U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill has announced that her office has begun the process for nominating young Missourians to the U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy for an appointment to the Class of 2021.

“It’s an honor to be able to help students who want to dedicate themselves in service to our great nation and strengthening its military,” said McCaskill, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “Missouri’s best and brightest compete for spots at these prestigious institutions and uphold our state’s patriotic tradition of military service.”

Eligible Missourians can apply on the Senator’s website, https://www.mccaskill.senate.gov/services/students/academy.

Candidates for a Congressional nomination must be a resident of Missouri and a U.S. citizen; at least 17 years old and not past his or her 23rd birthday by July 1 of the year of admission; unmarried with no children or dependents; and able to meet high leadership, academic, physical and medical standards. For the Merchant Marine Academy, the upper age limit is 25. The Coast Guard Academy does not require a Congressional nomination.

McCaskill had the honor of nominating 16 Missourians from across the state who accepted appointments to one of the four academies for the Class of 2020.

To ensure that nominations to the Service Academies are based on merit and every applicant has a fair chance to compete for available openings, McCaskill uses a Service Academy Recommendation Committee made up of community leaders from around Missouri. The committee reviews each application and recommends candidates for nomination. Applicants must complete the online questionnaire and submit all other application items to McCaskill’s St. Louis district office on or before Oct. 3, 2016, to be considered for a nomination.