United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps
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United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps

United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps
Seal of the USNSCC.svg
Founded1958; 63 years ago (1958)
Country United States of America
Size396 units and 12,002 members (2,871 officers and 9,131 cadets)
Garrison/HQArlington County, Virginia, U.S.
Motto(s)"Chart your course"
ColorsBlue, gold   
AnniversariesSeptember 10, 1962 (federal incorporation)
Executive DirectorCaptain Paul Zambernardi, USN (Ret.)
Deputy DirectorDavid I. Hull, M.S., M.A., J.D.

The United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps (USNSCC or NSCC) is a congressionally-chartered, U.S. Navy sponsored organization that serves to teach individuals about the sea-going military services, U.S. naval operations and training, community service, citizenship, and an understanding of discipline and teamwork. The USNSCC is composed of two programs – the senior program for cadets age 13 through the age of 18, and the Navy League Cadet Corps (NLCC), which is for cadets ages 10 through 13.


USNSCC cadets at sea in July 2002.
Sea Cadets graduation in January 2019 from EMS at Naval Station Newport

The NSCC was founded in 1958 by the Navy League of the United States at the request of the Department of the Navy. In 1962, the USNSCC was chartered under Title 36 of the United States Code as a non-profit youth organization with an emphasis towards the sea-going services of the United States.[1] The law was amended in 1974 to allow female participation in the USNSCC.

In 2000, the U.S. Congress stated that the NSCC and related programs "provide significant benefits for the Armed Forces, including significant public relations benefits."[2] Although under no service obligation, a sizeable percentage of cadets later enlist in the military. Members who attain the grade E-3 or Seaman/Airman or are in the program for 2 years, may enter as an advanced paygrade of E-3 if they join the Navy or Coast Guard before they turn 24 years old,[3] and E-2 in the Marine Corps or other services, due to the training they receive. Former Sea Cadets also represent a percentage of students at the five federal service academies. Cadets that excel while in the corps, will have their achievements available for the service academies to see.


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 primary youth program the Coast Guard supports."

A U.S. Navy Master-at-Arms shows the firing sequence of the M9 Beretta pistol to Seaman Daniel Krieg, a Cadet with the Naval Sea Cadet Corps.

The national headquarters (NHQ) of the NSCC is located in Arlington, Virginia. Rear Admiral (LH) Robin L. Graf, USN (Ret.) is the Executive Director, the "Commander-in-Chief" of the USNSCC. There are seven field areas in all. Each field is headed by an NHQ Representative, who is usually the grade of a Navy captain. 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 and 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.

Cadets 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 myriad 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 United States Coast Guard 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.


The USNSCC is roughly 13,000 strong (12/1/19). For FY20, U.S. Congress will most likely give $1.7 million dollars. USNSCC is going to be requesting $4.3 million more.


Sea Cadets participating in EOD/MDSU training at Fort Story, Virginia.

Each new Sea Cadet must attend NSCC recruit training, which serves to introduce each "recruit" to the standards and routine involved in the life of a Sea Cadet. Military drill, customs and courtesies, physical fitness training, and other courses related to the sea-going services, are part of the demanding schedule of recruit training.

After graduating from NSCC recruit training, Sea Cadets have the opportunity to attend Advanced Training in many different locations and in many different fields, depending on their personal interests. Cadets must attend at least one Advanced Training each year in order to advance in rank. These training opportunities usually occur during the summer and winter breaks, but also may occur anytime throughout the year.

Advanced Training is held primarily at Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine installations, and can range anywhere from five days up to three weeks in length. The training courses are coordinated and staffed by NSCC Officers and Instructors, and may have outside instructors from all branches of the Armed Forces, who are mainly made up of Active and Reserve Navy, Marine, and Coast Guard personnel.

These training activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Amphibious Operations Training
  • Shipboard Training with the Navy and Coast Guard
  • Coast Guard (Shore)
  • FAA Ground School
  • JAG Legal Training
  • MAA (Master At Arms, the Navy equivalent to Military Police) Law Enforcement Academy
  • POLA (Petty Officer Leadership Academy)
  • Seabee (Naval Construction Battalions)
  • Sailing School
  • Submarine Seminar (basic and advanced)
  • USN Seamanship Academy
  • Firefighting and Damage Control School
  • Port Operations
  • Honor Guard School
  • Field Medical School (Corpsman)
  • Cybersecurity Training
  • Joint Special Operations Command Training
  • SEAL Training
  • SWCC (Special Warfare Combat Crewman) IE "special boats"
  • EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) Training
  • AIRR (Naval Helo Search And Rescue Swimmer) Training
  • Advanced Music Training
  • Land Navigation Training
  • Field Operations Training
  • Homeland security training
  • Search and rescue training
  • Marksmanship training
  • Expeditionary Warfare Training
  • Maritime Interdiction
  • International Exchange Program
  • Photojournalism
  • Scuba
  • Naval Criminal Investigative Service training
  • Coastal Riverine training
  • Locally arranged training
  • Lifeguard
  • U.S. Naval Academy Summer Seminar
  • Due to COVID-19 there are virtual training offered
U.S. Naval Sea Cadet doing EOD/MDSU Training at Norfolk, Virginia in 2006.

