United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps

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United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps
Seal of the USNSCC.svg
Founded1958; 64 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"
ColorsSea Cadet Blue and Gold   
Anniversaries10 September 1962 (federal incorporation)
Executive Director RADM Andrew Lennon, USN (Ret.)

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]

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 before they turn 24 years old,[3] and E-2 in the Marine Corps or other services, due to the training they receive.


The USNSCC is roughly 13,000 strong (12/1/19). For FY20, U.S. Congress will most likely give $1.7 million. 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.

The U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps and the U.S. Coast Guard have a memorandum of understanding that facilitates training opportunities for the cadets.

U.S. Navy training activities include, but are not limited to:[4]

Flag of the Chicago Division of the USNSCC. Other divisions use this same flag, just with the division name changed at the bottom.
  • Amphibious Operations Training
  • Shipboard training
  • 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)
  • 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 trainings 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.[5]

The Band of the West (BOTW) is a 30-member martial music team which is the only active marching band in the USNSCC.[6] 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.[7]


As of 10 January 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.[8][9]


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.[10]

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[edit]


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[edit]

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[edit]

Awards and decorations of the Naval Sea Cadet Corps[11]
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 ROTC Award DAR Outstanding Cadet Award
8th row SAR Citizenship Award VFW NSCC Ribbon 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.[12]

USNSCS Grayfox (TWR-825)[edit]

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[edit]


  1. ^ Public Law 87-655 (10 Sept. 1962), at 36 USC 1541.
  2. ^ "Recruiting, Retention, and Reservist Promotion Act of 2000 (HR 4208)". Archived from the original on 14 July 2012. Retrieved 23 January 2007.
  3. ^ Navy Advanced Paygrade requirements
  4. ^ "Naval Sea Systems Command > Home > Warfare Centers > NSWC Crane > Partnerships > Educational Outreach > Sea Cadets". navsea.navy.mil. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
  5. ^ Weggen, Jennifer (10 September 2018). "IEP Manual" (PDF). US Naval Sea Cadet Corps International Exchange Program.
  6. ^ Livengood, Carolyn (2 March 2016). "Annual ceremony held for U.S. Naval Sea Cadets Corps Band of the West Division". The Mercury News. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  7. ^ https://www.seacadetbotw.com/music-training
  8. ^ "USNSCC Homeport". USNSCC Homeport. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  9. ^ "USNSCC Interim Uniform Manual Change #3" (PDF). homeport.seacadets.org. 10 January 2020.
  10. ^ "Rank and Insignia". USNSCC.
  11. ^ "NSCC/NLCC Ribbon Chart". Naval Sea Cadet Corps. Retrieved 5 January 2016.
  12. ^ "Headquarters". USNSCC.

External links[edit]