NEWS

Local Sea Cadets continue full steam ahead

Posted 9/30/20

Not even COVID-19 could stop a group of U.S. Naval Sea Cadets from holding their training on Saturday right on the waterfront of Narragansett Bay. The group, named Falcon Division, has met continually since May of 1963 and plans to keep it that way.

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NEWS

Local Sea Cadets continue full steam ahead

Posted

Not even COVID-19 could stop a group of U.S. Naval Sea Cadets from holding their training on Saturday right on the waterfront of Narragansett Bay. The group, named Falcon Division, has met continually since May of 1963 and plans to keep it that way.

Cadets from Northern Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts met in person for the third time since the pandemic hit in mid-March.

Cumberland resident Joy Teixeira, 17, serves as the group’s Command Chief Petty Officer, operating out of the Armed Forces Reserve Center in Cranston next to the Johnson & Wales Harborside Campus. As the group gathered together to train on Saturday, Chief Teixeira said the unit is tough, determined and ready to lead.

“The program is great for kids who want to do something different and something that matters,” she said of the Sea Cadet Program.

All Cadets work to earn ranks, attend diverse training seminars, and continually develop leadership skills. “There is almost no limit to how many things we do and learn together,” Teixeira explained.

Cadets also gain basic military knowledge, hold fundraisers, do community service projects, and more.

“We do everything from color guards for local events, to supporting our local VFW, American Legion, and Navy League,” Teixeira continued.

With aspirations to attend the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Teixeira has been a member of the Program for over four years and has been taking advantage of every opportunity the youth program has to offer. She said the experiences and friendships she has had made all the difference.

Out of the many valuable experiences Cadets can have, Teixeria said, is that everyone learns about the many different occupations in and out of the military someone can have, and it helps guide their future of who they are and what they want to be when they grow up.

“In the last year, I attended training seminars in Field Operations, Leadership, Aviation Ground School, and Wargames in partnership with the Naval War College in Newport,” Teixeira said.

Falcon Division met virtually via Zoom during the height of the pandemic in the spring, but now armed with the appropriate personal protective equipment and social distancing protocols in place, Teixeria said, the Cadets are back in action in full force. It is good to meet again, as most clubs and afterschool activities are not being held locally, she said. For some of the Cadets, the youth program is all they have for activities out of the house that will give them a sense of structure and camaraderie with others of similar interests and aspirations. Falcon Division currently has 19 Cadets, ranging in age from 10 to 17.

Among them is Luke Graham, 14, a freshman at La Salle Academy, who hopes to become a Navy SEAL when he gets older.

He joined the Naval Sea Cadet Corps in September of last year.

“I wanted a challenge and to really learn how to be a leader, I looked online and I found the Naval Sea Cadet Program,” Graham said. “I’m really looking forward to attending the Naval Special Warfare Orientation Course Sea Cadets offers since that’s what I want to do after high school. It just makes sense to try it now before I sign a contract for something I might not like to do later.”

He said joining Falcon Division has allowed him to gain exposure to things his peers haven’t and that is giving him a competitive edge for later on down the road.

“Because of Sea Cadets, I’ve had so many experiences and mentors,” he said. “My goal of being a Navy SEAL after high school seems more within reach if I’m able to train with former SEALs and Marines. In a few months, I’ve been able to accomplish and learn more than any sport or club could offer.”

Graham said he is looking forward to the unit’s upcoming training evolutions and activities since any events his school would be hosting are canceled for the foreseeable future.

Graham is a Naval Sea Cadet Seaman and was newly promoted to the rank, which allows him to gain more leadership responsibilities of the group.

“I’ve become a better person,” Graham said of what he feels can be gained from the program. “I’ve learned skills I need in life that school just doesn’t teach me, I care more for others, and I’ve really started gaining new leadership skills in line with the mission of our program.”

Graham added that he was happy that the program was still meeting locally and how it has been something he can rely on for stability.

“School might be virtual and I might be stuck at home, but I know I always have my unit, my fellow Cadets, and the officers who volunteer with the unit who care about giving opportunities when it seems like there is none.”

Falcon Division’s Petty Officer First Class Sean Kinahan, 16, from Wrentham, was also there on Saturday.

“I really enjoy the family we have here,” he said. “I’ve really become a leader who cares about not just my Cadets but also my community. I’ve really learned what it means to be part of a team. It’s not just me to get to the common goal, it’s everyone working together.”

The U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps (USNSCC) is a youth program that helps middle and high school students gain a competitive edge to stand out and excel beyond their peers when applying to college, military academies, scholarships and job opportunities.

Those interested in becoming a part of Falcon Division may call 401-808-5390 or email bdipippo@seacadets.org.

For more information on the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps, visit seacadets.org.

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