Reserve Force Master Chief Hosts Virtual Q&A With Sea Cadets
By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Craig Rodarte
| June 16, 2020
WASHINGTON -- Reserve Force Master Chief Chris Kotz and a panel of Reservists joined more than 40 members of the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps (USNSCC) on a virtual call to field questions about careers in the Navy and Navy Reserve, June 5.
The virtual environment allowed the panel and cadets a chance to invest personal one-on-one time despite the restrictions of face-to-face interactions and travel.
“Opportunities to engage with active duty personnel and Reservists are one of the best things that the program offers,” said USNSCC Chief Jens Sorensen, a high school senior from Aberdeen, New Jersey who has been a part of the Sea Cadet program for five years. “It allows cadets to meet the people involved, and I think it’s valuable to see the humans behind the titles and institutions, as well as collect new information. I know I learned from the event.”
The panel, including Kotz and five Reserve 2nd Class Petty Officers, led the call with short back stories of their naval career and experience in the Navy Reserve and then turned it over to the cadets for questions.
“Cadet units routinely drill at many locations in the interior of our nation, where the Navy has Navy Operational Support Centers in areas where the Navy does not have a sea base,” said Kotz. “Our Navy Reserve activities host the local unit, and this exposes the young cadets to U.S. Navy Sailors, providing a basis for role modeling and mentorship. The training in Naval Science and Seamanship serve as an excellent foundation for a career in the Navy and, hopefully, the Navy Reserve.”
“The majority of our Reserve force has come from post active-duty, meaning you completed four years active duty, then you entered the Reserve force,” said Kotz during the call explaining that there are Sailors who come straight into the Navy Reserve as well. “We do have what we call new accession training, those are Sailors who have not served active duty. Those Sailors still go to boot camp, primary school for training and then right into a Reserve capacity.”
Many of the Sea Cadet questions ranged from what it’s like in special operation units, making a choice between serving the active-duty Navy or as a Reserve Sailor, balancing Navy service and family life, details about specific rates, and even questions about challenges being the Reserve Force Master Chief.
“Undeniably it is a privilege,” said Kotz to the last questions adding that even though the challenges of his position has put strain on his family and he’s missed key milestones in his kids lives, the experience has been incredible.
One cadet asked how military training stacks up against civilian training, specifically about being a Reserve Seabee as compared to a construction professional in the civilian world.
“It’s a pretty tight standard when it comes to our building specifications,” said panel member Builder 2nd Class Patrick Diggins-Davis assigned Navy Mobile Construction Battalion 25 Detachment Milwaukee, who says some building standards set on Seabees exceed civilian expectations. “We have an extensive manual that we’re held to. It tells us what we can and cannot do.”
Some cadets are closer to high school graduation and making career decisions, and the virtual call helped define their career path.
“I have been accepted into the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and am due to report on July 10th,” said USNSCC Chief Patience Simes, a high school senior from Knoxville, Tenn. who has been a Sea Cadet for six years. “I feel more focused on the paths that I can take upon graduating.”
Kotz, who has a vested interest in the program from years of active participation, expressed that the skills cadets learn are applicable with or without continuing to a military education.
“The Sea Cadet Corps instill our youth with the principles of citizenship and democracy, while teaching strong moral character, teamwork and leadership,” said Kotz. “These skills will help them thrive not only in military service, but throughout life.”
USNSCC is a national youth leadership development organization that promotes interest and skill in naval disciplines while instilling strong moral character and life skills through leadership and technical programs modeled after the Navy's professional development system.
For more information about the Navy Reserve, visit https://www.facebook.com/U.S.NavyReserve/
For more information about the USNSCC, visit https://www.seacadets.org