WHAT IS THE NAVAL SEA CADET CORPS (NSCC)?
The U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps is a program for young Americans, male and female, ages 10 through 17, whose objectives are to develop an interest and skill in basic seamanship and in its naval adaptations, to train them in sea going skills, and to teach them patriotism, courage, self-reliance and kindred virtues. Cadets train aboard the ships and shore activities of the Navy and Coast Guard, and are authorized by the Secretary of the Navy to wear Navy uniforms appropriately marked with Naval Sea Cadet Corps insignia. There are over 300 units in operation in almost every state of the union, as well as Puerto Rico and Guam, with over 10,000 young Americans participating. The Naval Sea Cadet Corps affords equal opportunity for participation to all American youth, without regard to race, color, religion, gender or disability.
WHAT IS THE NAVY LEAGUE CADET CORPS (NLCC)?
The NLCC is the junior program for the NSCC. The NLCC introduces boys and girls ages 10-13 to naval life through instruction in basic seamanship and leadership.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN DIFFERENCES IN TRAINING BETWEEN NLCC AND NSCC?
The training program designed for League Cadets is age-appropriate and less rigorous than that of the NSCC. While less arduous, it still includes a wide variety of training opportunities designed to give League Cadets exposure to Navy life.
When joining NSCC, cadets are required to have attended a two-week away-from-home recruit training in order to rise in rank and participate in advanced training sessions. Navy League Cadets have the option to attend a one-week, away-from-home orientation, but it is not a requirement for rank advancement or advanced training opportunities.
NLCC training events are shorter in length than NSCC training events. NLCC events typically run for seven- to nine-day periods, unlike NSCC training rotations which can last for two weeks or longer.
WHO SPONSORS THE NSCC/NLCC?
Many cadet units are sponsored by individual Councils of the Navy League of the United States, a non-profit organization made up of U.S. citizens whose objective is to support the sea services, and who are deeply interested in the welfare of young Americans.
BECOMING A CADET
CAN ANYONE JOIN?
We welcome all applicants who meet our program’s eligibility requirements. The U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps will never discriminate based on race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, disability, color, religion, or national origin. It is very important to us to promote a culture of inclusion in our Sea Cadet family.
WILL I BE REQUIRED TO JOIN THE U.S. ARMED FORCES AS PART OF BEING A CADET?
No. We are not a recruiting vehicle for the armed services. Cadets have absolutely no commitment regarding future military service.
I WANT TO ENLIST IN THE MILITARY AFTER HIGH SCHOOL. HOW CAN BEING A SEA CADET HELP ME?
For those cadets who decide to enlist in the military, their prior training as a Sea Cadet may allow them to join at an advanced pay grade. This means that a cadet who enlists may be eligible for a higher rank and pay than his or her non-cadet counterparts. Cadets who choose to enlist in the military also tend to do better and stay in longer. Each cadet who enters the armed services is a disciplined, well-trained individual who typically adjusts better to the rigors of military service than those with no experience.
I WANT TO APPLY FOR A SERVICE ACADEMY OR ANOTHER OFFICER COMMISSIONING PROGRAM AFTER HIGH SCHOOL. HOW CAN BEING A SEA CADET HELP ME?
Being a Sea Cadet can help individuals become more competitive for certain programs. More than 12% of the Class of 2019 at the U.S. Naval Academy were former Sea Cadets. Every year many graduating high school seniors are accepted into ROTC or OCS programs around the country. We think some of this can be attributed to the unparalleled training experience received as a Sea Cadet.
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS OF MEMBERSHIP?
All prospective cadets must be U.S. citizens or permanent legal residents, and meet our minimum age requirements (ages 10 through the completion of high school). Cadets must be unmarried, drug-free, and alcohol-free. Successful academic progress is required as well (at least a “C”-grade point average). Cadet applicants must complete a medical examination similar to a high school sports physical and submit proof of immunization against common diseases.
Cadets must also be physically and mentally able to participate in the basic required activities of the program, such as team-based physical training, close-order military drill, classroom instruction, and (for Sea Cadets only) annual overnight away-from-home training programs. In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), it is the policy of the USNSCC that no qualified person will be excluded from participation in, denied the benefit of, or otherwise subjected to discrimination by the USNSCC simply because that person has a disability. The USNSCC will grant reasonable accommodations where necessary to permit full participation.
Adult volunteer applicants must be free of felony convictions, be in good standing within the community, and be in good health commensurate with their age group. Applicants must submit proof of immunization against common diseases.
WILL I HAVE TO PAY MEMBERSHIP FEES?
