Pair of 8th graders get taste of Navy life

Students headed back to school last week, many of them with stories to tell their friends about the exciting things they did over the summer.

            Chances are, few were able to top the tales told by Izak Jirik and Bradley Kubes.

            The two eighth graders are members of the Twin Cities Squadron of the United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps, and part of their summer was spent taking part in basic training at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center in Illinois.

            Izak, son of Duane and Amy Jirik, learned about the organization from a co-worker of his dad, who is a Scott County Deputy Sheriff. He told Bradley, son of John and Sandra Kubes, and the two joined in August, 2011.

            The organization works with youth ages 8-16, and its purpose is to “train American youth in seagoing skills, and to teach them patriotism, courage, self-reliance and kindred virtues," according to a brochure on the organization.

            The group meets monthly for training at Fort Snelling, doing field exercises and other activities. Each summer they take part in a “boot camp.”This year’s camp was held at Great Lakes. they spent nine days training in such activities as firefighting, seamanship, physical training, firearm simulation and marching.

            “It’s very similar to what Naval recruits go through when they join the Navy,” Bradley said.

            “It gives us a taste of military life,” said Izak, who is interested in a career in the Navy. Bradley also said he is interested in the Navy, and would like to become a SeaBee.

            Izak noted that the Cadet Corps also has a long-term benefit.

            “Cadets who enlist and graduate from boot camp enter at a higher pay grade,” he said. He noted the experience will also help on a resume if he applies to a service academy.

            In addition to the boot camp, Izak also served 10 days on the training vessel Monatra in Lake Michigan. Thirteen Cadets and eight officers took the ship from Great Lakes to Mackinac Island, MI, and back.

            “We ran the ship. I loved it,” he said. “We would be on watch for eight hours and then have 16 hours off. It was a great experience.”