Meet the Class of 2022: Nathan Rastovac
Updated: Jun 8
I am Chief Petty Officer Nathan Rastovac from Wadsworth, Illinois. I attended Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein, Illinois, with a focus on business entrepreneurship.
Growing up, I was involved in soccer, baseball, and volleyball. During my time in Sea Cadets and High School, I was primarily involved in soccer. Although it was a busy schedule, I could balance soccer and Sea Cadets. In my senior year of high school, my team won regionals for high school. All while I was part of the Sea Cadet program. I joined the USNSCC in 2016 as a Sea Cadet. Since then, I have attended upwards of six trainings across multiple states. I have risen through the ranks to Chief Petty Officer and have gained leadership experience.
Most Memorable Training
My most memorable training was staffing League Cadet Orientation. I was one of five staff cadets that taught upwards of 20 league cadets at Batavia, Wisconsin. They had our training stationed at an airport where we had classroom lessons in a museum, a flight simulator that was used to teach cadets how to fly and had their sleeping quarters in a hangar bay.
Every day was exciting for the cadets. They were at an obstacle course working as a team, learning about military history, or becoming better cadets to return and strengthen their divisions. I applied for this training because it was in Wisconsin, and I always wanted to staff a basic orientation so I can teach the next generation of cadets what it means to be a strong cadet and how to achieve their goals and become better leaders in their lives.
This was a memorable experience as I worked with a great leadership team, from my fellow staff cadets to the officers. We worked very well together and were able to accomplish any task promptly while making it a learning experience for all the cadets. I recommend that other cadets apply to staff or attend this training because you'll learn a lot. Either as a leader in teaching others and preparing them for their future sea cadet careers or as a cadet who learns about the corps and how they can become a better cadet and grow to be a future leader.
Lastly, Batavia is a well-run training command and offers many opportunities for cadets looking into all fields of the military. They have great officers and staff cadets, and you will learn how to be a better leader and cadet while there.
Where to next?
After graduation, I am going to attend college. I will either be at Hillsdale in Michigan or United States Merchant Marine Academy in New York. I hope to either major in politics/government or business. If I attend Merchant Marine Academy, I will commission as a Marine officer, or if I attend Hillsdale, I will go through OCS or PLC and commission as a Marine officer. After attending OCS or PLC I plan to commission as an officer in the military and spend time there before getting out and going to the private sector for business. I hope to achieve many goals but primarily want to continue supporting those around me. I want people to continue to learn and become better leaders. I will also be supporting Sea Cadets in the future and hope to join a local unit wherever I end up and help future cadets with their endeavors.
Five things you probably don’t know about CPO Rastovac:
I have four siblings.
My oldest brother is an officer in the Navy, and my grandpa is a marine that served in Vietnam.
I am the CEO of my school's coffee shop.
I am a student leader and involved in many school activities such as ministry, soccer, student council, and NBHS officer.
I have seen Top Gun over 200 times and think it's the best movie ever created.
QUESTION FOR THE PARENTS:
What is your feedback on the Naval Sea Cadet Program?
Sea Cadets have been an excellent experience for our son. He learned life lessons, experienced amazing training opportunities at a young age, and gained leadership experience that is unmatched by other programs. He grew as a person, as a teammate, and as a leader.
Sea Cadets instilled a sense of duty and discipline in our son that will take him far in life - whatever his path. In addition, high-ranking leaders across the country have guided our son and given him advice and guidance based on their vast experience.
In addition to standard military training, Sea Cadets have diverse training opportunities that others may not be aware of - culinary, medical, photography, flight, and coast guard. As a result, Sea Cadets should be considered by all types of youth.
Division 911 has supported our son throughout his six years in the program. This division is particularly great due to the ability to train at Naval Station Great Lakes with access to dedicated service members willing to help our youth.
Sea Cadets offer opportunities to America’s youth once-in-a-lifetime, and any child will benefit. We highly recommend Sea Cadets for all types of children.
When do you think is the right time to join?
Our son joined Sea Cadets in 7th grade, and we believe that this is the best time to join. It allows the young person to get acclimated to the program before the demands of high school. Then, in high school, the child will better understand the program and the training opportunities that will benefit him/her as they look at colleges.
What would you tell parents considering the Naval Sea Cadet program for their children?
We strongly encourage any child to explore Sea Cadets! In addition to life lessons and discipline, the kids have fun and develop bonds with other kids all across the country. It is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.)