Thirty youngsters from Arkansas and Florida on five rafts converged on the Spring River June 23 and 24 as a part of the Advanced Naval Special Warfare Orientation Course, the second phase of the summer training program for cadets interested in the Navy SEALs.
The young people are members of a select group, the United States Naval Sea Corps (USNSCC) program -- Trident. The program was established by an act of Congress in 1957 and is open to physically and academically qualified young men and women between ages 14 and 17. Completion of the USNSCC program affords cadets the same benefits after graduation from high school as attendance at JROTC, including enlistment at advanced pay grades. The program is performance based and emphasizes "real world" practical skills and "hands on training" rather than the traditional JROTC programs which are academically based in high schools.
"The class-2 Spring River provided an orientation to negotiating rapids in the Zodiac assault boats. The water in the river is a constant 58 degrees and the four-hour river run represented quite a challenge to the cadets," one training officer said.
The cadets floated from Dam 3 to Many Islands as part of the fast-moving water training. Several training officers accompanied the cadets on the float.