Yes. Your enrollment fee includes premiums paid toward the Sea Cadet Group Accident and Health Protection Plan. This is our insurance plan, designed to keep you covered in the low likelihood of something happening during a cadet-sponsored training event. It is important to us that the membership fees are minimal in order to be accessible to as many people as possible.
Annual enrollment fees are: $90/year per each NSCC/NLCC cadet and $40/year per officer/midshipman/instructor. Some units may also charge an additional administrative fee.
Annual enrollment fees are based on four factors: cost of program operation and administration by NHQ; cost of group accident and health premium; cost of liability insurance premium; and funding of each Regional Directors’ allowance.
WHAT KIND OF UNIFORMS WILL I WEAR?
Cadets are authorized by the Secretary of the Navy to wear Navy enlisted uniforms appropriately marked with the NSCC/NLCC insignia.
DO LEAGUE CADETS WEAR THE SAME UNIFORMS AS THE OLDER GROUP?
Yes, League Cadets wear US Navy uniforms with appropriate shoulder insignia denoting NLCC membership. NSCC officers administer the program and supervise the cadets. League Cadets can earn many of the same ribbons and awards as Sea Cadets, and can wear those ribbons when participating in the NSCC program.
DO I BUY MY OWN UNIFORMS?
Surplus U.S. Navy uniforms are made available to the NSCC and NLCC. These uniforms, in turn, are then made available to cadets at a minimal cost for shipping and handling. Uniform needs that cannot be met through this source may be purchased at Navy Exchange Uniform Shops.
IS THERE ANY REQUIRED MEDICAL EXAMS?
A medical examination similar to a high school sports physical is required for all cadet applicants to the Naval Sea Cadet Corps (NSCC) or Navy League Cadet Corps (NLCC). No one will be denied admission to the NSCC/NLCC due to a medical disability. Where a medical condition precludes full, unlimited participation, a Request for Accommodation (NSCADM 015) may be presented by the parent or guardian for review so the cadet may participate in NSCC activities to the maximum extent possible.
TRAINING PROGRAMS AND OPPORTUNITIES
WHAT IS THE MAIN PURPOSE OF CADET TRAINING?
While cadet units are organized along military lines, their main purpose is to foster good citizenship and an interest and appreciation of our nation’s sea services. Cadets and volunteers are also quick to name the wonderful by-products of our training program: new friends, a sense of accomplishment from overcoming obstacles and involvement with the community.
HOW MUCH TRAINING TIME IS REQUIRED EACH MONTH?
Time commitment varies from unit-to-unit, but a typical unit will meet for one weekend a month, called a drill weekend. Additional training opportunities of varying lengths are often made available throughout the year. Our Columbus Squadron usually meets on the first weekend of the month.
WHAT DO CADETS LEARN?
Cadets study a broad range of subjects, all of them designed to enhance the individual. Some sessions, like community service, are designed to help them become better citizens, while other classes will teach them the importance of strong maritime forces. Cadets will study naval history, customs and traditions, seamanship, navigation and similar subjects.
WHO INSTRUCTS CADETS?
Cadets are instructed by naval personnel (active duty, reserve and retired), by senior cadets and by dedicated adult volunteer leaders who make up the USNSCC Officer Corps.
ARE THERE ADVANCED TRAINING COURSES FOR CADETS?
Yes. In addition to advanced training aboard naval vessels, Sea Cadets may attend advanced training evolutions such as airman training, Seabee indoctrination, SEAL challenge, military law enforcement training, and Leadership Academy.
Navy League Cadets may participate in one-week advanced training evolutions in subjects such as leadership, seamanship and boating safety.
ARE CADETS PERMITTED TO GO TO SEA?
Yes. After completing recruit training and other required courses of instruction, many Sea Cadets can participate in advanced training aboard Navy and Coast Guard vessels ranging from small patrol craft to large nuclear powered aircraft carriers.
While Navy League Cadets are not permitted to go to sea for extended periods, they often participate in day cruises and tours.
WHAT TRAVEL OPPORTUNITIES ARE AVAILABLE TO CADETS?
Sea Cadets travel to training sites all over the country during the summer training period. Additionally, outstanding Sea Cadets are selected to participate in the NSCC International Exchange Program. Exchange cadets are selected on a merit basis; each cadet must have an outstanding record as well as good standing within his or her home unit. To learn more about NSCC’s International Exchange Program, visit their website.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE TRAINING EXPERIENCES OF THE NLCC AND THE NSCC?
