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

A Cadre of Exceptional Individuals
The Naval Sea Cadet Corps Officer Corps

Why do people volunteer? Why do men and women, who either are or who have spent a lifetime working, and many times serving their country, want to volunteer?

The simple answer is a sense of accomplishment! It is the ability to influence the world around them, to some it’s called making a difference for others it’s continuing to make a difference. These are some of the reasons why people join the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary or the Naval Sea Cadet Corps (NSCC) as an Adult Leader.

The 56th Edition of Chapman Piloting Seamanship & Small Boat Handling, published by Hearst Marine Books defines the following terms:

  • Ship-Shape – When everything on a boat is in good order.
  • Well-Found – When a vessel is well equipped.
  • Bristol-Fashion – When a vessel is especially well cared for.

Ship-Shape Leaders

What is more important is how these men and women have made a difference for so many young people, since the founding of the Naval Sea Cadets in 1962. And they continue, on a daily basis to shape, foster, hone, encourage, and provide role models for the youth of our nation. The Naval Sea Cadet Corps, just like the Boy Scouts (which was founded by Lord Baden-Powell in England, some ninety-seven years ago in 1907), has grown from a single countries idea, to a world wide phenomena.

The Naval Sea Cadets were formed in the US in 1958, but internationally were in existence prior to 1914, when the Naval Sea Cadets were officially formed in England. In fact, the Sea Cadets was an offshoot of the Naval Lads Brigades, formed after the Crimean War (1854-1856). Indeed, the concept of Naval Sea Cadets has been around quite a long time.

From the beginning, adults have been at the forefront of support for the boys, and now boys and girls who are the members of the NSCC. It is these nameless, faceless adults, at least to the public, that are responsible for cultivating some of current national leaders, and our future leaders. But these leaders are not faceless and nameless to the thousands that have joined, learned, and left the NSCC. These people are mentors, friends and role models

“I joined the Corps because the Boy Scouts and Sea Scouts really didn’t have the same training opportunities or actually work with the Coast Guard or Navy”. – Naval Sea Cadet Alexander Marquette, Freeport Texas.

Neil Bradley has been a member of the Sea Cadets twice, from 1984-1986 and since 1994. He initially joined the Sea Cadets in the Navy. The command he was stationed at had 25 eligible Petty Officers for Chief Petty Officer. His mentor told him the only way he would be able to make Chief was to show, exhibit and live leadership.

One day, he came across a copy of the Navy League magazine and saw an article about the Sea Cadet program. The rest as they say is history. He joined a unit near his command, and within a year was selected for Chief Petty Officer.

“I know for certain that my involvement with the Sea Cadets is what pushed me above the pack for selection. I continued with the Sea cadets until I was reassigned to Sea Duty,” said Bradley.

So dedicated to the organization that he re-affiliated with the program in 1994, when stationed at Pear Harbor. “At that time, the local unit was very small, and floundering. Within 1 year, we had an enrollment of 50 cadets, and by the time I retired from the USN, we had 75 cadets, 12 adults and the unit was ranked #5 in the nation.”

“In addition, I organized and ran 3 Sea Cadet boot camps, which were specifically mentioned as having 'some of the best basic training available in the program'.” Bradley said with pride in his voice.

During the following years and after his retirement from the Navy, Bradley help two other units start and/or recover, and today all are still going strong.

Why does Neil Bradley continue to work with Sea Cadets? His answer is similar to all the other adults:

“I thoroughly enjoy working with the cadets, and I feel honored to be able to pay back the Sea Cadet program for what it has done for me, both on a personal and professional level.”

Well-Found Leaders

Lt Bethany Beck is the Commanding Officer of H R Doud Division in Saginaw Michigan, with training at Coast Guard Station Essexville, in Essexville Michigan. Bethany Beck has been with the NSCC for the last 14 years.

Lt. Beck, was a military (Navy) wife for over twenty years. She joined because her husband, while he was in the Navy, also joined the NSCC Officer Corps. She was so inspired by what she saw, that she felt she needed to join the NSCC and help develop these youngsters into a solid future generation.

What makes Lt Beck unique is her approach to leadership? It’s her caring approach; high standards; and the ability to inspire her Cadets to achieve.

“Leadership and responsibility are symbiotic,” according to Lt Beck. “For young people, their responsibility starts at school, with good academics. My Cadets are required, unlike many sport teams, to keep a C or better in each and every course they take. Most schools require that the team members keep a C average. Our Cadets can not get less than a C, period; be the course a physics class or home economics. “

Leadership needs to be learned. Leaders need to be guided in the right direction, and have available role models and mentors to assist them in seeking the correct course. Without the Officer Corps, and Officer’s such at Bethany Beck, these young people would drift.

“Failure to maintain this academic standard, results in suspension of training rights at the Coast Guard Station,” said Beck, known for her loud bark, but also loved for her gentle bite.

“My unit has made me proud as all of them carry an A or B in all their classes as they want to go to the Coast Guard Station as much as possible,” boasted Beck, with pride and accomplishment in her voice.

Lt. Beck talks about one Cadet “who was at the Station Essexville during the demise of the oil tanker Jupiter. It exploded and spilled thousands of gallons of oil into the Great Lakes. This Cadet immediately boarded the Cutter with the other responding Coast Guard personnel. She not only went to help her fellow crew-mates, but actually jumped in the lake to save lives.

