Menendez Honors NJ West Point Cadet Killed in Accident, 19 Young NJans Appointed to US Military Service Academies

Menendez Honors NJ West Point Cadet Killed in Accident, 19 Young NJans Appointed to US Military Service Academies

Future military leaders from Atlantic, Bergen, Essex, Gloucester, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, and Passaic Counties


NEWARK, N.J. – While addressing future military academy leaders and their families, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez today held a moment of silence for the young New Jerseyan, Cadet Christopher James “CJ” Morgan, who died in a tragic accident yesterday at West Point while en route to a training near the campus.

“Just to recognize that while this is an extraordinary achievement, there’s always risk involved,” Sen. Menendez said. “Yesterday, unfortunately, we had a tragedy at West Point – a cadet who happens to be, I found out, from New Jersey is the one who lost his life. I’d ask you to join me in a moment of silence to recognize him.”

The senator also honored 19 bright, young New Jerseyans, whom he nominated and were all accepted this year into the four U.S. military service academies. The nominees were joined by their family, friends, and the academy screeners who recommended them for appointment. The ceremony took place in the senator’s Newark office.

“These academies accept only the best and brightest of this generation and transform them into future leaders of the armed forces that protect and preserve our nation and its freedoms,” Sen. Menendez said. “I am so fortunate to have met these extraordinary young New Jerseyans, and I commend their willingness to serve our country. They represent the best of New Jersey and will demonstrate that in their future endeavors. I wish them luck as they embark on this new adventure.”


Sen. Menendez’s nominees for the service academies were chosen for their excellent academic records, leadership potential and strong character, among other criteria:

U.S. Military Academy at West Point

  • Robert Buecker: Allentown, Notre Dame High School
  • James Cuber: Manchester, Manchester Township High School
  • Samuel Eden: Mountain Lakes, Mountain Lakes High School
  • James Fenn IV: Lincroft, Middletown High School South
  • Vanessa Lettman: West Orange, West Orange High School *
  • Corin Mellone: Oakland, Seton Home Study School *
  • Jeidy Reyes: Paterson, Paterson Charter School for Science and Technology
  • Kaitlyn Yoo: Closter, Northern Valley Regional High School Demarest

U.S. Naval Academy

  • Alexandra Harrison: Longport, Marymount School
  • Ayush Puri: Deptford, Deptford High School (NAPS Prep)

U.S. Air Force Academy

  • William Mockel: Fair Lawn, Fair Lawn High School *
  • Kayla Seo: Englewood Cliffs, Dwight Morrow Academies

U.S. Merchant Marine Academy

  • James Cruz: Belleville, Saint Peter’s Preparatory School
  • Patrick Dalton: Glen Rock, Glen Rock High School
  • Burt McCarrol: Emerson, Emerson Junior Senior High School *
  • Ryan Novakowski: Hillsdale, Pascack Valley High School
  • Lucas Pla Silsby: Montclair, Montclair High School
  • Christopher Quinn: Toms River, Toms River High School
  • Grace Rose: Totowa, Passaic Valley Regional High School