Safety First!
by Wayne Spivak
National Press Corps
United States Coast Guard Auxiliary

Success is always a relative term;

But it is R*E*A*L for these Naval Sea Cadets

Success, like life, has its up’s and down’s. Sometimes what we believe to be a down time, isn’t as bad as we think it is, because in our own perspective, our reality changes. But in anyone’s reality, the young men and women Cadets of the Naval Sea Cadet Corps (NSCC) are experiencing success.

This success is then transformed into future successes as they age, and leave the program for college, career, family and ultimately citizens of this great land.

The Naval Sea Cadets Corps (NSCC) is a congressionally chartered program, sponsored by the United States Navy League in conjunction with and the full support of both the Navy and the Coast Guard.

Similar in some respects to the Boy Scouts and their nautical offshoot, the Sea Scouts, The Naval Sea Cadets is run by trained and background checked cadre of volunteer adult leaders. There is a small core of paid professionals (mostly retired military) that help administer this national program. As with the Boy Scouts, there are also international Sea Cadets in many other countries.

Why are the Cadets, successful? It is the direct result of the commitment and compassion of the numerous adult leaders who instill core values in these youngsters. Cadet’s membership starts at age ‘13’ and runs thru 17. The Navy League has a program for younger children, called the Navy League Cadet Corps (NLCC) for 11 to 13 year olds. The NLCC is not congressionally chartered.

In fact, the term success could also apply to the cadre of volunteer adult members.

"When I got here I couldn't get the dingy off the dock, and now I drive a cutter anywhere in the world" – a former NSCC Cadet, now in the USCG.

Why success? Many of the Cadets who move through the program improve in school, and stay out of trouble. They either enter the workforce or college, and for many the military, better prepared to meet the challenges of adulthood, because they are more focused. They have been taught that life has responsibilities, as well as fun, and both need to be placed in the proper perspective, and enjoyed to the fullest.

Excelling at an early age

Many times we hear about a child who is excelling, in school or sports or the arts. Usually the source of this information is a proud and boastful parent. These parents have a right to be, and should be proud of their children.

But there are other parents who don’t talk about their children success at school or sports or the arts. They can talk about these subjects, but their children are excelling in a sphere that brings a new dimension to these other successes. Their children are excelling in real world situations.

Real world situations where their children need to develop and project a higher maturity level, quick thinking, and discipline. These traits are needed to both succeed safely. Safety is a key element, both for themselves, as well as others’ on their real world team.

The Real World in Freeport, Texas

Alexander Marquardt, of Freeport Texas is only 14 years old. However this young man has worked with, and gained the admiration of the crew and commander of a United States Coast Guard Cutter. So much admiration, that the officer-in-charge of the Coast Guard Cutter Manta has given this young man an open invitation to return, year after year.

But I’ve moved too fast. Who is young Mr. Marquardt, and why is he on a Coast Guard Cutter? Alexander is a member of the Naval Sea Cadets.

As part of the NSCC program, Cadets are given the opportunity to take advanced training, or serve on or aboard Navy and Coast Guard assets. An asset can be a ship (or cutter), patrol boat, or an active military/training base. Cadets travel to and from these units at their own expense. All other training costs are borne by the program.

Travel sometimes is expensive, since Cadets have a wide array of choices, which may be wherever the Navy or Coast Guard is in the world. Cadets are also responsible for purchasing their normal complement of uniforms, and personnel gear. Training grants are sometimes available, based on need and local and national funds available.

In the summer of 2002, Mr. Marquardt was given the opportunity to select where he wanted to spend his week of advanced training. He elected to serve his week with the Coast Guard. After applying, he was assigned to the USCG Cutter Manta, an 87’ marine protector class Cutter based in Surfside Beach, Texas, along the Texas Gulf Coast. The Manta has a crew of 10, a 19 foot beam and can sustain a maximum speed of 25 knots.

So here it is, late August, and standing at the pier is a 14 year old, in fatigues not knowing what to expect. He fears quickly subsided as he was integrated into the crew. For this tour of duty, he was assigned to the deck crew section. For the next week and a half, Alexander performed, trained and worked side by side with other Coast Guard Seaman, learning everything that was required, in order to be a member of a USCG deck crew. He stood watches. “Not by myself; but I did everything as if I was the only one standing watch” said Marquardt.

During his stay on the Manta, the Cutter spent three days at sea, during which the crew, including Marquardt performed standard patrols and law enforcement boarding’s. During these boarding, per Coast Guard regulation, Alexander was not permitted to participate, nor be on deck. But that didn’t stop Alexander from learning and interacting with the crew.

