United States Naval Sea Cadets Corps (USNSCC) Challenger Division aboard USS Pearl Harbor
A group of cadets from the United States Naval Sea Cadets Corps Challenger Division climbed aboard USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) for an overnight visit at Naval Base San Diego, March 8-9
Challenger Division Sea Cadets Spend the Night aboard USS Pearl Harbor
By Ensign Jessica Hyder, USS Pearl Harbor Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO – A group of cadets from the United States Naval Sea Cadets Corps (USNSCC) Challenger Division from local high schools and middle schools climbed aboard USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) for an overnight visit at Naval Base San Diego March 8-9.

The overnight visit was designed to give the cadets a hands-on look at life on board a naval vessel and the life of a U.S. Navy Sailor.

"Since our age ranges from 13 to 17 years of age, we have a diverse interest level. Our division drills once a month on our high school campus, so this overnight visit is a chance to show off the Marine Corps and Navy team,” said Lt. Cmdr. Melissa Franklin, the senior leader and instructor of USNSCC Challenger Division. “It takes every source to get the job done, and that is what our students are taught.”

Once on board, the students first took an all-inclusive tour of the ship. Dring the tour, they learned about the multiple missions and roles the ship is required to perform as they toured through the bridge wings, the pilothouse, combat information center, the galley and mess decks, and the medical ward.

The group of cadets also visited topside spaces like the foc'sle, well deck and flight deck to learn about the gear Sailors use and rely on every day to perform their job requirements.

While on board, the cadets also spoke with Sailors about careers in the Navy and the different ratings and jobs available. Many participated in medical, damage control and weapons demonstrations throughout the two-day visit. Cadets also worked side-by-side with duty section personnel and celebrated with a movie night on the mess decks.

The leadership of Pearl Harbor welcomed the group with open arms for a weekend of training that will not soon forget.

"We couldn’t be more thrilled to have you with us this weekend," said Cmdr. Karrey D. Sanders, Pearl Harbor’s commanding officer, as he welcomed them aboard Saturday morning. “Do not be afraid to ask questions and use this as an opportunity to experience what the Navy has to offer.”

For some cadets, this was their first time on board a U.S. Navy ship and the opportunity to interact with Sailors provided them an immersive introductory experience.

"I think the more hands-on activities we planned, the more the cadets enjoyed themselves,” said Ensign Jessica Hyder, Pearl Harbor’s public affairs officer. “We wanted to get them excited about the military, but to balance that with authentic information and experiences relating to life and work aboard a Naval vessel.”
The Challenger Division is the largest and most active division of Sea Cadets on the West Coast. The group’s leadership considers an annual ship visit in San Diego to be a priority so that the cadets can experience shipboard life.

Pearl Harbor will soon enter an extended docking phase maintenance availability period for equipment upgrades in their homeport of San Diego.
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