Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter)
The nearly 70 year old Coast Guard Cutter Sundew is allegedly retired but this weekend, she crawled with sailors.
On a hot, humid, hazy Sunday morning, the crew jumped out of their racks and headed topside for drills.
If the crew members look a little young, they are. They're teenagers in the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps.
"It encourages Navy life and we drill with active duty units once a month." said instructor Davan Scott.
Davan Scott is a Navy vet serving as an instructor with the Twin Ports Division of the cadets.
This weekend, they were joined by divisions from the Twin Cities and southern Minnesota for drill.
The youngsters love the work.
"You don't get to do this everyday. You see it in the movies and you see naval personnel doing their thing and you say I want to do that!" said cadet Jefferey Shand.
Jeffery Shand, a senior at East High School, has been doing that for four years now.
He's experienced enough to help instruct some of the drills.
Those drills are done as realistically and professionally as possible.
"We wear the same uniforms as the U.S. Navy and they're held to the same standards if not higher because they represent the sea cadets but when people see them they think Navy so they represent the U.S. Navy as well." said Scott.
The shipboard experience for the cadets is similar to what an active duty sailor or Coastie would face.
"We run the ship like an active ship. They do colors and stand watches and they take care of duties like cleaning and shipboard preservation and fire drills. They get the whole shebang!" said Scott.
The U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps is a congressionally mandated non profit youth organization.
Though it is militaristic, cadets are not required to ever join a service.
Jeffery Shand wants to become a Navy Corpsman but encourages non–military minded youth to give the corps a try.
"Even if you're not into that, Sea Cadets is one of the coolest things I've ever done. You get to do things no kid will ever get to do." said Shand.
In Duluth, Dave Anderson, the Northland's News Center.
The Sundew is now owned by businessman Jeff Foster.
Along with the Sea Cadets, he enjoys sharing his ship with the Sea Scouts, the Lake Superior Marine Museum and the Coast Guard Auxiliary.