Congressman Griffith’s Weekly E-Newsletter 4.19.24

Academy Day

Last weekend, I hosted my annual Service Academy Day at the New River Community College in Dublin.


I enjoy these events as they provide great opportunities for high school students, parents and educators to learn about Service Academies, Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), and other programs.


I take pride in allowing students in Southwest Virginia to have access to opportunities to admirably pursue a career in military service.


The Ninth District is home to many patriotic men and women, and we also have a rich tradition of service.


A major piece of our history involves the D-Day invasion of Normandy during World War II. When Company A stormed Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944, there were 35 soldiers from Bedford. By the end of the campaign, 23 would be dead, making Bedford, Virginia, the town with the highest per capita deaths.


Bedford commemorates this sacrifice by true Virginia heroes with its National D-Day Memorial.


Bedford is Virginia’s only WWII Heritage City.


I am honored that it is in the Ninth District.


Given our rich heritage, I host Service Academy Days to tap into the patriotic spirit of our youth. Families and children travel from across the Ninth District to attend and get more information. Some even attend from other states.


Invited guests typically include representatives from the U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Virginia Military Institute, Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets, Virginia Tech ROTC, and Emory & Henry ROTC.


The representatives from these programs consist of current and former cadets, admissions officers and ROTC directors and students who actively engage with interested individuals and discuss their options for a college military experience.


As a Congressman, I am permitted to fill five vacancies over a four-year period at each Academy, with the exception of U.S. Merchant Marine.


While U.S. Merchant Marine is not a popular selection for many in Southwest Virginia, I can fill ten vacancies each year there.


Once the U.S. Merchant Marine program is completed, the participant becomes eligible for commission into any branch of the U.S. military, provided that they are in good standing.


ROTC programs are another option. They are great at providing leadership and physical training exercises for students while they continue their academic studies at their university or college.


Some historians trace the roots of ROTC programs to the Morrill Act of 1862, also known as the Land Grant Act of 1862. This was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln.


At the time, there was a stark decline in the numbers of trained engineers present in American colleges and universities.


The Land Grant Act laid the groundwork for a national system of state universities. The bill granted 30,000 acres of public land to each state for the establishment of institutions of scientific learning. The land grant institutions reciprocated by offering military tactics courses.


Virginia Tech maintains a strong record in this space. Their campus features a War Memorial Court, dedicated to the eight VT alumni who are medal of honor recipients. Close to the War Memorial Chapel is a marble cenotaph with their names etched into it.


VT sponsors a ROTC program, as well as VT Corps of Cadets.


The mission of the VT Corps of Cadets program is to nurture and create great leaders. The four-year program draws upon exercises that target teamwork, character and problem-solving skills. This is designed to develop leadership qualities among our brave servicemen and women and shape future leaders within our military.


The VT Corps of Cadets prides itself in giving back to the community. In the 2022-2023 academic school year, cadets collected over 2,000 hours of community service.



I was proud to hear that my alma mater, Emory & Henry College, relaunched their own Army ROTC program in 2018 after nearly a century.


As of 2018, Emory & Henry became one of only five private institutions in Virginia to offer an ROTC program. 


Another Virginia private institution that comes to my event is VMI.


VMI has an extensive recruitment network. VMI excels in showcasing their opportunities and highlighting their illustrious history of producing exceptional military talents, the likes of whom include former U.S. Secretary of Defense, George C. Marshall, Jr.


If you or someone you know is interested in applying to attend one of our academies, please contact Josh Hess at or (540) 381-5671.


If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office.  You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671.  To reach my office via email, please visit my website at  Also on my website is the latest material from my office, including information on votes recently taken on the floor of the House of Representatives.



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