U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford has officially nominated Cabot residents Zach Launius and Kason Kimbrell to the U.S. Naval Academy.

Launius, 18, the son of John and Christy Launius, attends Cabot High School, where he maintains a 4.06 grade point average. Kimbrell, 18, the son of Dr. and Mrs. Tom Kimbrell, also attends Cabot High School and maintains a 3.35 GPA.

Both men have served as athletic team captains at Cabot High School and on numerous school and awards groups. They received their nominations following a rigorous application process and panel interview at Congressman Crawford’s office in Jonesboro.

"These Academies select candidates from among the best and brightest of our future leaders," Crawford said. "Zach and Kason displayed skills necessary to succeed not only as midshipmen in the U.S. Naval Academy, but also in the U.S. Armed Forces, and more importantly, life."

Launius said he’s held an interest in the U.S. Naval Academy since a young age. He added that determination would help carry him.

"I believe firmly in ‘sacrifice today, reward tomorrow,’" Launius said.

Meanwhile, Kimbrell described his desire to attend a military service academy as more of a process than a decision.

"I grew up in a family of educators, and I watched as they gave tirelessly to their staff and students," Kimbrell said. "As I consider my future, I know I want to give as they did, but in a service career that will help ensure the safety and freedom of our country."

Crawford said U.S. service academies play a vital role in training the next generation of this country’s leaders. And while the Congressman said he never attended any such academy, he added that his experiences as the son of a U.S. Air Force officer and an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technician in the U.S. Army made him aware of these academies’ importance.

"I believe Arkansas’ First District should have its best possible representation at these academies," he said. "Zach and Kason’s credentials — as well as letters of support from respected school and state leaders — speak highly of these young men. Arkansas’ First District and our country would be well-served by their appointments."

The U.S. Naval Academy, located in Annapolis, Md., annually graduates about 1,000 midshipmen.

While not guaranteeing an appointment, getting accepted into the U.S. Naval Academy requires a congressional nomination. The Academy will make its final appointment decisions in the coming months.