(a) The authorized strength of the Brigade of Midshipmen (determined for any year as of the day before the last day of the academic year) is 4,400 or such lower number as may be prescribed by the Secretary of the Navy under subsection (h). Subject to that limitation, midshipmen are selected as follows:
(1) 65 selected in order of merit as established by competitive examination from the children of members of the armed forces who were killed in action or died of, or have a service-connected disability rated at not less than 100 per centum resulting from, wounds or injuries received or diseases contracted in, or preexisting injury or disease aggravated by, active service, children of members who are in a “missing status” as defined in section 551(2) of title 37, and children of civilian employees who are in “missing status” as defined in section 5561(5) of title 5. The determination of the Department of Veterans Affairs as to service connection of the cause of death or disability, and the percentage at which the disability is rated, is binding upon the Secretary of the Navy.
(b) In addition there may be appointed each year at the Academy midshipmen as follows:
(1) one hundred selected by the President from the children of members of an armed force who—
(A) are on active duty (other than for training) and who have served continuously on active duty for at least eight years;
(B) are, or who died while they were, retired with pay or granted retired or retainer pay;
(C) are serving as members of reserve components and are credited with at least eight years of service computed under section 12733 of this title; or
(D) would be, or who died while they would have been, entitled to retired pay under chapter 1223 of this title except for not having attained 60 years of age;
however, a person who is eligible for selection under paragraph (1) of subsection (a) may not be selected under this paragraph.