Sea Cadets Share Experiences, Enthusiasm with Expo Attendees
By EVAMARIE SOCHA, Seapower Special Correspondent
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Brenton Corsano, 15, and Mason Robey, 14, were getting schooled in a lesson of adult life for which their Sea Cadet training likely didn’t prepare them: the trade show.
While contractors and naval personnel buzzed about the Navy League’s 2017 Sea-Air-Space Exposition that began April 3, the teens answered questions, discussed their plans for the future and made a case for the U.S. Naval Sea Cadets Corps (NSCC) program, of which both are members.
Petty Officer 2nd Class PO2 Corsano and Seaman Robey, along with Corsano’s dad, Scott, commanding officer of the NSCC’s Pentagon Division based in Dahlgren, Va., represented the program, of which nearly 14,000 cadets took part in 2016. There are nearly 400 units throughout 46 states plus Guam and Puerto Rico.
Congress chartered the Naval Sea Cadets in 1962, and the group focuses on teaching about the seagoing service to children age 10 to 18. The cadets learn basic military requirements and are introduced to the rigors of the service, including a boot camp, as well as the ideals upheld by the U.S. sea services.
Most cadets take correspondence courses — about 8,100 cadets last year — and 825 senior cadets served at national training events. Further military service isn't required, but among last year’s cadets, about 150 said they wanted to attend military academies and another 125 wanted to do Reserve Officer Training Corps in college. More than 370 cadets intended to enlist in the military.
Those who do go on to military careers usually enter the services at an advanced rank, Scott Corsano said, because they’ve already learned the basics about what it takes to serve in the military.
While many people were lured to the Sea Cadets’ booth by their show swag, a yellow rubber duck with a Sailor’s hat that went quickly, others also had questions about the program and their own children’s interest. Jesse Shaffer of the Department of the Navy quizzed the boys on being cadets, and thought her own young son would be curious about the program.
Both young men said they’ve always had an interest in the military, particularly combat, and hope to parlay what they’ve learned through their cadet training into law enforcement careers someday. The elder Corsano said cadets can focus on many career outlets, from culinary school to seamanship, even into music an STEM courses. “It’s an optimal program,” he said.