U.S. Naval Sea Cadets ready for boot camp
Carson City’s first U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps is sending cadets to boot camp.
Several young men – just 14 and 15 years old – will leave Sunday to get an early start on military experience.
“I’m ready,” said John Mooney, 14, of Carson City. “After watching a few Navy movies, I wanted to be a Navy Seal.
“I’m tired of druggies trying to bring drugs in to our country. I want to take them down. I may not be as big as them, but they’ll go down.”
John will head to Fort Lewis, Wash., to attend special forces boot camp Aug. 18. Other cadets are going to Port Hueneme, Calif.
“I’m very much looking forward to boot camp,” he added. “The best part about this program is meeting other people. What I’ve disliked is standing at attention for a long time in the hot sun.”
The program is designed to teach military discipline to youth ages 101Ú2 to 18, and guide them into a career with the military or obtain funds for a college education. They must have a good attitude and maintain high grades in school.
“This program gives them a better chance to succeed,” said Annie Rees, executive officer. “This gives them a real taste of the military. Anything that can be done in an outside job can be done in the military.”
Rees, who said she always wanted to wear a U.S. Marines Corps uniform, has three sons in the program: Christian, 10, Logan, 13, and John, 15.
“I think it’s a great program and it gives young adults an idea of what the military provides. Everyone works together. It’s a credit to all cadets.”
Laura Snyder’s son Jordan, 15, is a cadet. Snyder admits she’s a little nervous about her son leaving for boot camp, but said she’s proud.
“I feel he’s very well informed about his decisions,” Snyder said. Snyder and her husband, Jim, are both officers of the cadet corps. “All I can do is give him backing and support and encourage him to do the best job he can do.”
“After 9Ú11, his dedication was so evident,” said Jim Snyder, who provides military and physical training. “He’s like, ‘Dad, let’s go.'”
Jordan said he plans to enter the U.S. Navy after high school and wants to make it a career.
Also heading to boot camp are Beau Slocum, 14, and Justin Riker, 13. Slocum is lead petty officer.
“I’m learning leadership which I can use in everyday life or the military,” Beau said. “I would like to create a career out of the military, the U.S. Navy.”
Riker heard about the program from Mooney and thought it would be fun and that he could make a career of it. Riker is a rifle carrier on the color guard.
“My grandpa was in the Navy and he said he had fun with it,” Justin said. “I’m not sure of my career yet.”
Laura Snyder said the cadet corps gets families involved with community activities.
“We didn’t ever do things in the community before,” she said. “I think the cadets like the identity of the uniform and it brings respect. They enjoy being part of a group.”
“The cadets have been well received in the community,” Jim Snyder said. “It’s been a very positive response. The program is still young in Carson City, there’s a lot more out there to do.”
Lt.j.g. Robert H. Bledsaw, retired U.S. Navy, is commanding officer of the cadet corps. In just three months, Bledsaw has 32 youth enrolled in the program; 18 in the Navy League Cadets (ages 101Ú2 to 131Ú2), and 13 in the Sea Cadets, for ages 13-18.
“We’ve not had any drop from the program,” Bledsaw said. “This is first-time learning for everybody. We’ve all had a blast.
“I’m happy with the program and the kids’ enthusiasm and desire to learn. The kids have come a long way.”
Bledsaw said his first goal was to make the program fun and have it be something the kids would enjoy.
“It’s working,” he said. “We’ve done a lot in a very short time. Carson City is above the norm for growth for a new unit.”
Bledsaw said the program has open enrollment and they are in need of more financial sponsors.
“We’ve got Kiwanis, Sertoma, Vietnam Veterans of Carson City, the Carson City Senior Citizens Center and private sponsors. We could use more.”
“Robert has a natural leadership ability,” said Laura Snyder. “The kids want him to be proud of them.”
“And the kids rise to the level he expects of them,” added Rees.
What: Carson City Naval Sea Cadet Corps
Who: Lt. j.g. Robert Bledsaw
Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at email@example.com or 881-1223.