MOAA The Academy Send-Off Dinner


By: Megan Way | Photos by: Su Phelps
Military Officer’s Association of America’s (MOAA) gives the 2019 Southern Nevadan Service Academy appointees a big congratulations for their selection to one of the Service Academies at their annual 2019 Academy Send-Off Dinner. The dinner was held on the anniversary of D-day, evening of June 6th. Almost five hundred people gathered Palace Station Hotel & Casino. The crowd of attendees included the 17 Service Academy Appointees (five couldn’t attend), their family, Service Academy graduates, Service Academy Parents Club members and veterans who have been educated at the service academies, and/or have served in the US military forces.
Since the dinner fell on the anniversary of D-day, a slide show tribute to D-day was played throughout social hour. Whilst dinner began to be served, Colonel Swannie Swenson, U.S.A. (Ret), President of Southern Nevada Chapter, MOAA, introduced the guest speaker tonight, Major Ellie Morgan, USAF (Air Force Academy Class of 2006) and first female quest speaker on the MOAA stage. After congratulating the appointees for their hard work and reminding the parents of the opportunities their children will gain, Morgan described her experience of going into the U.S. Air Force Academy herself. Two weeks out of high school summer of 2002, Morgan went to basic training, where she said they “give you some sweet haircuts for free”. Going through basic training, she notes some key parts of basic training and the Service Academy, “Cooperate to graduate because no one person is gonna get through basic training themselves, gonna graduate the service academy themselves, or get through any kind of service program without leaning on another person.”
After dinner, the candidates lined up to receive their Congressional certificate from Congressional Representatives Alanna Simpson, from Senator Cortez Masto’s office, Brenden Vargas from Senator Jack Rosen’s office, Terry Care from Congresswoman Titus’s Office, Samantha Bivins from Congressman’s Steve Horsford’s office and Andrew Holbart from Congresswoman Susie Lee’s office. Paul Womack President, Service Academy Parents Club of Las Vegas then introduced the candidates one by one, Hesten Hogan, Amy Kang, Jada Okaikoi, Taelyn Roberts-Oliver, Mebeli Becerra, Brendan Bentley, Jordan Clakely, Alfred K. III Flowers, Peter Hoskins, Ryly Paysons, Jonathan Rogers, Maya Thorson, Jalen Franklin, Joseph Domingo, Alexandria Ceballos, Woodrow Orris and Antonio Sanchez.