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Calling it “refreshing to do something positive,’’ Sen. Tommy Tuberville hosted a luncheon to recognize the 12 Alabama students who accepted their appointments to a U.S. service academy.

“I’m proud of you,’’ he told those students in attendance. “Enjoy it – at least part of it. You won’t enjoy it all, but it will be worth it.

“I know what a college education costs. And this is the best education in the world.”

Elected in 2020, this is Tuberville’s first true class of appointees to be nominated solely by his staff to the U.S. Military Academies.

Tuberville earlier announced 12 Alabama students who accepted their appointments to a U.S. service academy. They are:

James L. Perkins, Jr.  Pinson, attending USNA

Kaili Williams, Columbiana, attending USNA

Jacob Fairbairn, Birmingham, attending US Merchant Marine Academy

Wesley Yeatman, Birmingham, attending US Military Academy (West Point)

Ian Howell, Northport, attending USMA (West Point)

Walker Zapp, Auburn, attending US Air Force Academy

Joseph Shearer, Heflin, attending U.S. Air Force Academy

Gavin Comulada, Huntsville, attending U.S. Military Academy

Cooper Shafer, Tuscaloosa, attending U.S. Military Academy

James Latona, Alabaster, attending U.S. Naval Academy

Clark Turner, Mobile, attending U.S. Naval Academy

Robert “Will Stallworth,” Hoover, attending U.S. Naval Academy

In addition, Henry Rasmussen of St. James School in Montgomery received The Falcon Foundation scholarship to the Air Force Academy prep school.

“There are so many negative things going on – this is positive,’’ Tuberville said at the lunch, held at Protective Stadium in Birmingham. “This is one of those things where I get to make the phone call and tell each one they’ve been accepted, and to hear (the excitement) in their voice is special."

Tuberville is a member of the Armed Services Committee and has made the military and veterans’ affairs a priority in his work in the Senate.

“We’ve got the best military in the world, but it can be better,’’ Tuberville said. “We don’t need to teach CRT (Critical Race Theory) in the military. What do you do that for? It’s the wrong place for that. Our focus should be on what the military does. It’s not a social experiment. Its purpose is to protect the United States of America.

“A strong military is a deterrent to aggression around the world. … China has emerged as our biggest enemy. We’re transitioning from focusing on the Middle East to the Pacific theatre. We’ve got to be focused on that.”

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email ray.melick@1819news.com

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