Check out our schedule of upcoming drills at the "Drill Schedule" tab. We are looking forward to seeing everyone in person again.
Checking in on our graduates, we have had a "Plebe", a "fish", and now we have a Rook. A Rook is what they call a freshman at Norwich University, the oldest of six Senior Military Colleges in the United States. Norwich, located in Northfield, Vermont, has educated and trained generations of leaders for the United States military, including Medal of Honor recipients Navy SEAL CMDCM Edward C. Byers Jr., and Delta Force SGM Thomas Payne.
Stepping into those big shoes is our own Zachary Vasquez, Alamo Battalion graduate and graduate of the Sea Cadet NSWOC SWCC training. RCT Vasquez was very kind to send us an update on how he is doing, which we share below.
Bravo Zulu to RCT Vasquez on your success so far at Norwich. We are looking for more great things from you!
Next in our series of 2020 graduates is CDT Paul E. Conroy, a member of the USMA class of 2024. He says that being a Sea Cadet made it possible for him to attend West Point, and it was great preparation for the rigors of Cadet Basic Training and the military and athletic requirements of plebe year.
The COVID pandemic has shaped his time at West Point. Plebes reported two weeks later than the originally scheduled Reception Day. Friends and family were not allowed on post to see off their Cadets, nor were they allowed to attend Acceptance Day at the conclusion of CBT, when "New Cadets" are officially accepted into the Corps of Cadets. Masks, of course, are ubiquitous, and many classes have on-line sessions. The Corps of Cadets are the only fans allowed in the stands for football. The class of '24 motto is the very appropriate "Like None Before".
The Army goes rolling along, and the Corps still has many in-person classes, lots of PT, fall football games, room inspections, and family-style meals in a mess hall that looks like Hogwarts.
The Corps is organized into companies, each with their own personality. Being Texas-born, CDT Conroy is very happy to be a C-4 Cowboy. He has fun on West Point's Model UN team and the Cowboys' company soccer team. CDT Conroy is most proud of being accepted into the Irregular Warfare Group. In IWG, select members of the Corps of Cadets "enhance their skills in small unit tactics and the troop leading procedures, so that each graduating member is better prepared for a lifetime of service to the Nation as an officer in the United States Army." IWG's faculty instructors are Green Berets, who provide *ahem* motivation during long rucks.
On his visit to West Point, then PO2 Conroy was shown around by a former Sea Cadet and then plebe. He hopes to be able to show you around at West Point, so get working on those applications!
During the pandemic, Sea Cadet activities were severely curtailed. Sadly, we were not able to give a proper farewell to our graduates, and many of the summer training opportunities beloved by our Cadets were unavailable. All of the news was not bad, however. Our Cadets were able to stay in touch via virtual drills, and had the opportunity to complete various online trainings that would satisfy advancement requirements. A previous entry told how we were able to get eight Sea Cadets through RT this summer as well, which was a major achievement for the Cadets and the unit.
In October, we are going to attempt to resume in-person drills, scheduled for October 17-18. There are many details to work out and our adult leadership is planning for us to be together again somewhere in the San Antonio area. We also hope to welcome a few new, prospective Cadets.
If you are interested in visiting the Alamo Battalion to see whether you would like to join, or have friends who are interested, please have them mail the PAO at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know who is coming. The PAO will share scheduling information with families and prospective members as we get closer to our planned October 17 visiting date.
Summer is a critical time in the Sea Cadet calendar. It is when our Cadets can participate in the amazing array of advanced trainings available to Sea Cadets through our national organization. Our Cadets have studied at Merchant Marine schools, conned simulated submarines, flown with the Coast Guard and trained with Camp Pendleton's USMC SRT.
While those activities are fun and a great reward for our Cadets, the most important training that occurs in a typical summer is Recruit Training, the "Sea Cadet Boot Camp". Every Sea Cadet must graduate from RT to receive their first promotion to Seaman Apprentice and to be eligible to register for Advanced Training. With COVID shutting down much of the country, the Sea Cadets introduced a new hybrid Recruit Training. The knowledge portion of RT, including items like the Sailors' Creed and General Orders of a Sentry, were taught to Cadets in an on-line format. Next, in an in-person phase of the training, Cadets learned proper wear of the uniform, drill and ceremony, and military customs and courtesies. Of course, they also had to pass the Sea Cadet Physical Readiness Training Test.
RT would not have been possible without the help of our Cadet Cadre: PO1 Issac Arredondo, PO1 Christavella Arredondo, and PO2 Nicholas Lamendola. Our US Navy Sailor-volunteers ensured that the quality of the training and the welfare of the Cadets was first-rate. We sincerely thank Arredondo Seafood Cafe (get the fried oysters!) for the use of their facilities and for the tremendous hospitality.
Alamo Battalion had eight Cadets graduate from RT this summer, ensuring a healthy influx of new Cadets who will be ready next year to participate in Sea Cadet Advanced Training and ultimately to become leaders of the Battalion. BZ to our newest Cadets!
Members and friends of the Alamo Battalion know CTN2 Grant Bartuska as an always cheerful, always organized leader of the Battalion. We will not be seeing Bartuska around drills anymore, because the Navy has selected him to become a Midshipman Candidate at the US Naval Academy Prep School (NAPS). Next year, he will become a member of the USNA Class of 2025, and eventually an officer in the United States Navy or Marine Corps.
Bartuska has some advice for would-be NAPSters. "Discipline will get you further than talent. You see that a lot here. Tons of D1 athletes fail the PRT because they don't prepare for it. 4.0/35 ACT high school students fail because they never had to study."
All of us at the Alamo Battalion are very proud of M/C Bartuska, and we wish him the best of luck as he embarks on his voyage to become a commissioned officer. He was a great asset to the Alamo Battalion, and we know that he will be a outstanding officer.
The Alamo Battalion leadership has been preparing for the light at the end of the COVID tunnel.
While we were unable to drill in person, and will not be drilling in person in September, we have not been idle. A new class of recruits have completed the first stage of an unprecedented "virtual" recruit training. Other Cadets have done virtual advanced trainings. The efforts of these Cadets and volunteers means that if we can put the COVID epidemic behind us, many of our Cadets will not have their Sea Cadet advancement slowed or stopped.
Watch this space for more information about getting the Alamo Battalion back to normal. We will also have information about our recent graduates and the accomplishments of our volunteers.
On May 1, 2020, Sea Cadet National Headquarters sent out a memorandum with an update on the Sea Cadet Corps response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Highlights of the memo include:
This is not the Spring that we wanted for our Cadets, especially our graduating seniors, nor will it be the summer that we wanted for our returning Cadets to receive the training and leadership experiences that they deserve. In the virtual drill, we will discuss how the Alamo Battalion will make the best of an unprecedented situation. Thank you to our Cadets and their families for their patience.