Each of the NSCC and NLCC's 396 units perform drills all around the United States during the school year. Some units have a weeknight drill of 2-3 hours, or drill for an entire day over the weekend twice a month, while others drill once a month for an entire weekend. Each unit's drill schedule is set by the unit Commanding Officer and depends on the location of the unit and availability of both adult staff and cadets. During the school year, nearby units often come together to participate in weekend trainings, including Field Training Exercises, Small Arms Training, Shipboard Training, and Regional Flagship Competitions.

The USNSCC owns a ship, the USNSCS Grayfox, homeported in Port Huron, Michigan. The USNSCC also sponsors an International Exchange Program with other Sea Cadet programs around the world: exchange countries include the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea, India, Japan, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Hong Kong, Russia, and Bermuda.[4]

The Band of the West (BOTW) is a 30-member martial music team which is the only active marching band in the USNSCC.[5] The band has been trained by the top military bands in the nation including the United States Navy Band, Marine Band San Diego and the 101st Army Reserve Band.[6]


On 10 March 2020, the Sea Cadet National Headquarters had cancelled its International Exchange Program 2020, for health reasons to keep cadets and adults safe during the Coronavirus Pandemic. Summer trainings were then cancelled, and instead, virtual training options were established online on a website called Online Training Command.

On 20 March 2020, the launch of the Sea Cadet Virtual Academy was made, a website that would show many extracurricular training websites and activities that people could do on their own. A new webinar series on the Zoom meeting platform was also created: "Ask the Chief". Each webinar was hosted once every Saturday, each one having a different topic every time. Promotion exams would also be accepted to be taken at home.

In the month of April, more webinars that would talk about Navy careers were established on Zoom, too. All Sea Cadet activities were cancelled until June. The live webinar series on Youtube, Real Sailors, Real Sea Stories, was also developed. As of now, the suspension is extended to August.


The Navy allows the NSCC and NLCC to wear the uniforms of the United States Navy, only modified with a distinguishing crest and shoulder insignia (Dress Blues) and a Sea Cadets chest patch (NWU's or CUU's). U.S. Navy Uniform Regulations are adhered to by both the NSCC and NLCC. Officer rank insignia are the same as the Navy's. Sea Cadet rate insignia are slightly different in design; the colors are changed to yellow, are in the form of chevrons (V-shaped), and are worn on the right sleeve for the dress uniform. The ranks of E-2 and E-3 have the corresponding number of chevrons (downward facing) and the ranks E-4 through E-6 have the rate of BM (Boatswain's Mate). Chief Petty Officer uniforms are similar to those of the United States Navy, with a different cover device. It is different on the Navy Working Uniform (NWU Type I and III) and Camouflage Utility Uniform (CUU), where the rate insignia is worn on the cadet's collar and is slightly different from the US Navy collar devices. Additionally, a U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps flash must be sewn on the right pocket of the NWU uniform and on the CUU uniform.

As of January 10, 2020 the U.S. Navy has authorized the NWU III Uniform to be worn by Cadets, Midshipmen, Instructors and Officers of the USNSCC. The NWU III uniform worn by the NSCC/NLCC is modified with official USNSCC/USNLCC tapes, shoulder flashes and 8 point cover flash. The only footwear authorized for wear with the NWU III is a black combat style boot. Coyote, Tan and Black "rough out" boots are not authorized for the NSCC.[7][8]

U.S. Navy active, reserve or retired officer and enlisted personnel, may wear their U.S. Navy uniforms, insignia, and qualifications corresponding to their U.S. Navy rank or rating.


Sea cadet rates follow the same path as of the United States Navy and United States Coast Guard enlisted rates from E-1 (Seaman Recruit) through E-7 (chief petty officer) (see United States Navy enlisted rates). An enlisted sailors rating refers to their specialized training. All cadets have to take the Navy correspondence courses and pass Navy examinations to advance in rate. They must have a minimum time served in each rate before moving to the next higher rate. All new Sea Cadets enter the NSCC as an E-1 (Seaman Recruit); detailed requirements for advancement are outlined below.

