Part 5: U.S Coast Guard & Volunteer Naval Sea Cadet Corps.
By Alex Cordero
We conclude our month-long series but the dedication and sacrifice of the extraordinary men and women in the military will continue. Their military careers may have come to an end but the self-motivation to continue to help others endures because it is who they are. Dedication and sacrifice are what we learn from the following stories.
Read More: Part 4
According to TodaysMilitary.com there are a total of 41,000 active-duty service members in the U.S. Coast guard. “The Coast Guard is a small service with a very big job!” shared Brad Webster, a Pasadena native who has dedicated his life to the U.S. Coast Guard. Webster served during the conflict in Bosnia in 1992, Desert Storm, Desert Shield and post 9/11 over 22 years of devoted service in the U.S. Coast Guard. “From life saving, drug interdiction, immigrant interdiction, medical evacuation, fighting fires, sinking vessels, plane crashes and many more; basically helping people. Every day I knew why I had joined!”
His intensive career also included constant training such as boot camp, earning his rate as a machinery technician, MLE (Maritime Law Enforcement Academy), and welding. He had to train constantly throughout his career in order to keep his qualifications up to date.
“My time in the military impacted my life in many ways. Being away from home so much, active and reserve, put pressure on my family life. I was very lucky to find a woman that understood how important the Coast Guard was to me. I told her that by marrying me she was marrying the Coast Guard. With two young children and her working full time she never once complained. You know the statement ‘A man is as good as the woman he is married to?’ I am a very lucky man!”
Webster has been involved with the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps since August of 2005. The U.S. Naval Sea Cadet program consists of children between the ages of 10 and 18 years of age. He joined when his 13-year-old daughter told him that she wanted to join the Navy. He has been the commanding officer for the last six years and became the unit’s senior advisory officer in January of this year.
Another former military member who is also making a difference by volunteering for the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps in Pasadena is Juan Cruz. Cruz was born in El Salvador and came to the States when he was 3 years old. Cruz is currently working on his doctorate degree in organizational leadership with an emphasis on organizational development.
Cruz is involved with some of the physical and educational training the program offers. Through his military background and current education he is able to guide and teach young children skills such as how to iron and properly fix their uniform, how teamwork works, emotional intelligence and characteristics of leadership.
“It is not about yourself, it is about sacrificing. What I’ve learned here, in the civilian world, is that people sacrifice others so that they can gain but in the military you sacrifice yourself so others can gain.” And the latter is the example Cruz embodies in our community. He also shared that volunteering and teaching young children skills he learned in his military career has helped him develop a healthy civilian life.
It has been incredible to see and experience the level of integrity, courage, leadership, honor, dedication and sacrifice of everyone who was brave enough to share their story with all of us during this month. We appreciate each and every one of you for your ability to serve. It was an honor learning from all of you.