A senior at St. Dominic High School, Austin Merz, of Wentzville, has been notified of his selection to receive official appointment to the United States Air Force Academy as a member of the Class of 2017.
Merz will be joining a very select group of the nation’s finest young people to take on this challenging and rewarding step towards becoming a professional Air Force officer.
Academy appointment is both a lengthy and highly-selective process which requires at least one Congressional nomination before being considered by the USAFA Cadet Admissions Board. Merz solicited nominations from Missouri Senators Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt, as well as now-former State Representative Todd Akin and Vice President Joe Biden.
Following a battery of physical and medical evaluations as well as successful completion of interviews with St. Louis-based USAFA Admissions Liaison Officer staff, the Wentzville native was honored to receive two Congressional nominations from Senator McCaskill and Representative Akin in December of 2012.
Only about 1,200 appointments are awarded from a pool of over 12,000 highly competitive applicants.
Even though news of the board’s decision was not expected until April, Merz was selected for appointment in an early round of evaluations conducted by the Academy Admissions Board which concluded March 11.
Missouri 3rd District Congressman Blaine Luektemeyer placed a congratulatory call to Austin upon his appointment.
A small surprise reception for close friends and immediate family was held at the St. Dominic High School campus on Monday afternoon.
Formal presentation and recognition of Austin’s accomplishment will take place at an Honors Ceremony on the evening of Thursday, May 9, in the Fallon Family Performing Arts Center at St. Dominic High School in O’Fallon.
Merz has earned a rare opportunity to participate in one of this country’s finest officer training programs. This program boasts an equivalent to a scholarship valued at $414,000. A member of St. Patrick Parish in Wentzville, Merz plans to major in Aerospace Engineering.
As a result of attending the Fighting Falcons Football Camp in June of 2012, Austin will also be a member of the USAFA Fighting Falcons Football team, which competes at the NCAA Division 1 level.
Austin is the son of former Bowling Green residents Kelly Niemeyer Merz and Chris Merz, both currently of Wentzville. Austin has one brother, Evan, a sophomore at Missouri University of Science & Technology, who currently resides in St. Louis to complete an eight-month Anheuser-Busch internship.
Grandparents are Gerald and Sandra Merz of Bowling Green; and the late Victor and Rose Ann Niemeyer. Paternal aunts and uncles are Mike and Mary Rulen of St. Louis, Dan Merz of Washington D.C., Todd and Susan Niemeyer of O’Fallon and Mike and Colleen Merz of St. Peters. Maternal aunts and uncles are Stan and Vickie King of Atlanta, Ga., Eric and Vickie Niemeyer, Rhonda Niemeyer, Jack and Cathy Bibb, and Tim and Monica Niemeyer, all of Bowling Green. Numerous cousins and other relatives live in Pike, Lincoln, St. Charles and St. Louis counties as well as in Atlanta, Ga.
Austin will graduate with academic leadership honors from St. Dominic High School on May 15 and will be welcomed to the Cadet Wing of the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on June 27.