Instructors are adult volunteers seeking appointment into the USNSCC Officer Corps. Enrolled Instructors wear a modified NSCC officer's uniform without shoulder boards or gold chin-straps on their cover. Everyone who wishes to become an Ensign in the NSCC Officer's Corps must serve in a probationary status for one year prior to approval for appointment. This time as an Instructor serves as the probationary period and allows time for the instructor to complete the NSCC Officer/Midshipman Study Guide. Depending on billet needs and performance as an Instructor, all Instructors may apply for jump promotions past Ensign. All Instructors, however, must serve for 1 year and complete the Officer/Midshipman Study Guide.

Warrant officers are adult leaders who have received direct appointments into the USNSCC Officer Corps. Warrant Officers wear a modified navy warrant officer's (W-2) uniform appropriately marked with the NSCC Insignia. Warrant Officers normally serve a specific function or head a department within the unit and remain in the grade of Warrant Officer, however, may become an Ensign in the normal path of advancement after one year of service if they choose to do so. Candidates for Warrant Officer do not have to complete the Officer/Midshipman Study Guide prior to appointment, but have to have obtained the rank of E-6 or higher in any branch of the Armed Forces, serve 1 year as an instructor, and have a special skill, or speciality in the unit's operation.[9]

Officers must be at least age 21 (18 in the case of MIDN), obtain a waiver if older than 65, be a US citizen, and have successful completion of a background check. *All Officers must meet height and weight requirements in order to wear the USNSCC uniform. USNSCC Officers may be active, reserve or retired military, former military or civilians who are knowledgeable of youth and interested in their training. Instructors are actively recruited from U.S. military commands as well as leaders within the community. The USNSCC does not require specific education or professional qualifications, but applicants with Naval experience are desired. USNSCC officers are authorized to wear U.S. Navy officer uniforms (modified with the USNSCC insignia). All USNSCC officers are appointed by the NSCC Executive Director, CAPT. Paul Zambernardi, USN (Ret) via NSCC National Headquarters in Arlington Virginia. All volunteers who wish to enter the Officer Corps must serve at least one year as an Instructor or Midshipman before an appointment to Ensign or Warrant officer in the Officer Corps can be made.

The following excerpt is taken directly from USNSCC Regulations, Chapter Six Section Seven; "The U.S. Navy has extended the privilege of wearing its uniform, appropriately modified with USNSCC insignia, to officers, instructors, and midshipmen who meet required standards of appearance. Wearing the Navy's uniform is a privilege the USNSCC has been granted by the U.S.Navy, not a right to which NSCC volunteers are entitled."

NSCC officers have no authority over, nor receive a salute from standard military personnel. However, NSCC officers render appropriate courtesies to U.S. military officers of the same or higher grade.

Chief Petty Officer shoulder sleeve insignia

NSCC Officer Rank.png

Advancement and promotion


Rank Correspondence Course Training Time in rate Exam Approval authority
Seaman recruit / SR
N / A N / A N / A N / A N / A
Seaman apprentice / SA
Basic military requirements
NSCC recruit training 3 Months in NSCC N / A Commanding officer
Seaman / SN
Airman / AN
Advanced training (Minimum 7 days) 6 months as E-2 N / A Commanding officer
Petty officer 3rd class / PO3
Petty officer 3rd and 2nd class
Advanced training (Minimum 7 days) 6 months as E-3 PO3 exam Commanding officer
Petty officer 2nd class / PO2
Petty officer 3rd and 2nd class
Advanced training (minimum 7 days), must have graduated from POLA (Petty Officer Leadership Academy) 6 months as E-4 PO2 exam Commanding officer
Petty officer 1st class / PO1
Petty officer 1st class
Advanced training (minimum 7 days) 6 months as E-5 PO1 exam NSCC executive director
Chief petty officer / CPO
Chief petty officer
Advanced training (minimum 7 days)
Staff RT (effective 1 September 2008)
Be 16 years of age
6 Months as E-6 N / A NSCC executive director

