Jack Eddington, 17, is chief petty officer of the Lexington Division (Denver) of the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps, a program for young people that teaches naval disciplines through leadership and …
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Jack Eddington, 17, is chief petty officer of the Lexington Division (Denver) of the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps, a program for young people that teaches naval disciplines through leadership and technical training. Eddington leads a group of middle school- and high school-aged cadets and has been involved with the Sea Cadets for about six years. He is one of 30 cadets nationwide chosen to participate in the program's inaugural Senior Leadership Academy in Arlington, Virginia, in April.
A junior at Chaparral High School, Eddington runs cross country and track and is captain of the speech and debate team. He wants to study naval aviation upon graduation and plans to continue his service through the Navy.
The Parker Chronicle interviewed Eddington about his selection to the SLA and his time as a Sea Cadet.
What is the Senior Leadership Academy?
In the Sea Cadet program, the highest rank you can achieve is chief. It's similar to the Boy Scouts when you achieve Eagle Scout. When you obtain chief, you're a senior member of the program. This year, the (Sea Cadets) wanted to offer a leadership academy that would teach the senior guys the final military leadership skills you really need when you're at the top of the chain of command. It's a lot of teaching people how to lead on a higher aspect and show people how to be the front of the pack.
What does it mean to be selected?
I'm honored. I put in so much work to help my cadets continue on. When you obtain the rank of chief, you're not there for yourself anymore, you're there to support your cadets. It's their efforts that put me forward, and me teaching them what they have to do, trying to make them better, has made me a better leader.
What have you learned from this experience?
It's taught me a lot of things on being a teenager and putting away those youth ideas and accepting to be part of a bigger thing....What I realized is I've been through the same thing my cadets are going through in high school and middle school. When you're leading a youth program, it helps you realize and be a little bit more humble to what your skills are. It takes a lot of patience, trying to deal with people, trying to learn how to lead.
Why are you so passionate about Sea Cadets?
I've always felt a sense of service. I've always felt I wanted to serve my country, and that's what's pushed me through Sea Cadets and obtain these rankings and obtain as much military knowledge as I can. Some of these things we get to do in the Sea Cadet program, no other person will ever get to do. I got to fly on the back of a C-130 over Clearwater, Florida, and I don't know any other kid that's gotten to do that at my age. I've gotten to talk to World War II vets, Korean vets, Vietnam vets, and listening to some of their stories, what they have to say, and listening to their aspects of what they had to do really drives me.
On another aspect, getting to see my cadets advance, getting to see all the cool things they get to do is amazing to me. I have cadets that get to do training all over the country. It's amazing to see my cadets advance in their own rank and their own course work and obtain their own knowledge. Seeing that pushes me to be better so I can help them be better in the end.
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