Naval Sea Cadets in Madison Learn Military Drills and Life Skills 

There was a nervous energy at the American Legion in Madison on Sunday. It was open ranks inspection day for the U.S. Naval Sea Cadets from the Naval Combat Battalion Number 39.For Kaitlyn Babin, this was her first time leading the cadets–12 of them whose ages ranged from 11 to 18-years-old. “It was pretty scary but we did pretty good I think,” said Kaitlyn. But the cadets did better than pretty good, they passed the annual inspection without a problem.”It was awesome,” exclaimed E1 Sea Cadet Courtney Brown. The cadets of varying divisions meet one weekend a month to study military training manuals and learn important survival skills. “You learn a lot of things. You simply learn to tie you shoes and how to make a bed the right way,” said Kaitlyn. “You will have to get serious sometimes but you we do have lots of fun,” said Conner Fennel, a second class pety officer.They do have fun. Some of cadets have toured Bath Iron Works and stayed at the Coast Guard station. Others have taken training trips around the country.”I went scuba diving with sea cadets for 7 days and that was amazing,’ said Kaitlyn. In the long run, the sea cadets will also learn important life lessons. LCDR David Hull, the Regional Director of US Naval Sea Cadets who inspected the unit on Sunday, has “seen cadets who have really developed into responsible young men and women. Some who maybe weren’t on the best path had the greatest group of peers when the first came in and now go on to careers in the Navy, Marine Corp., Coast Guard.” “Now that I know CPR and stuff I want to go into the medical field,” said Courtney. “It gives me more knowledge of what I can do and mostly it gives me discipline,” added Kaitlyn. It helps that they are led by a great example. Their Commanding Officer, Major Robert E. Demchak, was also honored at the ceremony as the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Instructor of the Year–the best in the United States for 2012. Having presented the award to Mjr. Demchak, LCDR. Hall could not thank Mjr. Demchak enough, “There were a lot of problems in this area prior to Mjr. Demchak’s arrival and he really stepped in and stepped up. He took a unit that was teetering and made it one of the power houses for sea cadets in all of Maine.”While Mjr. Demchak has had the tough job of turning a shaky program around, he could not have been more proud of his sea cadets.It’s “like I’m teaching my grand kids,” he said smiling.