Adult officers

Rank Course Training Time in service Other requirements
Midshipman (MIDN)
NSCC Officer/Midshipman Study Guide N / A N / A NSCC E-3 or above, ROTC
Instructor (INST)
NSCC Officer/Midshipman Study Guide N / A N / A N / A
Warrant officer
Chief warrant officer 2 (CWO2)
NSCC officer / Midshipman Study Guide
Complete OPD101
Escort one Basic or one Advanced Training as an INST. Serve a minimum 1 year as an INST. Must have reached E-6 or above in military
Ensign (ENS)
NSCC Officer / Midshipman Study Guide
Complete OPD101
Escort one Basic or one Advanced Training as an INST. One year as MIDN or INST
One year in NSCC
N / A
Lieutenant, junior grade (LTJG)
Complete OPD 201 Escort one Basic or one Advanced Training as an ENS 2 years as ENS.
3 Years Minimum NSCC Time in service
N / A
Lieutenant (LT)
Complete OPD 301 Escort one basic or one advanced training as a LTJG 3 years at LTJG.
6 years minimum NSCC time in service
N / A
Lieutenant commander (LCDR)
N / A Escort one Basic or one Advanced Training as a LT 4 years at LT.
10 years minimum NSCC time in service
1 career TWT must be recruit training

Awards and decorations

Awards and decorations of the Naval Sea Cadet Corps[10]
1st row
Chairman's Medal
2nt row
Honor Ribbon
3rd row
Distinguished Service Ribbon
NLCC Distinguished Service Ribbon
Meritorious Recognition Ribbon
4th row
Commendation Ribbon
Citation Ribbon
NSCC Escort Officer Ribbon
5th row
NLUS Youth Ribbon
Community Service Ribbon
NSCC IEP Officer Ribbon
6th row
Academic Achievement Ribbon
Drug Reduction Service Ribbon
ONR Science Achievement Ribbon
7th row
Recruiting Incentive Ribbon
DAR Outstanding Cadet Award
8th row
SAR Citizenship Award
Unit Commendation Ribbon
9th row
Physical Fitness Ribbon
NSCC Staff Cadet Ribbon
Color Guard Ribbon
10th row
NSCC/NLCC Service Ribbon Ribbon
NLCC Merit Ribbon
Marksman Ribbon
11th row
International Naval Review/OpSail 2000 Ribbon
NSCC 25th/50th Anniversary Ribbon
25th Year Commissioned Ribbon
12th row
USCG Bicentennial Unit Commendation Ribbon
Fifth Year Ribbon
Fourth Year Ribbon
13th row
Third Year Ribbon
Second Year Ribbon
First Year Ribbon


Policy and guidance for the administration and operation of the Cadet Corps programs is established by a National Board of Directors. The National Vice President of the Navy League for Youth Programs serves concurrently as the National Chairman of the NSCC National Board, and the Vice Chairman of the NSCC National Board serves as the National President. Day-to-day administration of the programs is accomplished by a full-time Executive Director and small staff located in Arlington, Virginia.[11]


Mr. Tim Flatley
National Chairman

Captain Paul Zambernardi, USN (Ret.)
Executive Director

Mr. David Hull
Deputy Director



National Headquarters Representatives

Chief Hospital Corpsman VAHAN MANOOGIAN,

USNSCS Grayfox (TWR-825)

Vice Adm. Terrance Etnyre, commander of Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, salutes the Sea Cadets performing as sideboys of the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet training ship Grayfox (TWR 825), Detroit Navy Week, 2007

The USNSCS Grayfox (TWR-825) is currently the largest ship owned by the United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps. She is homeported in Port Huron, Michigan and is used by the USNSCC for shipboard training. The USNSCS prefix stands for "United States Naval Sea Cadet Ship."


See also


  1. ^ Public Law 87-655 (Sept. 10, 1962), at 36 USC 1541.
  2. ^ Recruiting, Retention, and Reservist Promotion Act of 2000 (HR 4208)
  3. ^ Navy Advanced Paygrade requirements
  4. ^ Weggen, Jennifer (10 September 2018). "IEP Manual" (PDF). US Naval Sea Cadet Corps International Exchange Program.
  5. ^ Livengood, Carolyn (2 March 2016). "Annual ceremony held for U.S. Naval Sea Cadets Corps Band of the West Division". The Mercury News. Retrieved 2020.
  6. ^ https://www.seacadetbotw.com/music-training
  7. ^ "USNSCC Homeport". USNSCC Homeport. Retrieved 2020.
  8. ^ "USNSCC Interim Uniform Manual Change #3" (PDF). homeport.seacadets.org. 10 January 2020.
  9. ^ "Rank and Insignia". USNSCC.
  10. ^ "NSCC/NLCC Ribbon Chart". Naval Sea Cadet Corps. Retrieved 2016.
  11. ^ "Headquarters". USNSCC.
  12. ^ "Sea Cadets Website - Team". Sea Cadets.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



Music Scenes