By MC1 Meranda Keller, Navy Public Affairs Support Element Detachment Hawaii
U.S. Naval Sea Cadets and future service members who are a part of the Honolulu Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) participated in a Pearl Harbor Colors honors and heritage ceremony hosted July 16 by Navy Region Hawaii at the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument.
Veterans, past and present, celebrated the enlistment of 34 service candidates into the ranks of the armed forces.
“This morning’s ceremony is what Pearl Harbor Colors is all about,” said Jim Neuman, the Pearl Harbor Colors coordinator.
“It was wonderful to see those 34 young men and women enlisting in the armed forces in front of their families, friends and the hundreds of visitors who stood by watching. You couldn’t ask for a better venue to start your military career than on the visitor center lawn with the legacy of the USS Arizona Memorial and USS Missouri as a backdrop. Those enlistees will never forget where they took their oath to defend America,” Neuman said.
Every year, thousands of new service members walk through recruiters’ doors with the hopes of joining our nation’s armed forces.
“Our mission at the NSCC is determining the physical, mental and moral qualifications of each applicant that attempts to join the armed services,” said Lt. Cmdr. Andrew C. Gerla, commander of the Honolulu Military Entrance Processing station.
“Knocking on and walking through the front door isn’t easy. And while the door is open to everyone, we are only going to qualify America’s best and brightest.
“So it is my absolute honor to enlist these fine young men and women standing here in front of us today as they embark on a new journey in their life,” Gerla said.
Sponsored by Navy Region Hawaii in coordination with the National Park Service, the ceremony featured the U.S. Marine Forces Pacific Band, the Joint Base Honors and Ceremonies Guard, an official observance of “morning colors,” and remarks from Gerla and Lt. Cmdr. Loren Relin, regional director of the United States Sea Cadets Corps.
The Navy League of the United States established the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps (NSCC) in 1958 to “create a favorable image of the Navy on the part of American youth.” During those passing years, there have been more than 13,000 enrollments.
NSCC is a nonprofit, federally funded youth outreach program for Americans ages 11-18, committed to the development of future leaders with ties to the military.