make a commitment of many years after graduation.

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To illustrate the competition, the following comes from the Naval Academy; the other academies are as hard.

For this class of 10,960 applicants, 3,838 applicants receiving an official nomination (of those, 2,196 qualified scholastically, medically and physically), 1,537 were offered admission and 1,261 admitted. Of every eight candidates, only one is admitted.

This class has diversity. The Class of 2012 has 21 percent (261) women and 28.1 percent(351) minorities (Hispanic (131), African American (83), Asian American (68), Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, and (37) Native American (32).

Midshipmen were admitted from every state in the nation as well as Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands and Guam.

An article in The Washington Post on June 19 ("District Ill Served When Nominations To Service Academies Go Begging") cited cumulative five-year numbers of students entering West Point, the Naval Academy or the Air Force Academy with military academy nominations/acceptances from area members of the U.S. House: Eleanor Norton (DC) - 20, Albert Wynn (MD) - 34, James Moran (VA) - 37, Steny Hoyer (MD) - 49, Chris Van Hollen (MD) - 52, Frank Wolf (VA) - 53, and Tom Davis (VA) - 62, the highest total for the seven.

Since Rep. Bartlett was not mentioned in the article, I asked his staff to collect information for 2007-2012. The results: Merchant Marine Academy - 16, Air Force Academy - 38, Military Academy (West Point) - 39, Naval Academy - 51. That's a total of 144, more than double any of those previously mentioned

This is an impressive story of the youth of our congressional district (with seven Maryland counties).

I commend Rep. Bartlett's strong support of the military in his service as ranking member of the Seapower and Expeditionary Forces Subcommittee, and ongoing support for many veterans issues.

Capt. John Lynn Shanton, USN (Ret)
Ijamsville, Md.

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