An Army Cadets of America (ACA) unit is expecting to make Sulphur their home base. The unit is a first for not only this area but also for the state of Louisiana.
"We wanted to set the new Alpha company and home base here in the Sulphur area. We believe the opportunity with the City of Sulphur would benefit not only the youth here but in the surrounding area as well," said Sgt. First Class Chad LeJune to City Council members Monday night. "I know that we will be able to grow in Sulphur."
Once the Sulphur unit is situated, another unit is expected to be immediately set-up in Lafayette.
"And then the battalion, which covers the state, will be home-based in Sulphur," added LeJune.
A Sulphur High graduate and Army retiree, LeJune is the Company First Sergeant for the Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, of the 1st Cadet Training Brigade of the ACA — nicknamed the 'Swamp Dawgs.' He was previously the commanding officer of the area's Sea Cadets.
"We don't want to compete with the Sea Cadets," he emphasized, "We just want to give [boys] another option."
The Army Cadets of America is a non-profit 501c(3) youth explorer program, chartered by the Boys Scouts Learning for Life program.
"ACA is an Army explorer program through Learning for Life for boys aged 11 to 18 without any obligation to join the Armed Forces," said LeJune. "The mission for Army Cadets of America is to positively impact America's future by providing a quality youth development and military career exploration program that nurtures and develops its members into responsible citizens that enjoy promoting a healthy drug-free and crime-free lifestyle."
"Our objectives here," said LeJune, "Are to promote the mental, moral and physical development of [ACA] members."
The Sulphur unit would operate in a similar fashion to the Army Reserves.
"We will meet once a month [locally] for drill weekends," he said. "In the summertime, ACA meets for 14 to 21 days, like a summer camp. This is usually held in Florida or Alabama."
According to LeJune, the group currently has a partnership with Dr. Carl Nabours for use of his property. However, the unit needs the use of a recreational area. There have been discussions in this regard about the Center Circle area.
"We will have to approach the SPAR board on that," said Mayor Chris Duncan.
Needed office space is another matter.
"We do have some [office space] that has come open here [in the Law Enforcement Center]," said the mayor, "It is something that we will probably look at with [Sulphur Police Chief Lewis Coats] and then come back to the City Council on in the future."
Page 2 of 2 - And although the unit has a small partnership with Ft. Polk for some training items, Mayor Duncan emphasized that the city's partnership with the 162nd at Ft. Polk could further benefit the local ACA unit.
"This is a great program," said the mayor. The Council agreed.