The United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps is a program to introduce young people to what life is like in the US Navy. There are two groups within the program: the League Cadets for ages 11-13 and the Sea Cadets for ages 14-17. The program is different from unit to unit, but all units hold the same core principles. I chose to join this program because in the future I would like to become a Naval Officer.
A Typical Day
The main part of this program is drill. At my unit, we meet from 9 am to 5 pm. Some other Sea Cadet Units have their drills for two days at a time so they often spend the night on the base. A typical day include classroom time, followed by PT (Physical Training), lunch, more classroom time, drill, and often another activity meant to hone our skills. Drills prepare cadets for drill competitions and for summer and winter camps.
Boot Camp and Advanced Training
The two types of camps are boot camp and advanced training. I recently went to boot camp. My next option would be advanced training, but I am phasing out of the program since I am about to graduate. Boot camp is the program that all of the recruits (new members) must go through for them to be considered officially a cadet. During boot camp, the knowledge we have learned from our home units is reinforced while we are taught even more cool lessons and skills. Boot camp mainly consists of classes, company time, and PT (physical training).
The PT begins every morning at 5 am. We often sleep in our sweat gear so we could go outside to commence exercise immediately. The first day was extremely hard mentally. The ground was cold with frost, and the air hurt my face, so I could barely stop shivering. By the end of the program I was able to persevere and do everything with much less trouble than before. During classroom time, we learn about naval history, knot tying, first aid, and much more. Every day we have between two and three classes in order to learn 14 days worth of knowledge in nine days. These classes were fun and informative. Everything we learned culminated with a large test, which we had to pass to graduate. Finally, company time has many different uses. During the morning we would clean our barracks to prepare for the daily inspection of the area. Our barracks weren’t the only things getting inspected. We ourselves were as well. Everything we wore was inspected— our pants, blouses, covers, ID tags, and boots. The inspection is the most anxiety ridden part of the day for the cadets because none of us wanted to hear the word “unsat” or unsatisfactory for part of our uniform. During company time in the evenings, we often found ourselves chatting and getting to know each other.
Within the program there are various ranks starting from E-1. Advanced training allows you to move up in rank from E-2 to E-3 and eventually E-4, which are officer rankings. After boot camp is completed, you automatically rank up to an E-2 assuming you have finished the BMR test (the large test I mentioned earlier at the end of boot camp). To become an officer, the advanced training you have to go to is POLA, which stands for Petty Officer Leadership Academy. The various other advanced trainings are in fields such as cooking, medicine, aviation. The program provides the cadets with a lot of opportunities to experiment with various fields once they have graduated boot camp.
The United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps is an excellent way for anyone who is interested in a military career to learn about the military in a more hands on way if their high school does not offer JROTC program. The program will allow you to blossom into a better young adult, and I endorse it heavily.