So impressed by his performance, Master Chief Glen LaMont, the Officer in Charge of the Manta gave Alexander an open invitation to return.

This self assured young man did just that. During Thanksgiving 2003 he again reported to the Manta, this time there was no apprehension or fear. He felt as if he was, and indeed he is a member of the Manta’s extended crew. This tour of duty found Mr. Marquardt assigned to the Engineering detail.

If you ask Alexander what he wants to do with his life, you’ll hear a proud young man say: "Go to the Naval Academy and become a Nuclear Engineer". High hopes, but this is a disciplined determined young man.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Jeff Coons, USCG left the NSCC last June, to further his service to our country in the Coast Guard wanted to say to the NSCC and his adult leaders, "Thank you for kicking me in the butt mentally, otherwise I wouldn't be where I am today". PO Coons is currently stationed at Coast Guard Station, Philadelphia, where he applies the values he learned in the Sea Cadets, to his life as a Coastie..

Master Chief Glen LaMont, of the CGC Manta said this about Alexander, “He’s a fine professional young man. The Naval Sea Cadets have taken what was obviously exceptional raw material and then fined tuned this material into both a young man society can be proud of, and into a fine sailor. The traits he exhibits; his open mind-ness and his willingness to engage with people will go far in any organization.”

The Master Chief stressed an additional item about young Marquardt. “This is someone other people, both young and old, should emulate.”

If you talk to Alexander’s mother, you get the feeling he’ll succeed. The pride in her voice is unmistakable. With her support, and the support of the adult leaders in the Naval Sea Cadets he’ll learn the necessary tools to deal with life, and by studying hard at school, we may find Mr. Marquardt trade his Cadet title for one of Midshipmen in a few years.

The Real World at Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Ed Stone is not your ordinary 17 year old, from the Cape Cod area of Massachusetts. How many 17 year olds have already spent six years working with the Coast Guard and the Navy? But that’s what Ed has been doing. “I found the program extremely interesting,” said Ed when asked why he joined. “The Navy League Cadet Corps and the Naval Sea Cadets Corps provided more hands’ on experience and chances to learn than the Boy Scouts,” he further commented.

“Our Adult Leaders have always put academics above the program,” said Ed. “If you made the honor roll at school, you got awards in the Navy League. When I graduate, I’m going to enlist in the Navy. I’m interested in boat mechanics, so I’m going to strike for Machinist Mate.”

James McLoughlin, is the adult leader for the Gosnold Division 1 of the Naval Sea Cadets, located at the Mass Maritime Academy in Buzzard's Bay. McLoughlin has nothing but pride in the accomplishments of not only Stone, who as the leading Petty Officer of the Division, overseas approximately twenty other young men and women in the program, but all the other Cadets in his division.

“Ed is an exemplary young man, who has built up quite a bit of experience with the Coast Guard, since his joining the NSCC”, said McLoughlin. He’s proud of the performance of his Cadets, and their team spirit. In 2003, McLoughlin’s cadets received 1st place at the annual New England swim competition, 2nd place at the annual New England Flagship Competition and scored 13th out of 285 Sea Cadet units in the nation. There are also 82 League Cadet Units nationally.

“Their accomplishments in this program can be tied directly to our emphasizing their need to succeed, at what ever level that means, academically. This breeds self-worth which finds it rewards in future successes, in business, in the military and in life” said McLoughlin.

It doesn’t happen in a vacuum

We’ve heard that line before. We hear it as part of some TV ads, to get you the listener involved, usually with your kids. Guess what, their right! Just as the slogan “Leader’s aren’t born, they’re Made”, you can’t make future leaders without adult supervision.

In our next article, we’ll talk about some of these adult leaders, these selfless, caring adults who volunteer their time to help thousands of kids get prepared for life. The Adult Leadership Cadre of the Navy League Cadet Corps and Naval Sea Cadet Corps; another successful program!

For more information about the Naval Sea Cadet Corps or Navy League Cadet Corps, go to their web site. The United States Navy can be found at, and the United States Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary can be found at and

1) Gosnold, Bartholomew , fl. 1572–1607, English explorer and colonizer. In 1602 he commanded the Concord on a voyage of exploration. He navigated the coast from Maine to Narragansett Bay, naming Cape Cod and several islands and building a small fort on Cuttyhunk, westernmost of the Elizabeth Islands. In 1606 he commanded the God Speed, which carried some of the first settlers to Virginia. Gosnold protested against the site of Jamestown but was overruled. He died there of malaria several months later.