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Thursday, November 01, 2018

By ALAN KAPLAN, Navy League National President

Each member of our Navy League joins up in a pledge to support the men and women of our sea services and their families. But in actuality, our support is truly a life-cycle process that begins with nurturing youth who are drawn to a lifetime of service, providing direct support when they are active duty, and fostering positive national- and council-level programs so their families can thrive well beyond their official service.

It’s not enough to assume that our sea services will have the skilled manpower they need whenever our nation is challenged. Our Navy League directly supports middle and high school youth through our STEM Institute. Our service men and women are increasingly relying on science, technology, engineering and math to maintain our technological advantages. Our councils can leverage grants so there is grassroots-level support for children around the country to get the education they need to create a better workforce and learn about the core values of our sea services.

Another essential part of our mission is ensuring that there are young men and women who are inspired to serve and see how rewarding that choice really is. Our U.S. Naval Sea Cadet and Navy League Cadet Corps, along with other programs like the Navy Junior ROTC, Marine Corps Junior ROTC and Young Marines, provide our nation’s youth with a glimpse of what their future may hold. They learn the true meanings of honor, commitment, courage, respect and devotion to duty. As a result, our sea services directly benefit from a stronger workforce that has the training it needs to succeed.

According to our partners at the Sea Cadets, more than 10 percent of the midshipmen in the most recent U.S. Naval Academy class were former cadets, and each cadet who enlists saves the Navy more than $14,000 in life-cycle training costs. Our extensive national and council support of these organizations has a direct and meaningful impact on our sea services and their families.

Once these men and women are enlisted, they see the power of our Navy League at ship commissioning and decommissioning ceremonies and other many local events sponsored by Navy League councils. At the national level, our Navy League provides support through events like Sea-Air-Space and the recent 243rd National Capital Navy Birthday Ball. But another important part of our mission of support extends beyond their time in the service.

Our Navy League is zeroing in on our support of sea services spouses, who are often challenged to find consistent work and transition their young children as they follow their spouse through their moves and deployments. We are working closely with key spouse organizations to ensure our support extends to families, so they have a toolset to help them succeed through some of the challenges of being married to the military.

This support extends as well to their children, and even to their grandchildren. Through our Navy League Foundation, we provide more than $50,000 every year in scholarships to the families of sea services members, giving them additional financial aid so they can realize their college dreams.

We should all be so proud of our organization for providing a lifetime of support for those who do so much for us.

One Team — Mission Focused