Civilian Sea Cadets instructor wearing regulation Summer Whites with O-5 insignia—Bad form?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Kierkegaard, Jun 18, 2019.

  1. Kierkegaard

    Kierkegaard Member

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    Something happened a little while ago that I’m still slightly vexed by, and I’m betting someone on here can make an informed judgement, so here it is:

    As luck would have it, I have summer leave during Fleet Week in my city. One day I decide to tour one of the ships in port with some friends. It was okay, but definitely geared toward civilians with a casual interest in learning about the Navy, which is still great. Obviously there were plenty of officers and enlisted around. Up on the quarterdeck is a man passed middle age, wearing full Summer Whites with all the insignia of an O-5, shoulder boards, cover and all.

    He’s getting saluted by everyone, including sergeants, chiefs, and if I recall correctly at least one JO as well. He was also huddled by tourists the entire time asking him questions. At one point someone asked him about his naval career, and when pressed he eventually revealed that he’s not in the Navy. He was an enlisted sailor for 2 years back in the 80’s and has been a civilian ever since, but is now a “Commander” in the Sea Cadets and therefore is allowed to wear the uniform, a claim which to me seemed like a rather dubious justification.

    My first reaction was to think that this was a pretty trashy and pathetic thing to do. He didn’t have any Sea Cadet insignia or anything to distinguish him from an actual officer. He clearly was aiming to draw attention to himself and enjoyed the spotlight of the uniform. Except he didn’t earn it (and that’s not its purpose anyway). Is this a step below stolen valor? My gut reaction and common sense tell me yes. Am I right or wrong to think this? Like I said my knowledge of the etiquette and tradition here is limited so maybe someone can explain.

    BTW I’m not knocking Sea Cadets or JROTC. They’re fine activities for young folks interested in the military. Just craving answers to whether this one person was or was not a jerk in his actions.
     
  2. NJROTC-CC

    NJROTC-CC Member

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    Yes, to me it is a step below stolen valor. I agree with you. He is a jerk. In my son's NJROTC unit his NSI's are two retired Senior Chiefs and a retired LCDR. They wear the actual uniforms that they earned while in the service. And, I believe half of their salary is paid by the Navy and half by the school district. So, while I don't know about Sea Cadets, I seriously doubt that kind of nonsense would ever occur in NJROTC because I believe that they only employ civilians who are retired military with at least senior NCO status and a lot of years in service.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2019
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  3. Magna Venari

    Magna Venari Member

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    That is not acceptable. In Young Marines, adults do not wear Marine Corps uniforms unless they are currently enlisted or retired. They wear the rank they earned. In Marine Corps JROTC, instructors wear their uniforms and their last rank.

    I would have called him out on that. My father would have mopped the deck with him right then and there. He is a retired old school Navy Chief.
     
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  4. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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    The junior ROTCs are DOD-backed, with instructors authorized to wear the uniform, and are salaried employees, as described in the post above.

    Sea Cadets is an independent non-profit with Navy approval of their mission.

    Have some fun poring through this, which is the guidance for the cadets in the program:
    http://homeport.seacadets.org/HomeportDownloads/Library/110/2011 Uniform Regulations.pdf

    The instructors are all volunteers. No doubt there is an instruction on their uniforms, but it seems to me I’ve seen them with a Sea Cadet patch on, as a differentiation mark.

    I suspect the Navy thinks the value of the program as youth leadership and Navy-familiarization program outweighs the optics of someone like this, as annoying as it is. Of course, we always notice THAT GUY and overlook the quietly squared-away ones.
     
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  5. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt 5-Year Member

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    A cry for attention and free drinks at the bar.

    May find himself on the wrong side of a tune up if he mixes with the wrong crowd.
     
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  6. NJROTC-CC

    NJROTC-CC Member

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    Even in Boy Scouts (at least it was called Boy Scouts when I volunteered) the only rank that adult leaders are allowed to wear is Eagle Scout (if they earned it as a youth.) So, even though I was a star scout as a youth, when I was an assistant scout master for my son's troop, I was not allowed to wear even the star rank.
     
  7. Magna Venari

    Magna Venari Member

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    I shot a message off to a friend who has been involved with Sea Cadets since high school, with his own children going through the program now. We shall see what he says.
     
  8. THParent

    THParent Member

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    He should have had a sea cadets patch on his left shoulder. He's wrong for walking around like that and accepting salutes.
     
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  9. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe 5-Year Member

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    Not at all the same but this reminds me of when there would be some CG Auxiliary folks on base. There would be an Aux. Officer with the rank insignia of say Commander or Captain in uniform, now the Aux officer ranks and braids are silver rather then gold and they have an "A" in the center of the rank insignia, but there would always be some enlisted and even a couple JO's that would get all confused when they saw them trying to decide if they should salute or not.

    The Sea Cadet guy was in bad form in my opinion.
     
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  10. Devil Doc

    Devil Doc Teufel Doc

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    I’m saluting him right now.
     
  11. NJROTC-CC

    NJROTC-CC Member

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    The one finger salute?
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2019
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  12. Magna Venari

    Magna Venari Member

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    :rofl:
     
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  13. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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    That particular salute is often encoded with the three middle fingers. Decoding is easy - just peel back the two outboard fingers to see the message in the clear.
     
