After a nine-day training camp for the Natibu Division of U.S. Naval Sea Cadets that began on July 7, 25 sea cadet recruits ages 10 to 18 graduated last Friday, June 15, in a ceremony at the Canoe Federation Utt at Guma’ Higai in Susupe.
The ceremony was attended by families and parents of recruits, along with Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, chief of staff Will Castro, commanding officer Ray Alvarez, executive officer Regino Celis Jr., master navigators Cecilio Raikiulipiy, Antonia Pialug and Mario Benito, and Lt. Cmdr. Jared Moravec. The ceremony was led by retired U.S Navy Capt. Michael Bacher.
The 20 graduates of the Naval Sea Cadet Corps, which are students aged 13 to 18, were Christian James Ada, Frances Borja, Wei Le Chen, Colton Jay Cruz, Conrad Cruz, Alexander Fu Tristan Patrick Manglona, Darlincia Carina Masga, Heaven Murphy, Leanalyn Santos Reyes, Marvin Reyes, Keanu Silva, Alfonso Taitano Jr., Nathan Taitano, Travis Taitano, Dreyvan Villagomez, Mary Wang, Angela (Liam) Xu, Tony Xu, and Kenshiro Yanai. The NSCC is the senior program that exposes cadets to the full rigors of a regimented training program.
The five graduates of the Navy League Cadet Corps, which are students aged 10-12 are Gregory Camacho, Hedy Fu, Daniel Malus, Michael Joe Pangilinan, and David Xing. The NLCC is the junior program that introduces cadets to naval life through introduction in basic seamanship and leadership.
One cadet who stood out among the rest was Colton Jay Cruz, who told Saipan Tribune that he felt honored to be chosen as the top cadet in his graduating class. He said the experience was “fun, rewarding,” and that he “learned a lot.”
His mother, Triny Cruz, said after the ceremony that she will support her son no matter what direction he chooses, whether it be to join military service or not. “I wasn’t expecting my son to be on the top, but we’re very proud of him. And I can’t thank Natibu enough. This is such a good experience for the children of the CNMI,” she added.
Torres congratulated the graduates and said that the opportunity for “our youth to be trained to get character, integrity, and self-pride” are the things that they strive for and “what we do for the next generation.” He added that he looks forward to the continuation of a stronger program.
Bacher thanked and acknowledged the cadets, parents, officers, volunteers, and sponsors for supporting the Natibu Division in its inaugural program in the CNMI.
“This would not have been possible if not for the tireless work of our staff, office, staff officer and cadet who were sent here by U.S. Navy Sea Cadet and headquarters to ensure we conducted the recruit training the proper way, the U.S. Navy Sea Cadet way,” he added.
The recruits went through physical training, drill practice, firefighting, marching, and sailing.
The Navy Sea Cadet Corps is a federally chartered non-profit civilian youth training organization sponsored by the Navy League and supported by the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard. It is described as a regimented youth program similar to JROTC but with a focus on seagoing services.
The program builds leaders of character. Goals are to develop interest in seamanship and seagoing skills, instill principles of good citizenship and strong moral character, demonstrate the value of a substance-free lifestyle and expose cadets to the prestige of a military or merchant marine career.
To inquire or support the program, contact Alvarez at (670) 989-7266 or Celis at (670) 483-5674. For more info about Saipan Sailing School, contact Capt. Dave Johansen at (670) 483-7901.