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Academy bound | Local students get big send off on way to officer training

Congressman Bob Latta (R) hosted eight students from his district heading to America's service academies.

SWANTON, Ohio — For some it's the end of high school. For those accepted into the service academies, it's the beginning of an exciting new chapter.

On Sunday, local high school and college students accepted into the military academies for this year were recognized in a ceremony at the 180th Fighter Wing in Swanton.

Each was nominated by Congressman for Ohio's 5th District Bob Latta.

"These are the people that are going to be protecting us 24/7," said Congressman Latta.

Latta nominates applicants for consideration of acceptance into the academies. Eight students from Ohio's Fifth Congressional District were recognized, including three to the U.S. Military Academy in New York, three to the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado, and two to the U.S. Naval Academy in Maryland.

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Olivia Achenbach from Perrysburg High School is set to attend the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, where she will major in aerospace engineering. Achenbach is also hoping to join the women's soccer team, and, parents permitting, the skydiving team.

"My interest arose kind of around the pandemic. I just really wanted something bigger than myself. Seeing how bad things could get, I wanted to be a part of fixing that and helping," said Achenbach.

Anthony Wayne student and fellow naval cadet Rory Smith is following his two older brothers to the academy, and says the armed forces are for the people who want to be pushed to be their best.

"It's not for everyone, but if you really are set on that lifestyle that makes sure you're successful, despite how difficult and hard it is, then that can be the place for you, because they're going to make you into who you want to be," said Smith.

Latta says an experience like this is important for students to have before heading to the academy.

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"It's really important for me to make sure that we hold this ceremony to congratulate them, their families, and achievements they're going to have, but also they're right here on a military base that may be their first experience before they go to the academies."

All the cadets are scheduled to report to their academies at the end of June to begin their training.


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