January 16, 2018

Sean Cascadden goes above and beyond for US military

U.S. Naval Sea Cadets of the South Bay Coastal Division salute during the National Anthem at the Redondo Beach Veterans Day ceremony at Veterans Park in Redondo Beach Saturday, November 11, 2017. T(Photo by Thomas R. Cordova Daily Breeze/SCNG)

Parnia Mazhar

Copy Editor

Student Sean Cascadden is not your average teenager. With his high military aspirations, he has accomplished the unimaginable with just fifteen years of life under his belt.

Sophomore Cascadden comes from a military background. For the past several years, him along with his brother have been participating in many extracurricular activities and programs with the intention of joining the United States Naval Academy once they finish high school.

“This whole process has really helped me grow as a person,” Cascadden said. “Even though it’s not exactly a normal life, it’s fun for sure and it’s really helping me prepare for the future.”

Nearly all of Cascadden’s relatives have been involved in the military and Marine Corps. However, if he graduates from the Naval Academy, Cascadden will be the first in his family to become an Officer.

“Growing up in a military family has been a lot of fun and because of it, I’ve moved around all over the U.S.,” Cascadden said. “Though that’s been hard, I’ve made friends all over the states and I get to finish out high school here at Costa which I’m really excited about.”

In preparation for the Naval Academy, Cascadden is on Costa’s water polo, swim and rugby team. Him and his brother also started South Bay Coastal Division, a local Sea Cadet Unit in the Southbay made up of about 40 cadets interested in joining the military.

“Me and my brother noticed that the unit in Palos Verdes was overflowing with people so we thought it would be a good idea to start one here,” Cascadden said. “Our unit has put me in touch with a lot of admirals and gotten me a lot of qualifications that I wouldn’t have gotten without it.”

As a part of the South Bay Coastal Division, cadets have monthly meetings in which the leadership exposes them to different military-related programs, such as listening to a guest speaker who served in Vietnam or attending their commissioning ceremony.

For one week during the winter and two weeks in the summer, the cadets also ship out to military bases where they fall into the ranks of the military, participating in their jobs. Last winter, Cascadden operated radios and soon became general class ham radio qualified.

“Those weeks where we go to an actual camp is probably where we gain the most experience and get a real idea of what jobs we could have in the future,” Cascadden said.

In addition to participating in sports and helping run unit, Cascadden is also a certified Junior Lifeguard, has maintained a 3.9 unweighted grade point average, and plans to take many Advanced Placement courses in his next years at Costa. He is also certified to fight fires on board a naval ship, a process that took a month and a half and was filled with a 300-page book on the engineering parts of a ship, an aptitude test, eight in-depth assignments and a 100-question exam.

“I’m always hyper-motivated to go do something because I get bored of just sitting at home,” Cascadden said. “Managing everything isn’t always easy but I have big aspirations and know that I have to work hard to get where I want to be.”

After the Naval Academy, he hopes to be a Marine Corps infantry officer and eventually get involved with mechanical engineering.

“A problem that people who serve in the military have is that after leaving, they don’t have a job because they spent their whole lives doing something they couldn’t make a living out of outside of the military,” Cascadden said. “With engineering, I’m not only passionate about it, but I know the military is always trying to look for new technology to be produced.”

Though Cascadden has pursued an interest in the military, the lessons he has learned has translated toward his everyday life.

“I’ve learned so much from this whole experience,” Cascadden said. “I’ve especially learned about integrity, putting 100 percent effort in everything I do and the value of putting others before myself.”

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