Thursday, July 14, 2005

Sea Cadets visit for firefighting class

Published in the Current

SOUTH PORTLAND (July 14, 2005): Just over a dozen U.S. Navy Sea Cadets, including three from California and one from New Mexico, visited South Portland this week for training in Maine’s first firefighting and damage-control class for Sea Cadets.

The cadets, young men and women between the ages of 14 and 18, stayed at the Stewart Morrill American Legion Post on Broadway, and marched along the South Portland Greenbelt walkway to and from classes at the Coast Guard station on High Street.

Only one of the cadets was from Maine, while the others came from across the country. The class was organized by Roger Sabourin of South Portland, a retired Navy lieutenant who is commander of the Legion post and commander of the South Portland-based CG Group Portland Division of the U.S. Navy Sea Cadets.

The cadets’ week of classes, which included a trip to South Portland’s Central Fire Station for classes about fighting structure fires, earned them certification as firefighters on land and aboard ships.

The culminating drill involved a training unit owned by the Coast Guard, which places trainees in a shipboard situation where as many as eight different things can go wrong at once, Sabourin said. That teaches them to prioritize what pipes to repair first, for example.

On their first day, the cadets jumped right in, practicing using fire hydrants and carrying fire hoses in relay races. Each of them had to pass a physical fitness test before entering the class, which is just one of many the Sea Cadets program offers – including a version of the Navy SEAL special-operations classes.