By Patrick Szabo
A Purcellville girl recently snagged a top achievement in a male-dominated field.
Skyler Powell, a 17-year-old Loudoun Valley High School student, reached the top rank of chief petty officer in the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps. She is the first cadet in the history of Purcellville’s VIKING Division to do so.
Her promotion ceremony took place Dec. 17 at Patrick Henry College in Purcellville.
According to Chad Ellis, the VIKING Division’s unit executive officer, only about 20 females have ever been appointed to CPO. There are about 10,000 cadets enrolled in the USNSCC.
“Becoming a CPO in the Sea Cadets is not easy,” Ellis said. “Chief Powell worked long and hard to achieve this rank.”
The USNSCC is a federally-chartered, civilian organization that is sponsored by the Navy League of the United States and jointly supported by the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard.
Teaching cadets from the age of 13 through their completion of high school, the USNSCC was established in 1962 to “create a favorable image of the Navy on the part of American youth.”
During her time as a sea cadet, Powell attended multiple advanced trainings on different topics, served as staff cadet at recruit training and volunteered more than 250 hours of her time for community service projects.
This past summer, she also attended the USNSCC mandatory two-week recruit training session, which includes 106 hours of instruction with a focus on the U.S. Navy’s core values of honor, courage and commitment.
In addition to achieving the rank of CPO, Powell has earned the Veterans of Foreign Wars Naval Sea Cadet Medal and the Sons of the American Revolution Good Citizenship Award. She also leads the VIKING Division CyberPatriot team, is a member of the LVHS marching band and has maintained a 4.1 GPA while enrolled in honors and Advanced Placement classes.
“Chief Powell exemplifies the ideals of the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps,” Ellis said. “She proved herself to be a dedicated and capable leader and exemplary sea cadet.”