Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02)

This week I am in Afghanistan meeting with our troops and military leaders on the front lines. I feel that it is imperative that Members of Congress go to Afghanistan and Iraq to evaluate the situation personally. Right after I took office, I was one of two Members of Congress to witness Iraq’s first free elections and have been back several times. Freedom and democracy are on the line, not just for their countries, but for ours as well. Every time I get a chance to visit with the troops, I am encouraged by their dedication and patriotism and reassured that we have the greatest military the world has ever known.

Service to God, country and people are the most honorable accomplishments and contributions that a human being can make in life. The United States Military offers patriotic citizens the opportunity to serve their country by protecting their freedom and territory. I took this opportunity years ago and proudly served the United States Air Force Reserves as an enlisted airman in the C-130 Unit at Houston’s Ellington Field Air Force Base.

As summer comes to an end and we approach another school year, young people and their parents are making decisions about the future. One of the greatest responsibilities I have as your Congressman is the opportunity to offer nominations to the best and brightest young people for the chance to attend a service academy for the Army, Navy, Air Force and the Merchant Marine.

The military would not be what it is today without the officers and leadership that lead it. Texas is known for our overwhelming desire to serve our country and that is evidence every time that I have been in Iraq. You can always spot the Texas troops with their “Don’t Mess with Texas” stickers and Texas flags. In the tradition of Colonel James Fannin, the only West Pont Graduate in the Texas Revolution, young men and women continue to answer the call.

Each branch of the United States Armed Services has their own academy where they mold students into the officers that lead our nation’s troops in the fight for liberty. Each year, the academies seek out the nation’s top youth to attend these prestigious institutions.

The 2nd Congressional District currently has more cadets enrolled at service academies than any other in our area. My Service Academy Board is comprised of a cross-section of citizens in the district. It has included graduates from West Point, a Colonel, a former Congressman, educators, business owners and other community leaders. Each person serving on this board understands the importance of their position and is honored to meet our area’s finest young men and women.

I encourage all students and parents to take the time to look into the opportunities the Service Academies offer. Several times a year, my staff holds an open house with representatives from each of the academies. Next month, we will be hosting another one of these meetings at Lee College in Baytown on Saturday, September 13, 2007 at 10am. The meetings are centrally located in the district and open to all high school juniors and seniors residing in the 2nd Congressional District.

The deadline for submitting a completed application packet for the 2009-2010 school year is November 1, 2008.  All required documents must be submitted, without exception, by this deadline. Candidates must be unmarried U.S. citizens without dependents and meet the academic criteria laid out by the academies. The application, along with a comprehensive explanation of the requirements can be found on my website,

Candidates meeting the criteria are given the opportunity to interview with my Service Academy Board. The board not only looks at each applicant’s academic and public service accomplishments, but also for qualities like leadership, physical fitness and an iron sense of duty.

I want to enlist all parents, educators and community leaders to encourage young talent to submit an application for consideration in the 2009 nominations process. If you know someone who is inclined towards service and honor, please direct them to my congressional office. I will be happy to accommodate them on a journey that could lead to a coveted spot in the chain of command for the most respected and best trained military in the world.

And that’s just the way it is.