An anticipated 80 uniformed teenage Sea Cadets will be at the helm and onboard two Navy Sea Cadet Corps training ships, the Grayfox and the Pride of Michigan, as they sail into Detroit Sunday (May 1) for the 36th annual Navy League Sunday at Mariners’ Church of Detroit. The annual event, organized in conjunction with the Detroit Women’s Council of the Navy League of the United States, honors the youth in the Sea Cadet Corps, and is sponsored by several Navy League Councils of both the U.S. and Canada.
The Sea Cadet program teaches young men and women everything from scrubbing the decks to repairing the engines of the former navy ships on which they train. The military-style training and discipline give the Cadets added purpose in their lives. More than two-thirds of Sea Cadet graduates have moved on to higher levels of training and education. In addition the enrolling in ROTC programs at colleges and universities, former Sea Cadets have gone on to graduate from the Naval and Coast Guard Academies. Others have enlisted directly into the Navy, Coast Guard, or Marine Corps.
“The Navy League celebration is a real highlight of the Mariners’ Church year,” said Rev. Richard W. Ingalls, Jr., Rector of the church and Chaplain of both the Grayfox and the Pride of Michigan. “It’s fun to see these young men and women in their dress blues, standing at attention on the deck with the flags blowing in the breeze. And it’s especially worthwhile because many of these kids are from at-risk backgrounds and the Sea Cadet program gives them a new sense of purpose and hope and pride.”
The Pride of Michigan will leave its berth on the Clinton River, and the Grayfox will steam out of Port Huron, early Sunday morning, arriving at Hart Plaza at approximately 9:30 a.m. The church service will begin at 11 a.m. Commander Peter Egeli, USN, Commanding Officer of the Michigan Navy Recruiting District, will speak during the service and the cadets will conduct tours of the vessels following the service. The public is invited to attend both the church service and the tours.
Mariners’ Church is a state and national historic landmark, and is the oldest structure on the Detroit riverfront. The church is located at 170 E. Jefferson Avenue at the entrance to the Windsor Tunnel. Free parking is available in the Ford Auditorium Underground Garage. Entrance to the Garage is in the median strip of Jefferson Avenue, at Woodward Avenue.