Standout Camdenton academic, athletic student awarded appointment to US Merchant Marine Academy

Joyce Miller
newsroom@lakesunonline.com
Eli Griffin.

As graduation approaches, Eli Griffin has plenty to look back on as accomplishments during his high school career. Griffin has risen to the top of his class academically, has been a standout as an athlete on the football field on the track, receiving conference and state honors. 

All the hard work and dedication it takes to excel in high school has come full circle for Griffin.

Congresswoman Vicki Hartzler recently had the honor of notifying Griffin that he has been awarded an appointment to the United States Merchant Marine Academy. If accepted, Griffin will report to the academy in Kings Port, New York in July where he will become a member of the class of 2025. 

“One of the greatest honors I have as a Member of Congress is to nominate young leaders to our prestigious U.S. Service Academies. It is even more rewarding when I am able to inform them that their hard work has resulted in receiving an offer of appointment to one of the Academies,” said Hartzler. “I was so happy to contact Eli to share the great news that his desire to attend the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy is being realized. I am so proud of Eli and grateful he has chosen to use his vast abilities and talents to serve our country. It is an honor to support him in his efforts.” 

Griffin’s hope to receive an appointment began as a freshman in high school when the application process for him began. An appointment to the academy is a long and challenging process and the acceptance rate is limited. Appointees represent the top 20 percent of high school students from across the nation. 

To be among those is an honor, he said. His desire has been fueled by his brother, a 2018 graduate of Camdenton High School who is attending the United States Coast Guard Academy, his involvement in community service through the United Methodist Church where he attends and a retired Air Force colonel who took an interest in the Griffin boys, sharing his experiences and supporting their goals to serve. 

“Acceptance into any of the United States Service Academies is a great honor, but I am especially proud to be able to say I am appointed to the United States Merchant Marine Academy. USMMA provides Midshipman an excellent academic degree, opportunities to travel the world (spending an entire school year at sea), and the ability to graduate as an officer in any branch of the United States military,” Griffin said. “ For me, the opportunity carries a little more significance since my brother currently attends the United States Coast Guard Academy and this is an opportunity to follow in his footsteps.” 

Griffin said he is excited to showcase the USMMA and is grateful for the important role Congresswoman Hartzler played in nominating him and securing his acceptance. 

“I am beyond honored,” he said. 

In addition to his participation in athletics and the National Honor Society, Griffin was appointed a junior member of American Legion Boys State. He is also a member of Camdenton United Methodist. 

The USMMA is one of five federal service academies across the branches of the military that educates and graduates leaders of exemplary character who are committed to serve the nation. Graduates of the academy can choose to work five years in the United States maritime industry with eight years of service as an officer in any reserve unit of the U.S. Armed Forces. Merchant Marine Officers are vital to both commercial and military transportation in peace and war as 95 percent of the world’s products are transported over water.