Loudoun County’s Skyler Powell has been named a Chief Petty Officer.
That might not sound so exceptional except that she’s 17, and the first cadet in the history of Purcellville’s VIKING Sea Cadet Division to achieve this rank.
According to a statement released by VIKING Division Executive Officer Chad Ellis, only one percent of the 10,000 U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps cadets earn this appointment, and only 20 percent of them have been female. The Corps, founded over 50 years ago, is a federally chartered non-profit civilian organization teaching teenagers about naval operations and training, community service, citizenship, as well as discipline and teamwork.
In addition to meeting the basic criteria, Powell is credited for demonstrating dedication, leadership, self-reliance, commitment and courage as she rose through the cadet ranks. During summer break, she attended a two-week recruit training, a shortened version of the Navy’s boot camp. She also attended multiple advanced trainings around the nation on topics ranging from marksmanship and cyber security to music, and served as staff cadet leader at recruit training in Aberdeen, Maryland, and Navy League orientation training in Norfolk, Virginia.
Powell earned the Veterans of Foreign Wars Naval Sea Cadet Medal and the Sons of the American Revolution Good Citizenship Award in addition to maintaining a 4.1 GPA at Loudoun Valley High School. She is also a member of the school’s marching band and leads the VIKING Division CyberPatriot team, a nationwide cyber security competition sponsored by the U.S. Air Force.
Many former Sea Cadets have been accepted into the nation’s military academies and other prestigious educational institutions, and have become top military and business leaders.
“Chief Powell is the first VIKING Division cadet to attain the CPO designation – a historic event especially for such a young unit,” said Ellis.
“Becoming a CPO in the Sea Cadets is not easy,” he said. “To get this far, she completed the same correspondence courses and advancement exams that active duty Navy personnel take. Chief Powell exemplifies the ideals of the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps – good citizenship, strong moral principles and public service. She brings great credit upon herself and the VIKING Division.”
A ceremony honoring Powell’s promotion will be held at Patrick Henry College on Dec. 17 at 1:30 p.m.