On Dec. 31, 46 U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps members graduated from advanced programs at the Freedom Center in Loudoun County.
The program had three distinct classes. Sixteen graduated from the Petty Officer Leadership Academy, 27 graduated from the Master-At-Arms Academy, and three graduated from the culinary program. An additional five cadets served as staff instructors.
Seaman William Koleszar,17, of Lovettsville, took Honor Cadet for finishing top of the Petty Officer class.
The USNSCC is a federally chartered non-profit youth development program for children age 11 through the high school graduation. The advanced programs are designed to familiarize cadets with general career fields and opportunities in addition to Navy-style discipline.
The cadets came from up and down the eastern seaboard — 20 were from Virginia, six from Puerto Rico, six from Maryland, five from North Carolina, four from Pennsylvania, two each from New York and New Jersey, and one from Massachusetts, said Instructor Eliot Jardines.
Cadets in the Petty Officer Leadership Academy will now be able to teach future cadets while continuing to learn about the Navy and Coast Guard as staff cadets. This class of winter cadets went above expectations, Executive Officer Lt. John Holt III said.
“They were totally engaged the grasped the concepts we were trying to instill in them. They didn’t take any classes lightly,” Holt said.
The Maters-At-Arms class — the military and police training program — included pistol training, de-escalation training, active shooter training and obstacle courses. Division Officer Chad Ellis, a member of the Fairfax County Police Department, was responsible for the bulk of the cadets’ training, Commanding Officer Lt. Matthew Powell said.
Fairfax County Police let the academy ride in police cars and see the helicopter unit. Cadets ran scenarios to learn how to respond and de-escalate situations like domestic violence calls, emotionally disturbed person calls, burglaries and room clearing, Ellis said.
“They all grew from the first scenario,” Ellis said. “By the end, they all rose to the occasion.”
Jardines taught the firearm portion of the course, teaching the cadets safety and marksmanship. The cadets went through a Scholastic Action Shooting exercise where they had to shoot steel targets in a specific order for time.
The three culinary cadets, along with two culinary instructors, cooked for the 60 people at the camp, three meals a day. Sometimes this meant getting up at 3:30 a.m. to have breakfast ready for 5:30 a.m and lunch and dinner packed for other training contingents, Administrative Officer Vicky Powell said.