The skills, respect, responsibility and leadership area youth are receiving in the Carson City Division of the Naval Sea Cadet program are spilling over into their home lives.
Justin Gross, 13, of Carson City irons his own uniform, his clothes for church on Sunday, and has table manners and etiquette.
"It's really been good for him," said Krisha Gross, Justin's mother. Justin is in seventh-grade at Carson Middle School. He joined the program about nine months ago and hopes to enter the Navy SEAL program.
The Sea Cadet program celebrated its fifth anniversary with an open house Sunday at the Carson City Airport.
"The cadets learn basic drills, what goes on at any station, muster, ceremony of colors, the pledge of allegiance, physical training and other things," said Robert Bledsaw, unit commanding officer.
The program has two age groups, 11-14 and 13-17, and offers the same naval training as enlisted men and women.
Kristina Thuemler, 15, a sophomore at Silver Stage High School who lives in Stagecoach, has wanted to be in the Navy since age 9 when she saw the film, "Pearl Harbor." She joined the program five years ago and was such an influence on her sister, that her sister enlisted in the Air Force.
Kristina said. "I want the experiences and skills the Navy can teach me, to be a surgical technician and meet new people.
"I want to enlist ... to go overseas and help out."
Kristina is the leading petty officer in the program. She is responsible for cadets doing their duties correctly.
"When she gives a command, she speaks directly for me," Bledsaw said. "The officer has to be a good follower before they can become a good leader, and Kristina's done that."
Justin wants to attend the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., and believes this program will give him an advantage.
Bledsaw said the program is aided by sponsors the Independent Order of Foresters, and the American Legion Post 56 and its Auxiliary. The corps has earned such a reputation it served as the official ceremonial escort for the Jacobsen family for the late Sen. Lawrence Jacobsen's funeral in Douglas County.
"I am unbelievably proud of Kristina," said her mother, Julie Thuemler. "She excels in all areas of her life because of this program. I love her and stand behind her every step of the way. I love having patriotic kids."
For information on the program or open house, call 720-1156.
WHO: Carson City Division Naval Sea Cadet program
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