This Cadet now is in the Coast Guard serving her country. There are many in my Unit who have accomplished exceptional things. This is due to the extraordinary training they have received at the Coast Guard Station. I give all the credit to the men and women of the Coast Guard, and indeed to any and all the people who are willing to train any of the Sea Cadets that I send them. By the way, the Cadet mentioned happened to be a young lady.”

I want to help grow, teach and provide a military role model for the youth of today...our leaders of tomorrow. This has already happen with my cadets going on to various military collages, and into the Armed Forces. It is a refreshing breath of fresh air to see that some kids today do have higher values. – LTjg Dante Laurino Executive Officer Liberty Division -Station Fire Island


James McLoughlin could be considered the quintessential Naval Sea Cadet. His story, if this was a romance novel, would almost be idyllic. Joining the Sea Cadets at age 16, James completes training with a single goal in mind, the sea. He graduates high school and works for the local ferry company, while attending college.

He graduates college and obtains a teaching certificate for grades 7-12, but instead, worked for, and obtained a Master of limited tonnage passenger vessels, and goes to sea for four years. Approximately four years later, James is reacquainted with the Sea Cadets, becoming their Commanding Officer (of the Gosnold division).

Still at the helm of the Gosnold division, James has added a Master’s Degree, and Adjunct Professor titles to his portfolio of accomplishments. He owns a sightseeing and dinner cruse business. In addition, James works for the Public Affairs Department of the Coast Guard, as well as the Health Benefits Advisor.

Still, his heart is with the sea, working as a relief master aboard commercial passenger vessels. James sees his releationship with the Naval Sea Cadets as “…a circle. All of my professional affiliations---licensed master, public affairs, professional teacher--are inextricably intertwined and dependent upon one another, but all come full circle in the NSCC.”

Never to Old or Young to Learn, Mentor or Teach; The Naval Sea Cadets Officer Corps

Coleen and Roger Sabourin are retired military. Roger spent ten years in the Navy, and took a break. He then entered the Army and spent the next 14 years in the service of his country. In 1998, he joined the NSCC.

In September of 2000, Coleen and Roger started the Coast Guard Group Portland Division 1. Both in their golden years, Colleen will be 54 and Roger 60. Asked why he sticks with the NSCC, Roger said “My doctors tell me this program is helping keep me young and I believe it, It is a pleasure watching the young Cadets grow into good responsible young adults.”

Coleen, who has worked side by side with her husband, was a supervisor at General Motors Plant in Framingham, MA. Coleen, when asked what she brings to the NSCC said, “I bring a wealth of corporate knowledge to the unit and the Cadets. It’s important for them to understand what both the military as well as corporate America is looking for, and wants from the next generation.”

The Sabourin’s are not alone, in either backgrounds or outlooks. Many of the adult leaders in the Officer Corps come to the NSCC as young military men and women, or in later life. They come for a variety of reasons, from career advancement, to self satisfaction.

What is unique is that they all find what they are looking for, as well as the Cadets themselves. These people have entered into a win-win situation, and the real winners – society. Well rounded, good citizens are the outcome of all the hard work of the Officer Corps and the Cadets.

About the Officer Corps

Officers in the NSCC may either be civilians or military personnel (active, reserve or retired). They should be knowledgeable of both today’s youth and be interested in their training, their citizenship, and their future.

Instructors are recruited from active Reserve military commands and from civilian leaders within the community. While the NSCC doesn’t require educational or other qualifications, applicants with either a nautical or military backgrounds are desired.

NSCC officers are authorized to wear Navy officer uniforms (modified by the NSCC insignia). NSCC officers, while working in the capacity as an NSCC Officer, are not military officers. However, they do receive and are expected to give, all military courtesies.

Requirements of the Officer Corps

The following criteria must be met to be accepted into the Officer Corps:

  • Applicants must be a US Citizen and be between 21 years of age and 65. According to CAPT Michael Ford, USN (RET), the Executive Director of the NSCC, “We have revised to age 65, with waivers. These waivers are those individuals considered in good physical condition to work with youths. We have many folks over 65 who have proven to be superb leaders.........a great deal of their success is because they are fully retired and devote their entire days to working for the Naval Sea Cadet Corp.”
  • They need to pass a physical examination which will certify them fit to carry out their assigned duties. All adults involved in the NSCC, regardless of present employment, must undergo a criminal background check and not have any felony convictions.

The NSCC Officer Corps Wants You – The Adventure of a Lifetime!

Sometimes advertising slogans just get to the heart of a subject. So, thank you to Nike, because if you’re an adult, who meets the requirements of the Naval Sea Cadet Corps Officer Corps, and are thinking about joining, just follow Nike’s advice – Just Do It!

A program does not just happen in a vacuum. Especially a program for young men and women. For the Naval Sea Cadet Corps, there is a cadre of adults that run, mentor and instill the values for tomorrow's leaders.

For more information, contact the Naval Sea Cadet Corps via e-mail at:, on the web at or call them at: 703-243-6910.

For more information about the Coast Guard or Coast Guard Auxiliary, see us on the web at or