Ben Berg
Courtesy photo/Commons file
Ben Berg

Berg nominated for U.S. service academies

BUHS senior, among those 19 applicants from Vermont, hopes to attend Air Force Academy

Brattleboro Union High School senior Ben Berg has received a congressional nomination to the Air Force Academy.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Sen. Peter Welch, D-Vt., and Rep. Becca Balint, D-Vt. recognized 19 young Vermonters who are being nominated to be members of the class of 2028 at U.S. service academies.

The nominees were recognized at a reception at the Vermont State House on Dec. 30.

Applicants to the academies - the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, the United States Naval Academy, the United States Air Force Academy, the United States Coast Guard Academy, and the United States Merchant Marine Academy - must receive nominations as part of their application requirements.

While there are other political nomination sources that applicants may qualify for, a congressional nomination is the most common.

Berg has been involved in his school community throughout his high school career, serving on the Windham Southeast Regional School Board and helping establish his school's Student Advisory Council. A licensed pilot, Berg is passionate about flying, community, and service.

He says his interest in the military academies, especially the Air Force Academy, "combines a few areas of my life I'm very passionate about," including "people," "understanding how the world works," "how we interact as a society," and "what morals we live by."

His interest has already driven him to be involved in school governance and to be interested in what others think.

"I try to be aware and open-minded and understand perspectives other than my own," says Berg. "Finding that purpose is something I feel I need to do."

He says that he is excited that "the service academies start with leadership and character; being part of a team; functioning at the highest level in any environment, despite any restriction, consequence, or obstacle; and accomplishing something for the world."

Berg was impressed and encouraged by the statehouse meeting.

"That was huge, an amazing ceremony," he says. "When you're sitting in a room with the Vermont federal delegation and 19 seniors who have put so much effort into themselves and country and feel drawn to serve their country, it's incredibly inspiring."

"I knew I could trust and rely on them and have confidence in their judgment," Berg says. "I admire my fellow nominees so much."

Berg says he was also "really impressed with our representatives for taking the time to have a 45-minute roundtable discussion with us and show they care, and their admiration for the work ethic and motivations of the nominees."

He says the elected officials pointed out that some students who are nominated will not earn admission to the Academy of their choice.

"We all accept that," Berg says, adding that the Vermont delegation urged students who don't make it not to lose their passion and motivation.

At the roundtable, says Berg, each nominee was asked about aspirations. He was again impressed that when someone spoke, all the nominees turned their swivel chairs toward the speaker to "fully observe and address and be attentive to whoever was speaking."

Of his fellow nominees, Berg says, "we're all excited to serve, and we're all trying to do good for this world."

Berg, whose nomination also includes the U.S. Naval Academy, has applied to only the Air Force Academy. He says he might hear back about his admission there anytime, from now through mid-April.

Meanwhile, he's appreciating his last few months at BUHS and reflecting back over his years there.

"Senior year is going great," he says. "I'm staying busy with calculus and physics, but also involved in the community and meeting with different leadership groups. I'm just really appreciative, thankful, and excited."

Vermont high school students interested in learning more about attending a U.S. Service Academy can visit

This News item by Virginia Ray was written for The Commons.

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