Greetings to all and I am so glad I found this forum. I am former enlisted US Army and have a 17yr old who is a strong candidate for a military academy. He attends an all male private college prep high school, honors classes with 3.6 GPA, active US Sea Cadet, SAT's are TBD but he has a prep tutor and initial scores are solid but not out of this world, community servant, letters in wrestling, really strong letters of recommendation from high ranking enlisted/officers in the Navy, and he feels drawn to Navy or Coast Guard but is open to others. With all this, I do believe the federal academies are still a longshot from all I've researched (we live in a massive district in SoCal with tons of prospects) and we're seriously exploring the military college tract (VMI, Citadel, TAMU, Noriwch, UNG). We all feel that a military college/academy would be much more of an experience for him than ROTC in a public university. I've called all the private/public academies and while are were very cordial, I just can't get a good feel from 3K miles away. None seem to have any presence out west or recruiting effort (and there are some great kids out here that just do not have the visibility into these academies). I've had to hunt, scour, "invite myself" to small alumni lunches, called alumni through referrals, but to arrange visits from VT all the way down to SC is expensive and unrealistic right now. This forum is like a lifeline and I appreciate it so I have two questions - (1) Can someone decipher the terms used in here (ie DS, DM, etc)..sorry to ask but I couldn't find a reference and (2) Anyone know of these academies (VMI, Citadel, Norwich, etc) having rep's anywhere in California (we're in Orange County). I really want my son to continue speaking/exploring and it would helpful if we could make that connection, keep in touch, and then arrange those visits this summer or spring break. Also curious if they recruit for sports as he may be a prospect for their program? Thanks all as we used to say at Fort Jackson..Victory starts here!!