BY D’ARCY PATRICK EGAN
Young boys and girls who are anxious for adventure and possibly a career in the U.S. Navy can get a head start by joining the Port Clinton Unit of the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps, which made an appearance this past weekend at the Catawba Island Boat Show.
The Sea Cadet Corps has training and classroom sessions at Camp Perry, working with the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Coast Guard and the 200th Red Horse Squadron of the U.S. Air National Guard, which is stationed at Camp Perry, a long-established National Guard Training Center.
“We accept boys and girls from 10 to 13 years of age, and young women and men who are 14 years old through graduation from high school,” said Lt. Commander Deborah Marcum. “The mission of the U.S. Navy Sea Cadet Corps is to build leaders of character by imbuing in our cadets the highest ideals of honor, commitment and service.”
It is a way for young people to experience military life in a safe environment, while not being obligated to join the military. It is training, said Marcum, that will benefit cadets for the rest of their lives, whether they join the U.S. Navy or head off to college or learn a trade.
The classroom work is quite extensive, ranging from cyber security to STEM courses, first aid and CPR.
“We take cadets out on the water, teach them basic navigation skills and show them how marine engines work,” said Marcum. “We have the Coast Guard teams perform man overboard drills for them, teach navigation and a wide range of basic naval skills.”
The first summer entails boot camp, joining cadets from around the region and the country, said Marcum. Physical training and team building are a big part of cadet training, but classes are extensively varied, she said.
“Whatever a cadet is interested in, there is a class for it,” said Marcum, “from culinary school to photojournalism, marine biology, medical school, seamanship and even aviation. We’ve taken cadets to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio to experience flying.”
There are 19 cadets in the Port Clinton Unit of the Sea Cadet Corps, and they wear uniforms, have a color guard and are part of other ceremonial events.
The cadets meet regularly in winter for classroom instruction and in summer for on-water exercises.
“The women and men who become cadets also often become long-time friends, keeping in touch and sharing their school interests,” said Marcum. “Being a cadet puts them on common ground, having a spirit of adventure while maintaining a measure of discipline.”