SEA SCOUTS / SEA CADETS
Mon Jun 15 07:47:05 1998
Dear Skipper Shuster:
I'd like to comment on your recent posting regarding the U.S. Naval Sea
Cadet Corps and its comparisons to the Sea Scouts of the Boy Scouts of
America. As a 24 year member of the Naval Sea Cadet Corps, as well as the
Skipper of SSS 654 (TS Resilience), I think I'm fairly well versed in both
>Be thankful that Sea (Scouting) Exploring is NOT like the Naval Sea Cadet
>Corps. In my experience, the NSCC is mostly a recruiting tool for the USN.
The Naval Sea Cadet Corps is not intended to be "mosting a recruiting tool
for the USN..." It does provide Cadets with real-world exposure the Navy
and Coast Guard and is based on the traditions of the uniformed sea
services. It should, however, also provide insight to the maritime careers
available through the U.S. Merchant Marine, NOAA and other civilian careers.
We are first and foremost a "citizenship program," with the core values of
PRIDE, SERVICE and PATRIOTISM serving as the foundation of all of our
>Youngsters have to pass a physical much like an enlistment physical. I've
>seen kids turned down because of allergies! Persons with disabilities
>never be allowed to become Sea Cadets.
This is true, due to the nature of Sea Cadet training aboard vessels of the
Navy and Coast Guard. Our Cadets, as you should well know, are often
integrated into the crews of military vessels for up to two weeks at a time.
The Coast Guard, especially, has trained some Cadets to fully augment their
small boat crews, etc. It's unreasonable to place a young person who is not
in excellent health in this environment. Could NSCC be more flexible
regarding minor allergies, asthma, etc? Perhaps.
>And the command is from top down, just like the navy, with the adults
running the >program and the cadets just following orders.
This is where I disagree with you. Most NSCC units have Cadet Petty
Officers in leadership/supervisory positions to provide development of these
skills. I am the Skipper of an 80' former USN YP where the three
departments (OPS, DECK and ENG) are each lead by a Cadet Section Leader.
Previous (sans boats) units have also had cadets in leadership positions,
planning activities, etc. The blanket statement above is not fair to those
who have the Petty Officers do their job as appropriate, and fully integrate
the Cadets into the operation and planning for the unit.
>The object of NSCC is to train young people in navy ways and prepare them
The object of NSCC is to expose Cadets to the benefits of a martime
(military or non- military) career. Many do not serve in the Armed Forces,
and some of our most successful officers are not military vets.
>Our program is by far superior as we allow youngsters the opportunity to
participate in >maritime sports, to learn maritime history and traditions,
and to explore maritime >careers. That's especially important here in
Superior? I would not consider placing one as "superior" to the other. It
is true, Naval Sea Cadets are not focused on sailing and other recreational
boating. As for maritme history, traditions and career opportunities, I
feel we are very comparable programs.
>I spent five years as a CO of a Sea Cadet division in Kona. My daughter
was Chief >Petty Officer. When my Command Tenure ran out, my replacement
folded the outfit >within two years.
This is very unfortunate, but it happens. How many Sea Scouts Ships fold
within a couple of years of changing the watch? Leadership is leadership,
regardless of the format. Some people can run a youth program, others
>Our Sea Scouting/Exploring program, no matter how or why it's changing, can
do >more for youth. NSCC divisions should become co-registered as Sea Scout
Ships >so that the unit can choose the best of both programs.
I agree that the best of both worlds is to dual-enroll the Cadets as Sea
Scouts. Frankly, the additional insurance is worth the few bucks per year.
There are many simularities between the two programs which make them
compatable. Both NJROTC and NSCC could be well served by spending more time
at the waterfront. Being "Navy" programs, some units focus on naval
aviation, naval construction, etc. Many don't know a bowline from a
bowtie...but, the same is true for the non-going types in the Navy.
There are also some aspects of Sea Scouting which really do not work for Sea
Cadets. Our Corps is based on the Navy, with a certain amount of
regimentation and uniformity found in the "traditional" Sea Scout units.
Frankly, as I look in the Sea Scout handbook and on the various SSS web
sites, it really irks me to see the Navy uniform worn by young people with
long hair, strange modifications made the uniform (berets, white pants/black
shirts, "dixie cups" worn by females, etc.), but I am also a traditional
"Sailor" with active duty service. That said, I am well aware that SSS
units are allowed to create their own "uniform" (??) and that while some Sea
Scouts may dress like the Navy, very few are held to Navy standards of
appearance and bearing. Do I personally agree with this? No, but the Navy
and Boy Scouts have never asked Joe Land for his opinion on this issue, so
apparently it works for them.
> There is no question regarding the value of the Sea Scout program vs.
>the Sea Cadet program, the major difference being that Sea Scouts offers
>choice and Sea Cadets is only the Navy way. Both programs have merit but
>if it is the will of a sponsor and committee and crew members to run a
>"cadet like" program, so be it.
I guess the bottomline is that "...both programs have merit..." as stated by
Skipper Minasian. We are similar, not identical. However, I think we are
*all* devoted to providing young people with new adventures, career
opportunites, leadership experience, and an understanding of the importance
of our nation's maritime history. Let's remember that in all we do...
JOSEPH M. LAND, SR., LCDR, NSCC Former JO1(SW),
CO, Training Ship Resilience (YP-660) Former
Cadet PO1, NSCC
Director, American Youth Seamanship Institute, Inc. Skipper, SSS 654
Special Projects Officer, NSCC National Headquarters
Cedar Key, Florida