By Cadet Sergeant Jacob Pedder-Platt, Royal Marines Cadets
International Exchange USA, Newport, R.I.
First of all, I must convey my thanks: to your organisation as a whole, to the IEP Program and their staff (noticeably Lt. Cmdr. Michael Campbell and Cdr. Duncan Rowles), and to the awesome cadets we had to guide and educate us on the ways of the USNSCC. It would be wrong to ignore the contributions of some your cadets, in particular Trent Azevedo, Kyle King, Emily Lo Vece, and Vivian Dees. Without you guys, I’d have been stranded over 3,170 miles from home. You made me feel comfortable in my new environment.
As a cadet usually most comfortable with a rifle in hand, tucked into a shell scrape and covered in camouflage cream, the new, awe-inspiring setting of Naval Station Newport was a much needed reprieve from a heavy year of schoolwork. As a group of cadets from the U.S., the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, Bermuda and New Zealand, we did lots of amazing things, like kayaking, exploring New York City and Boston and even seeing "Wicked" on Broadway — an experience I will cherish for life.
One of my favourite activities was on the Fourth of July: we went to Battleship Cove in Massachusetts to see the ships. I have a fantastic memory of an Australian cadet, Petty Officer King, and me playing with one of the AAA guns, designating targets and pretending to fire, while creating a bond that civilians just don’t have. This day ended by sitting and watching the most impressive fireworks display imaginable, spending quality time in the beautiful sunset. That day also highlighted that how no matter how much time passes, as a British person in the U.S., you will be woken up earlier than the rest to the tune of Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever”... and it was brilliant.
To the younger cadets, I implore you to look at your IEP program and see parts of the world you may have always wanted to. As a Patriots fan and a player of your football, visiting New England was a dream-come-true for me. I’ve made friends for life all over the world: from places like Hong Kong and Bermuda to Queensland and even Jacksonville, Florida. I must once again thank you for allowing such experiences to occur, and I would be more than happy to come across any of the IEP 2016 group again. I may meet more USNSCC Cadets on exchanges here in the UK, or in another country.
Also, congratulations to Kyle King and Vivian Dees on their promotions to chief petty officer. Bravo Zulu!