Dobbins ARB hosts '23 Georgia Academy Day

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Matthew Matlock
  • 94th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The 94th Airlift Wing hosted the 2023 Georgia Academy Day at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Ga., on Saturday, April 22. 

The event, sponsored by U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff and attended by bipartisan members of the Georgia congressional delegation and local military leaders, aimed to provide Georgia’s youth with a look into the five U.S. service academies and how to apply.

Looking out over the nearly 700 high school students and family members in attendance, the senator opened the day with encouraging words about military service and spoke to the crowd of young Georgians about their prospective roles as service leaders. 

“We need you,” Sen. Ossoff said, pointing into the crowd. 

“We live in a moment of great instability. Your leadership in the United States armed forces will be essential, should you choose to pursue such a career – deterring America's adversaries, defending our nation, and maintaining peace in the world. And so, I am grateful for your interest and inspired by your presence here today.”

Col. Carl Magnusson, Commander of the 94th AW, acknowledged the presence of those currently serving or have served before speaking about the heritage of Dobbins ARB and the impact made by young Georgians, like those in the audience.

 “I do not pretend to know what the next generation will face,” said Magnusson. “I can only say that we will prepare you better than we were prepared. Once we have trained you, we will pass the torch, and it will be your turn to lead them.”

Congressional nominations are a requirement for entry into service academies. Representatives like Georgia's 6th Congressional District Representative, Rich McCormick, nominate the best candidates that apply from within their districts. Having served 20 years as a commissioned officer in both the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Navy, Rep. McCormick praised the future cadets and midshipmen for their interest in contributing to the nation’s defense.

While emphasizing that service academies are for the best and most capable individuals, McCormick said, “Some of you probably don't realize how unique you are.” 

“A lot of the people that want to serve their country, but they don't qualify. Not physically and not mentally. If you want to attend academy, you are already at the pinnacle of leadership. You're at the pinnacle,” he said.

During the event, attendees had the opportunity to meet with service academy representatives, congressional delegation representatives, Civil Air Patrol, and ROTC units to discuss commissioning opportunities. 

Among the service representatives were 2nd Lt. Nicholas Forbes, U.S. Air Force Academy class of 2022 graduate, USAFA academy admissions advisor, and an Atlanta native who received a nomination in 2017 from Rep. John Lewis, 5th Congressional District of Georgia. 
District 5 counts for several major cities within the Atlanta metro, but Forbes says the district falls short of applicants from all demographics yearly. He seems hopeful that things will change in the future.  

“Returning to the Georgia Academy Day as a graduate of the Air Force Academy was truly an honor and a privilege. It was inspiring to see the next generation of cadets and future leaders showing the same wide-eyed interest I felt as a high school student in 2017. Speaking on the stage as an example to these students was incredibly powerful to me,” Forbes said. “To know that I had the opportunity to inspire others brings me great pride in not only my journey thus far but in the future leaders that will come from Georgia.”

After speaking at the podium, Forbes walked amongst the crowd and told prospective cadets and their families about things they may encounter while pursuing a congressional nomination and what to expect at the Air Force Academy. Students and their families could talk one-on-one with service representatives and congressional staff to see which service academy best suits their interests and goals, how to navigate the nomination process, and how to apply. 

For more information on service academy nominations in Georgia, visit or your preferred service academy website directly.