Cadet Corps Hopes to Rebuild Even Stronger Post Pandemic

Joseph Ronda, the Brigadier General (BG) for the Star of the Sea CYO (Community Youth Organization) Cadet Corps has over the years, trained thousands of cadets ranging from nine years old to adulthood. The cadets receive many life skills and training for their “enlistment” ranging from: band, physical activities, military knowledge, discipline, courtesy, leadership, and drill from either the band or color guard plus much more. Many of these programs, prepare these cadets for a future in military and public services.

Joseph himself was a United State Marine Corporal and currently a First Sergeant with the New York State Guard. He has also been a member of the Sea Cadet Corps since his youth and has been a staff member for over two decades. He has given services to this country and the community for most of his life. He credits his accomplishments on his upbringing with the Cadet Corps and is looking to grow the organization even bigger than it was pre-pandemic.

Before the pandemic restrictions, the Cadet Corps consisted of over 50 Cadets from both the Marine and Naval Cadet branches. The pandemic caused the locations where they did their training to either close or pause any additional programs because of budgetary restraints. Now with many of the restrictions lifted, cadets are welcome back to service. Cadets are not required to be vaccinated and mask are optional while participating in group activities but are monitored.

Every year, the cadet band and color guard perform for dozens of events throughout the Bronx. Their expertise is in high demand and are considered the most well-known group in the Bronx. The best part is that you do not have to be an expert musician to join the band, they will train you on the instruments. They prefer basic knowledge but no one willing to try will be denied.

This past year the corps struggled with returning to training at Holy Family School because the parish has not brought back many of the programs yet. The cadets are now located across the street at the Trinity Lutheran Church at 2125 Watson Avenue. Now that the cadets have returned, they have sped up their training and have made tremendous progress but still need to replenish their ranks. Cadets ages 9 and up are welcome to join, staff are encouraged to join and donations for equipment are always sought. Registration is $25, monthly dues are $20 and uniforms plus equipment vary in price but a grace period is always given.

This upcoming year, once they are in full force, they plan to branch out to new locations and unify with the other Cadet Corps. In the past, there was coalition amongst the Cadets called the Commandant’s Council of Cadet Organization. Joseph told me that for the past 5 years he’s been waiting patiently to reestablish this alliance with the other Cadets through partnership but with the pandemic, he’s had to bide his time. But he would like to see this come forth, just like the old days when there were over 20 groups.

If you would like to enlist with Star of the Sea CYO Cadet Corps, you can reach BG Ronda at (917) 517 – 5369.

If you are a Veteran, active duty member or individual and have an event, story or topic to discuss. Please contact gonzaloduran@devildogusainc.org or (516) 515 – 0240.

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