  14. THParent

    THParent Member

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    I would lose it, if I saw this clown shoe accepting salutes. He would get dressed down in front of everyone.
    There would be some knife hand and everything that goes with it.
     
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  15. SADad

    SADad New Member

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    Sea Cadet volunteer here with a few comments. The comments are only mine; I don't speak for the USNSCC.

    The OP did not describe an authorized uniform of the Sea Cadet Corps.
    1. Our officers top out at O-4 LCDR. There is no such thing as a Sea Cadet O-5. I've seen Sea Cadet officers wearing O-6 insignia and being addressed as Captain, but they are retired Navy Captains who are now volunteering to help kids. Those are the good guys.
    2. Our "Officer Summer White" uniform requires both left and right Sea Cadet shoulder flashes saying "US Naval Sea Cadets" one inch below the shoulder seam. If you can see the shoulder board, you should be able to see the flash.
    3. Our shoulder boards do not have a Line Officer Star; they have the Sea Cadet Insignia in its place.
    4. Our officer combination cover has the NSCC insignia (only one fouled anchor behind the shield), not the Navy insignia. Of course, since the NSCC tops out at O-4, there should not be scrambled eggs on an NSCC cover.
    Make of that what you will.

    For what it's worth, NSCC regulations allow the wearing of earned DoD awards on the NSCC uniform. If you see a NSCC officer wearing DoD-issued awards, you are almost certainly seeing a veteran who is now a volunteer. I've seen Sea Cadet officers wearing Enlisted Submarine or Surface Warfare insignia, for example. They were earned.

    Yes, there are regulations regarding the uniform, and everything else, for the Sea Cadets. Click if you're curious.

    We are taught to return salutes from uniformed military as a matter of courtesy; we must NEVER demand them. We are often guests on military installations (which is where the whole saluting issue usually arises), and we need to be good and courteous guests for our Cadets' sake.

    Many Sea Cadet instructors and officers wear the "alternate uniform", which is a navy blue polo shirt (with a Sea Cadet insignia on the breast) and khakis. Our NHQ encourages instructors and officers who can wear the Navy-style uniform (summer whites, dress blues, khakis, NWU Type 1s) -- well, without looking terrible -- to do so. If I could just lose a few pounds . . .

    What we do in the NSCC is done for the kids. Not the adult volunteers, just the kids. Those who wear a uniform should do it for the kids, or not do it at all. Putting on an NSCC uniform (if that is what he was wearing) -- without supervising cadets -- and parading around at Fleet Week? Nope.

    Mandatory Advertisement: If you want to help good kids who want to learn more about the sea services, and you live reasonably close to a Sea Cadet unit, we can use your help (and your money *grin*). If you have a kid aged 10 through high school who fits that profile, contact your local unit to see about a visit. You don't have to be prior service or have a kid in the program to be a volunteer. Our cadets who advance to E-3 can enlist as E-3s in the Navy and E-2s in the other services. I am told that they are more successful in recruit training, and have a higher retention rate overall. Roughly 10% of every plebe class at USNA are Sea Cadet graduates. The cadets have fun too. They can do Sea Cadet recruit training at Great Lakes. They can then learn to sail, SCUBA dive, breach doors, set ambushes, provide medical care in the field, and much more. Did I mention it was fun? Check out our national website, and help the next generation get its head screwed on correctly.

    As to the guy that the OP saw? Better men than I can speculate about his motives, but no volunteer in my unit would be caught dead doing what the OP described.
     
  16. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt 5-Year Member

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    Excellent response @SADad! Informative, facts with citations, informed commentary. Well done.

    I am back to a cry for attention and free drinks at the bar.
     
  17. Kierkegaard

    Kierkegaard Member

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    Interesting points/perspectives. I knew you folks would have opinions. Also appreciate @SADad for the fascinating insight.

    I guess this is the final verdict then: This gentleman had no business wearing that uniform, and is a pompous schmuck, to put it mildly.
     
  18. justdoit19

    justdoit19 Member

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    Super interesting read!!
     
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  19. Old Navy BGO

    Old Navy BGO 5-Year Member

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    Thanks SADad for the detailed response. I thought that there was some distinction between Sea Cadet Uniforms and Active Duty. I will go a step further with the question and wonder whether this guy is even associated with Sea Cadets, or was this just an weak explanation to get away from a Stolen Valor confrontation (i.e. throwing up a smoke screen to make his get-a-way, correctly guessing that even the active duty officers really don't know the Sea Cadet uniform regs).

    I also question what this guy was doing on the Quarterdeck of a Naval Vessel answering questions. I understand this was Fleet Week somewhere, and presume there are a lot of people in Uniform so it may not be that unusual. I wasn't a SWO, but spent enough time on Midshipman Cruise to know a) people shouldn't be lingering around on the Quarterdeck, and b) if an 0-5 is hanging around on the ship, the Skipper, XO or at least CDO, would want to greet him and find out who he is.
     
  20. AF6872

    AF6872 10-Year Member

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    Walking from the compound to the NCO Club one day long ago I saluted what I thought was a high ranking officer. Had all the regalia. Upon passing I noticed that his rank was that of Red Cross. You can't imagine how stupid I felt. USO was always better any time anywhere and did not charge for stamps for mail home. Local Red Cross was always great for my Father in Law's and Wife's family when the river rose but that was people in the local area not national. For those going through BWI USO lounge is great for all in transit through BWI.
     
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