The All Service Academies Ball marked its 15th anniversary Saturday, continuing the tradition of celebrating the cadets and midshipmen who are home for the holidays. Joined by their dates, family members and friends, the affair at the Westin Convention Center Hotel doubled as a benefit for the Wounded Warriors Project, an organization close to the hearts of many of the guests. The promising youth who will serve as tomorrow's military leaders have pledged their lives to guard our freedom, and the challenges that lie ahead for them were unspoken but still very much present during an evening that honored their commitment.
The cadets and midshipmen were introduced individually as they entered the ballroom under the swords of the color guard from the 171st Air Refueling Wing. Welcome remarks and a dinner of green tea salmon, London broil and roast chicken were followed by dancing to DJ Craig Lawrence.
This year the Air Force Academy hosted the ball and chief meteorologist Mike Harvey of WTAE (who was in the Coast Guard for four years) served as emcee, introducing retired Air Force Col. Robert Cahalan as the guest speaker. The evening was chaired by Dana Matachak (with son Dalton Hayes, USAFA '16) and co-chaired by Kathleen Foley, who came with husband Jeffrey and sons Jordan, a 2012 Naval Academy graduate, and Grant, a sophomore at the Merchant Marine Academy.
Among those saluting the cadets or helping on the committee of parents were Dave and Gail Carl, John and Connie Atkinson, Kevin and Karin Sanguigni, Joel and Mia Bernard, the Rev. David and Theresa Henderson, Andy and Sue Cecala, Nick and Lisa Rullo, Andy and Gwen Wisniewski, Mike and Emilee Langer, Jim and Susan Staresinic and Marie Pfau. Also on hand were U.S. Reps. Mike Kelly and Mike Doyle with his wife, Susan.