My thoughts outlined here are meant as a form of encouragement to others as well as a show appreciation for all those who have contributed to this forum and helped my son in his quest. Ten days ago my son received his LOA from the US Merchant Marine Academy with an appointment conditional upon receipt of his CFA, Congressional Nomination, and continued excellence in school. On Thursday, with these contingencies having been met with lightning speed, he received that much coveted Federal Express envelope. With the MMA appointment in hand I couldn't help but reflect on the long journey that got us to this place. My son didn't grow up with boyhood dreams of attending a military academy, but committed mentally late in his junior year of high school. The process began and ended his senior year with a congressional nomination, disqualification by DoDMERB, and better understanding of what it takes to succeed. With great fortitude he immediately began the journey by 1st resolving the medical issue. Next, came the decision as to whether or not to attend college on a scholarship or self-prep a 5th year in high school as a post grad student. He decided with wisdom way beyond his age to do a 5th year where he could fine tune his resume, continue to excell academically, and mentally prepare. Upon submission of a completed application this past November he vowed to chase the dream of attending the MMA until he turned 25 and, if need be, enroll in a maritime college while trying. With great anticipation the letter arrived after Thanksgiving and with my son away at school I couldn't resist the temptation to hold it up to the light. I was in tears and speechless. Not only did he want the MMA, but the MMA now wanted him! The journey was marked with highs and lows, but never the thought of surrender. I want to thank everyone who contributed to this forum because it was an invaluable aid in OUR success. We were silent observers assimilating all the information we could and putting to use the advice people had to offer. We will continue to read this forum and seek advice when needed, but also hope that our experience might put us in a position to offer assistance to the next potential candidate. Thanks to you all !