A student attending Madison #1 School, Jade DeFonce, is a member of the Veteran’s Pride Battalion in the Phoenix/Glendale area and was a part of this boot camp training. Leaguer Cadet Apprentice Jade DeFonce was in the Bravo Company at this training. League cadets were trained and tutored by higher ranked teens in the U.S. Sea Cadet Corps (ages 13 to 18) and supervised by adult staff. Bravo Company outshined the other two companies and earned the title Honor Company. One cadet from each company has the opportunity to earn the title Honor Cadet. Cadet Jade DeFonce earned that title from the Honor Company, Bravo Company. Here is what she had to say about her experience:
Q. Tell us about the Honor Cadet title you received?
A. The Honor Cadet title means that I was noticed and recognized. I feel very proud because the competition was stiff. When I got back home there was a big banner on my garage that said “Bravo Zulu, Jade DeFonce, Honor Cadet, VPB is Proud.” Which means “Good job”. VPB is my battalion (Veterans Pride Battalion). I felt very surprised and… WOW!
Q. What was one of the hardest things you had to do that week?
A. I think that the hardest thing I had to do at boot camp was probably the Physical Training (aka PT). It was hard because two weeks before my mom and I were scared that I wouldn’t pass the test by one sit up or two push-ups, but I did it. Instead of meeting the minimum standard I achieved national level for the mile run, sit ups and push ups. Graduation was hard too because you’re up in front of your parents and you don’t want to mess up. Especially if your Dad (step) is a Retired Command Master Chief of the Navy.
Q. Would you go back next year?
A. Yes, I would go back because it would give me more experience for Military boot camp. Next year I plan to attend a two-week Sea Cadet boot camp. After I graduate that I can attend so many other cool camps… scuba, photo journalism, sailing, leadership, etc…!
Q. What do you do with this type of training for your future?
A. This training gives me experience in all kinds of ways. For example it gives me an idea of how fast we need to get ready in the morning, when we need to do personal hygiene, PT and how it might be done. We gave respect and earned it back. This training expects a lot from us and gave us a lot of responsibility.
Q. Did you do anything else really cool this summer?
A. I performed a Color Guard at Munds Park on the Fourth of July, we carried our nation’s ensign and led the parade. What an amazing experience! I went to “Flagstaff Extreme” recently and I completed all the adult courses earning a shirt. In August my unit, Veterans Pride Battalion, performed the Color Guard for the Arizona Diamondbacks the day that Randy Johnson’s number was retired.
Jade is an eighth grader at Madison #1 School.