Service Academy Nominations

The Nomination Process

    To be considered for an appointment to a service academy, an applicant must meet the eligibility requirements established by law and be nominated from an authorized source.  As a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, I may nominate applicants who legally reside within the boundaries of the Tenth Congressional District of North Carolina.


Who Is Eligible?

    Students must meet the following eligibility requirements as of July 1 of the year of admission to a service academy:

1.      Must be at least 17 years old, but not have passed the 23rd birthday.

2.      Must be a United States citizen.

3.      Must be unmarried, not pregnant, and have no legal obligation to support children or other dependents.


Applying To My Office For A Nomination

    Students desiring a congressional nomination may contact my Hickory District Office to request an application any time after March 1st of the spring semester during the junior year of high school.  The application deadline is October 1st of students’ senior year in high school.  Please note that students must also complete an application process with the academy/ies of choice. 


Service Academies

    There are five service academies: the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA), the United States Naval Academy (USNA), the United States Military Academy at West Point (USMA), the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA), and the United States Coast Guard Academy (USCGA).  Nominations are required for all the academies except for the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, to which appointments are made on the basis of an annual nationwide competition.  Information for all the service academies is available online.


U.S. Air Force Academy:

U.S. Naval Academy:

U.S. Military Academy at West Point:

U.S. Merchant Marine Academy:

U.S. Coast Guard Academy:  (does not require a nomination)


Other Authorized Nomination Sources

    Students should apply for a nomination to all sources for which they are qualified.

1.      Both United States Senators from the applicant's state (find your senators here:

2.      The Vice President of the United States.  More information here:

3.      JROTC Commanders of an Honor Unit with Distinction. Contact your JROTC unit commander for more information.


For more information about how to apply for the following nominations, contact the service academy/ies in which you are interested.

1.      The President of the United States.  This category is reserved for children of career military personnel. To qualify, the parent must meet one of the following criteria:  be on active duty and have served continuously on active duty for at least eight years; have retired with pay or have been granted retired or retainer pay; children of reservists may also be eligible (see Section 12733 Title 10 U.S.C for details); have died after being retired with pay or being granted retired or retainer pay; or for adopted children, proceedings must have begun before the child's 15th birthday

2.      Children of Deceased or Disabled Veterans.  The child of a deceased or disabled member of the Armed Forces is eligible if the parent was killed or 100 percent disabled by wounds or injuries received or diseases contracted while in active service or from a pre-existing injury or disease aggravated by active service.

3.      Children of Military or Civilian Personnel in Missing Status. The child of a parent who is in "missing status" is eligible if the parent is a member of the armed services or a civilian employee in active government service who is officially determined to be absent in a status of missing; missing in action; interred in a foreign country; captured, beleaguered, or besieged by a hostile force; or detained in a foreign country against his or her will.

4.      Children of Medal of Honor Recipients.  The children of Medal of Honor recipients from any branch of the armed services may apply under this category.

5.       Honor Military And Naval Schools.  Any school designated by the Departments of the Army and Navy as an honor school with distinction may nominate five candidates from among its honor graduates.  The eligible schools have applications for students.

6.      Active Duty enlisted personnel or Reservists wishing to enter one of the academies, please follow your chain of command protocol.


How Many Nominations Can Congressman McHenry Give?

    For the USAFA, USNA and the USMA, each Representative and Senator is permitted to have five persons charged to his or her quota at each of the academies at any one time (except for the USCGA, which does not require a nomination).  For the USMMA each Representative and Senator may nominate ten candidates each year to compete for admission.


Method of Nomination

    There are three methods of nominating, and I use the competitive method. For each vacancy, ten nominations may be made on a strictly competitive basis. The competitive method provides that the nominees compete among themselves with the final appointment determined by the admissions authorities at the academies.  They take into consideration a nominee's academic record, extracurricular and athletic activities, physical aptitude, ACT and/or SAT scores, leadership experience, and medical qualifications. Such facets of an applicant's record are also considered during the nomination selection process.  Applicants will not be offered an appointment if they do not meet the physical requirements of the academies unless awarded a medical waiver.


    Nominations and appointments are highly competitive.  Applicants should apply to every source for which they are eligible and to all academies in which they have a real interest. An individual may be nominated by more than one nominating authority and/or to more than one Academy.