Since 1958 the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps has been committed to providing American youth with a drug and alcohol free environment to foster their leadership abilities, broaden their horizons through hands-on training and guide them to becoming mature young adults.
Sea Cadet organizations exist in most of the maritime nations of the world. Recognizing the value of these organizations in educating youth in maritime matters, the U.S. Department of the Navy requested the Navy League of the United States establish a similar program for American youth. The Navy League agreed to do so and formally established the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps (USNSCC) and U.S. Navy League Cadet Corps (USNLCC) in 1958. Recognizing the importance and benefits of the USNSCC, Congress on September 10, 1962 federally incorporated the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps under Public Law 87-655 (36 USC 1541).
In 2000 the U.S. Congress stated that the USNSCC and related programs “provide significant benefits for the Armed Forces including significant public relations benefits.” Although under no service obligation a sizable percentage of cadets later enlist in the military. Members who obtain the grade of E-3, or Seaman/Airman, may receive an advanced pay grade of E-3, if they join the Navy or Coast Guard, and E-2 in the Marine Corps, US Army or other Services due to the training they receive. Former Sea Cadets also represent a percentage of students at the five federal Service Academies.
Sea Cadets have consistently been an increasing percentage of accepted candidates to the United States Naval Academy. The Class of 2019 is more than 12% former Sea Cadets and the Class of 2020 is more than 15% former Sea Cadets and were accepted to the USNA with the HIGHEST SAT scores in the history of the USNA.
The Naval Sea Cadet Corps is officially supported by the Navy League of the United States and is endorsed by the United States Navy, United States Marine Corps and United States Coast Guard. The United States Coast Guard, through COMDTINST 5728.2C, USCG Public Affairs Manual, has designated the USNSCC as the Coast Guard’s primary youth program rather than a JROTC. The National Headquarters of the USNSCC is located in Arlington, VA. CAPT Henry Nyland, III, USNR (Ret), is the Executive Director, the “Commander-in-Chief” of the USNSCC. There are six field areas in all. Each field is headed by an NSCC NHQ Representative, who is usually the grade of a Navy CAPT. Each field area may be further divided into regions which are headed by a Senior Regional Director who is an NSCC Lieutenant Commander(LCDR). Each region can have sub-regions depending on the size of the area and number of units in that region. Each sub-region is headed by a Regional Director (RD) who is also an NSCC LCDR. Each RD will report to the Senior RD for any matters regarding the region and/or sub-regions themselves. RDs are also responsible to the NSCC NHQ Representative for matters regarding Petty Officer exams, PO1 and CPO advancements, NSCC officer matters and anything else that would be of importance to the NHQ Representative or to the Executive Director. Each sub-region may be composed of anywhere between two to ten units. For example the Pacific Southwest Field Area is composed of Region 11 (covering Southern California and the Las Vegas area) and Region 12 (covering Northern California, and in Nevada, those areas north of Las Vegas). Region 11 itself is divided into 8 sub-regions each headed by one Regional Director and their regional staff. Each unit is required to have a compliment of at least twenty-five Cadets. They must be physically fit, have no criminal record and have a good academic standard to become members. Each unit has a Commanding Officer and Executive Officer, and depending on the number of adult volunteers, may have other billets which cover different areas important to the operation of that unit. Some units have far more or far less than the required minimum due to a vast array of recruiting issues. All units must have the minimum number of personnel in order to be commissioned into the NSCC.
Adult leaders are volunteers with a myriad of experience ranging from active/reserve/retired military personnel to civilian parents of cadets. Adult volunteers must be 18 years and older. NSCC Officers, Instructors and Midshipmen all must go through a thorough application process — including a background check — before they can be accepted as adult volunteers. High school graduates aged 18 up through adults aged 21 may serve as Midshipmen (MIDN). Midshipmen are technically NSCC Officers and are mostly former cadets but can be ROTC, Service academy, or other personnel with some type of experience relevant to the function of the NSCC and NLCC. Adults aged 21 years and older can serve as NSCC instructors, Warrant Officers or Officers (although Warrant Officer grade is reserved to military personnel with specific qualifications). Cadets who are 18 years old can elect to remain a Sea Cadet through high school graduation and until 30 September of the year of their graduation.
The United States Navy, United States Navy League and the USCG all support the NSCC by providing such resources as uniform assistance, use of military facilities and assisting with training courses. Most support, however, comes from the volunteers and parents of the NSCC program. Most of the NSCC’s funding has come from the enrollment fees of its cadets and Officers, the Navy League of the United States, private sources and through appropriations from the DOD’s annual budget. In recent years the NSCC has lobbied for, and obtained, through congressional support between $1-2 million a year to offset the rising costs of supporting and running NSCC trainings.
Today, the USNSCC has formed partnerships with organizations such as the Foundation for Teaching Economics and the Flying Midshipman Association to offer cadets broader opportunities in areas of leadership and aviation. The USNSCC also took an active part in the creation of the International Sea Cadet Association (ISCA). The ISCA is an association of U.S. Sea Cadet Corps’ from around the world, whose main objective is to facilitate exchanges of cadets between member countries.
Learn about the history of the Palm Beach Division here