SAN DIEGO (NNS) - Amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) embarked 42 Sea Cadets from the Naval Sea Cadet Corps (NSCC) July 5-8 to get a first-hand experience of life at sea on a modern Navy warship.

The NSCC program is sponsored by the Navy League and is a federally chartered, non-profit youth organization whose charter is to acquaint high school age youths with the Navy and guide their interest in military service. Founded in 1958, it is run by an all-volunteer force and supported by the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard.

Sea Cadet Seaman Noreen Domingo, from Anaheim, Calif., has been a Sea Cadet for two years. She said her time aboard Makin Island has been a great experience.

"We've been able to see flight operations and well deck operations. We got to see an Osprey land on the flight deck. I really liked seeing the Air Boss at work in primary flight control. I think I want to be an Air Boss one day," said Domingo.

Sea Cadet Seaman Constantine Spyrou, from Sunnyvale, Calif., joined the Sea Cadets 15 months ago. He said he would definitely recommend this experience to others.

"The ship is a lot busier than I thought it would be. When you see movies about the Navy, it doesn't seem as busy as it is in real life," said Spyrou.

According to Domingo, the Sea Cadets embarked aboard Makin Island are all from different units, but they were all selected as part of their training known as Petty Officer Leadership Academy (POLA).

"We're all E-3s, and POLA is part of our training to become Sea Cadet petty officers," she said. "Not all Sea Cadets get to go to a ship. Some are sent to shore commands. But I think that getting to go to a ship is the best."

Many of the young people in the Sea Cadet program go on to enlist or become officers in all branches in the U.S. military. For those embarked aboard Makin Island, this summer training equips them with experiences that can only be learned in the fleet, and they said they will carry the experience with them forever.

Makin Island is currently off the coast of California conducting sea trials in preparation for an upcoming deployment.

For more news from USS Makin Island (LHD 8), visit www.navy.mil/local/lhd8/.