Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Members of Signal Mountain Middle/High School’s recently formed chapter of the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps have returned from their summer training experiences eager to share stories at their first fall meeting, where participants were also taught to properly fold a flag by members of the American Legion.
Over the summer, various training camps and advanced training programs across the country were attended by the cadets, many of whom were experiencing training for the first time.
Two cadets received the recognition of battalion honor cadet, which is selected by the camp’s officers and considered to be the most outstanding of all cadets at that particular camp, said Lt. j.g. Larry Morgan, executive officer of the SMMHS Sea Cadets chapter.
“Two out of 12 [SMMHS cadets] received that honor, which is huge,” he said of cadets Olga Honcharova and Jessica Merkle, who were both attending training camp for the first time.
Olga was chosen for the honor above more than 200 other cadets at Camp Pendleton in San Diego, Calif., and Jessica beat out more than 100 others at her training in Lavinia, Tenn.
“I think they were impressed because I hadn’t been in Sea Cadets for very long,” said Jessica, who became a cadet just three weeks prior to attending training.
Chief Petty Officer Ariel Kehoe is one of very few cadets nationwide to achieve the title, which she said took her two to three years of hard work to accomplish.
“To be chief is like reaching a goal that almost seems impossible,” said Ariel, who had to complete all petty officer coursework and pass a test to attain the title, waiting six months between each promotion.
She said although she is still an enlisted Sea Cadet, she will now be training more as an officer than as a cadet. She will take on more official duties such as devising the chapter’s “plan of the day” for its meetings and making sure it is properly carried out.