NEPTUNE, NJ — Griffin McDermott of Belmar is among 10 students nominated by U.S. Rep. Chris Smith for acceptance to military service academies. The St. Rose High School graduate will be attending the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md., in the fall.

Smith (R-4th District) on June 16 hosted a forum for the future cadets and midshipmen, and their families, as they prepare for four years of school.

“It was hard work that got you here, it will take persistence, commitment, courage and devotion to God and our country to succeed,” Smith told the nominees, presenting each of them with an American flag flown over the U.S. Capitol in their honor.

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“And succeed you will — in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Merchant Marines ... The dream — for some a lifelong dream — now begins,” said Smith, whose district includes Belmar and Lake Como.

The ceremony was attended by Capt. Pierre Fuller, commanding officer of Naval Weapons Station Earle, who shared some insightful anecdotes about military service. “You’ve chosen to serve in our military, and for that I congratulate you and thank you,” he said.

After graduating from St. Rose in 2017, McDermott spent his freshman year attending the University of Maryland, majoring in materials science and engineering, and serving in the Naval Reserves Officers Training Corps as a four-year scholarship recipient.

At St. Rose, McDermott was the parliamentarian of the National Honor Society and served as student council class president in his freshman and sophomore years. He also was captain of the school’s lacrosse team.

He earned the West Point Society of New Jersey Dwight D. Eisenhower Leadership Award and also received a $1,000 scholarship from the Belmar Woman’s Club in his senior year at St. Rose.

McDermott has spent many hours volunteering for the Red Bank Police Department and Challenger Winter Classic Ice Hockey Game, which benefited the USA Warriors wounded veteran ice hockey team and the Brick Stars.

He admires and is following in the footsteps of his uncles, who were all military officers. His brother, Colin, is a member of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Class of 2018.

The other students from the Fourth Congressional District who were nominated by Smith to receive service academy appointments were:

  • U.S. Air Force Academy: Peter Garlisi of Hamilton, Daniel Lisle of Tinton Falls, Pareena Patel of Howell and Quincy Zawadzky of Brielle.
  • U.S. Merchant Marine Academy: Ethan Jaravata of Point Pleasant Beach and Arturo Joseph “AJ” Poznanski of Middletown.
  • U.S. Military Academy: Eric Keosseian of Farmingdale, Francesco La Torre of Jackson and Cameo Mooney of Red Bank.

Acceptance to the service academies is contingent upon receiving a congressional nomination. In Congress, Smith has nominated 1,029 women and men to the service academies, of whom 248 have graduated from or attended the academies.

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