The training program designed for League Cadets is age-appropriate and less rigorous than that of the NSCC. It is less arduous, but still includes a wide variety of training opportunities designed to give League Cadets exposure to Navy life.
When joining the Naval Sea Cadet Corps, cadets are required to have attended a two-week away-from-home recruit training in order to rise in rank and participate in advanced training sessions. League Cadets have the option to attend a one-week, away-from-home orientation, but it is not a requirement for rank advancement.
BECOMING A VOLUNTEER
WHAT IS THE USNSCC OFFICER CORPS?
The NSCC Officer Corps is made of dedicated volunteers adult leaders, both civilian and military, who provide for the administration of all facets of the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps. This includes the operation of local units to the operation of two-week summer training programs. Officers must be U.S. Citizens and be at least 21 years of age.
WILL I HAVE TO UNDERGO A CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK?
Yes. To ensure the safety and security of cadets, all NSCC adult leaders undergo a background check at initial enrollment and periodically at the discretion of NSCC National Headquarters.
WHAT IS AN NSCC INSTRUCTOR?
An NSCC instructor is an adult leader who either has an interest in becoming an NSCC officer or who wants to dedicate his or her time to mentoring and training cadets. All persons applying to be in the NSCC Officer Corps are first enrolled as an NSCC instructor for a period of one year. After one year, instructors may apply for an appointment to the NSCC Officer Corps or remain an instructor. Instructor responsibilities are generally less than those of an officer.
WHAT IS AN NSCC MIDSHIPMAN?
NSCC midshipmen are adult leaders in training who are between the ages of 18 and 21. Normally NSCC midshipmen are former cadets who reached the rate of seaman as a cadet, former JROTC cadets, or members of the military who are not old enough to be an NSCC instructor or officer.
I AM A PARENT OF A CADET. CAN I BE AN NSCC ADULT LEADER?
Yes. In fact, a large percentage of NSCC adult leader are parents of current and former cadets. Involved parents are the lifeblood of the NSCC Officer Corps.
WILL I HAVE TO PURCHASE MY OWN UNIFORM?
In most cases, yes. NSCC adult leaders are authorized to purchase uniform items from U.S. Navy Uniform Shops on base and the Navy’s Uniform Support Center in Pensacola, FL by phone and mail order. In some cases units have a supply of surplus/used uniforms that may be provided at no or nominal cost. Many large Naval bases also have Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society thrift shops that sell used uniform items at deep discounts. In any case uniform purchases are often income tax-deductible (consult your tax attorney for more information).
DO I GET TO WEAR A UNIFORM?
Yes. NSCC officers, midshipman, and instructors are authorized by the Secretary of the Navy to wear the U.S. Navy officer uniforms appropriately modified with NSCC insignia.
WHAT EXPERIENCE IS REQUIRED?
The U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps is organized along military lines; therefore, having military experience is a definite plus, but it is not a requirement. Experienced adult leaders and senior cadets will gladly help you become familiar with the military atmosphere. At most local units, volunteers are needed to instruct cadets in a variety of subjects, keep and maintain service records, keep track of cadet training, maintain unit supply, and recruit and publicize the program. As long as you are motivated and willing to help in the cause of promoting the positive development of youth, there is a place for you in the Corps.
DO I HAVE TO BE PHYSICALLY FIT?
Yes. You must be physically fit and free from ailments that would prevent you from supervising youth and performing your assigned duties. You must also meet U.S. Navy weight standards to wear the NSCC uniform. Those who do not meet the weight requirements may wear an alternate civilian style uniform.
I CAN ONLY COMMIT A COUPLE OF HOURS A MONTH. CAN I STILL HELP?
Absolutely! We understand that there are many people who want to help but have busy lives, and giving up 20-30 hours a month to be a full time volunteer is just not feasible. Often all it takes is a couple of hours a month to help a unit sort uniforms, teach a class, chaperone a field trip and the like. The contribution of a few dedicated part-time volunteers can go a long way to accomplish the overall mission.
DO ADULT LEADERS EARN RANK?
Yes. Those adult leaders who apply for appointment to the NSCC Officer Corps will have the opportunity to earn rank. New NSCC officers are appointed by the NSCC Executive Director to the rank of ensign. The NSCC officer rank structure parallels that of the U.S. Navy. NSCC officers may promote through the rank of lieutenant commander. In order for NSCC officers to promote they must meet minimum performance, training, and time-in-service requirements. They must also contribute a minimum amount of volunteer service to NSCC summer training programs. NSCC officer rank is entirely honorary and does not have any relation to or authority and entitlements of actual military rank.