Georgia youth explore opportunities at 2024 Academy Day

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

The 94th Airlift Wing hosted Georgia Academy Day on April 27, 2024, at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, drawing a crowd of more than 500 high school students and their families.

The event, hosted by U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff and led by the Georgia Congressional Delegation, featured local military leaders and representatives from the five U.S. service academies.

Ossoff, addressing the attendees, highlighted their patriotic spirit, saying, "You're here because you have service in your hearts, you're patriots, and you want to lead and achieve the best that you can."

He expressed gratitude and pride in the young attendees' interest in serving and leading in national defense.

Also reflecting on his admiration for the patriotic spirit of the young individuals in attendance, Sen. Warnock highlighted the importance of understanding the responsibilities accompanying military service and the current global climate.

He remarked, "You will be the ones to command the young people of the future who look like you do today; you will be the ones to lead them." He further emphasized, "It is a sobering reminder of how fragile freedom really is," underscoring his perspective on the rising global tensions and the pivotal role of the military in safeguarding democracy.

Rep. Hank Johnson added his perspective, celebrating the shared values among his colleagues on Capitol Hill: "We may disagree on a lot of things right now in our country, but one thing we don't disagree on is that this is the greatest country in the world," he said. "We've been accustomed to freedom for so long that it's a part of our nature. And we have to defend it."

While representatives from all branches shared their unique experiences and opportunities, the U.S. Air Force Academy stood out for its specialized focus on developing leaders in the aerial and space domains.

2nd Lt. Ella Mangles, a 2023 graduate and admissions advisor for the U.S. Air Force Academy, spoke about the academy's strengths, particularly in preparing graduates for significant Air Force and Space Force roles.

"Our graduates receive a commission as an officer in the Air Force or the Space Force and are guaranteed a position for five years or more in one of 40 career fields, ranging from pilot and maintenance officer to finance and engineering," Mangles explained.

Attendees of the event had the chance to engage with representatives from various service academies, the congressional delegation, Civil Air Patrol, and ROTC units, discussing commissioning opportunities and exploring static displays from the USAF, Army National Guard, USCG, and CAP.

In his closing remarks, Senator Ossoff emphasized that the purpose of the Georgia Service Academy Day was to ensure students had all the information they needed to make decisions about potential military service opportunities.

"The purpose of the day is to equip and empower the young people here, who are considering this opportunity, with all of the information you need to make decisions about your futures, potential futures in military service, whether through the academies or otherwise."

To attend a U.S. service academy, aspiring cadets and midshipmen must first navigate an intricate application process, including obtaining a nomination from an elected official such as a state senator or representative. This requirement is unique to the service academies and does not apply to other higher education institutions. Candidates interested in applying to a service academy are encouraged to begin preparations early, ideally in their junior year of high school, to ensure they meet the rigorous academic, physical and leadership standards set by the academies​.

To learn more about the overall service academy application process, visit

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