Peterborough Sea Cadet honored at annual inspectionBy MEGHAN PIERCE
Union Leader Correspondent February 17. 2013 9:07PM
PETERBOROUGH - Patrick LaRoche was honored as 2012 League Cadet of the Year for the U.S. Naval Sea Cadets Corps New England Region 1-3, which includes New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont squadrons, during the Monadnock Squadron Sea Cadets' second national annual inspection at South Meadow School Sunday afternoon.
During the inspection, Monadnock Squadron commanding officer Lt. James Letourneau, Dublin's police chief, commended LaRoche.
"He's done every correspondent course that we've offered. He's at every event. He's at every training. And he's a leader to the young kids, the other League Cadets," Letourneau said.
LaRoche, 13, of Peterborough was promoted from league cadet to sea cadet earlier this year. He has been in the Navy-sanctioned youth program for two years.
After the honor he said he plans to stay in the program.
"A lot of leadership ability, built my self-confidence and courage," LaRoche said.
His older brother, leading Petty Officer Chris LaRoche, 16, has been in the program for three years.
"It's a lot of hard work, but it's all worth it,' Chris LaRoche said.
Chris LaRoche said that although he has always wanted to join the military, being a Sea Cadet has changed his plans. He now wants to study at a Naval or Air Force academy before joining the Navy, he said.
The United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps is for boys and girls ages 13 to 17. Kids as young as 11 years old can join the Navy League Cadet Corps, which drills alongside the Sea Cadets for most of the activities.
When a cadet reaches 18, he or she can remain aboard as a midshipman and train to be an officer. At age 21, a midshipman can enroll as an officer in the Navy.
The Monadnock Squadron was formed three years ago, but this is the second year of the program's recognition at the national level. Sunday's inspection included a cadet inspection conducted by New England Regional Director David Hull of Manchester. After inspecting the kids, Hull went on to inspect the squadron's paperwork while cadets and their families celebrated.
One of three girls in the Monadnock Squadron of about 40 cadets, League Cadet Rachel Brown, 12, of Richmond joined six months ago because of her interest in joining the military.
"I'm loving it. . My first drill we were shooting off rockets. It's fun. I just like it because you get to do a lot of stuff that you normally wouldn't get to do," Brown said.
Other drills have included police training and animal tracking, she said.
League Cadet Jordon Stenstrom, 13, of Keene has been part of the squadron for 10 months.
"I like that we get to learn about the Navy and go on fun trainings. I've done some really cool stuff. I've got to meet drill sergeants. I've been on Coast Guard ships. Yeah, it's really fun," Stenstrom said.