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All Service Academies Ball honors military academy students

| Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012, 8:39 p.m.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Dalton Hayes (left), Air Force Academy Class of 2016, and Grant Foley, Merchant Marine Academy Class of 2016 at the Western Pennsylvania Annual All Service Academies Ball at the Westin, Downtown on Saturday, December 29, 2012. Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Andy & Gwen Wisniewski at the Western Pennsylvania Annual All Service Academies Ball at the Westin, Downtown on Saturday, December 29, 2012. Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Rear Admiral Terry Benedict and his wife, Donna, and Gail & David Carl at the Western Pennsylvania Annual All Service Academies Ball at the Westin, Downtown on Saturday, December 29, 2012. Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Mark Wisniewski (left) and Chase Dwyer, both Merchant Marine Academy Class of 2016, flank Colleen Wilshire (left) and Brandi Baker at the Western Pennsylvania Annual All Service Academies Ball at the Westin, Downtown on Saturday, December 29, 2012. Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Toastmaster Dr. R. Bruce Bickel with William Mengon (right) of Ambridge (USMA Class of 2013) and his date, Christin Folwarczny at the Western Pennsylvania Annual All Service Academies Ball at the Westin, Downtown on Saturday, December 29, 2012. Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
(From left to right) David & Gail Carl with their daughter, Samantha Carl, (USNA Class of 2014) Midshipman 2nd Class, Donna Benedict and her husband, Rear Admiral Terry Benedict, at the Western Pennsylvania Annual All Service Academies Ball at the Westin, Downtown on Saturday, December 29, 2012. Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Macey Demniak and James Garlick, US Army and future cadet at West Point, at the Western Pennsylvania Annual All Service Academies Ball at the Westin, Downtown on Saturday, December 29, 2012. Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
The color guard at the Western Pennsylvania Annual All Service Academies Ball at the Westin, Downtown on Saturday, December 29, 2012. Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review

Military pomp and elegance filled the ballroom on Saturday at the Westin Convention Center hotel, which hosted the 14th annual All Service Academies Ball to honor local midshipmen and cadets studying at the nation's five military academies.

The 26 young men and women who are academy students from Western Pennsylvania looked dignified and excited in their handsome dress military uniforms as they hooked arms with their escorts — either men in tuxedoes or women in fancy gowns — and entered the banquet hall to be introduced onstage, one by one, in a Grand March while patriotic music played.

The students come from the Army's West Point Military Academy, with the formal gray uniforms; the U.S. Air Force Academy, with blue uniforms; and the U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and U.S. Coast Guard Academy, in black uniforms.

Toastmaster Dr. R. Bruce Bickel presented the midshipmen and cadets as the nation's future leaders, and led formal toasts to President Barack Obama and the U.S. armed forces. Rear Adm. Terry Benedict, a 1982 graduate of the Naval Academy, gave a speech over dinner.

Ball chairGail Carl organized the event, and also attended as a proud parent. Her daughter — Midshipman 2nd Class Samantha Carl, 20, a Naval Academy junior — crossed the stage at the ball.

“It's just our way of honoring them and recognizing their choice to serve in the military,” Gail Carl said about the ball. “These kids could have gone anywhere.”

Kellie B. Gormly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at kgormly@tribweb.com or 412-320-7824.

Kate Benz is on vacation.

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