The 18-year-old Camarillo resident rises at 5 a.m. on Saturday mornings to iron his pants, shine his shoes and report for duty at Point Mugu Naval Base Ventura County. He spends his free time running drills with the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps, a program he joined in October 2009.
The local sea cadet program, Trident Patrol Squadron 65, offers Navy training programs for boys and girls from age 11 through high school.
“I’ve always had a passion for the military because I’ve always been attracted to camaraderie and brotherhood,” Stein said.
The Adolfo Camarillo High School student spent weekends on the base with other teens learning about the Navy. Jared also traveled across the country to attend boot camps and special sea cadet training sessions, all while maintaining a 4.2 gradepoint average.
“The program is very demanding,” said Lisa Fisco, Jared’s mother. “I was a little afraid he was going to drop out, but he loved it and excelled at it.”
Jared stuck with the program and was awarded 2012 Regional Sea Cadet of the Year in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. He was promoted to chief petty officer during a ceremony in January.
“I was so proud of him,” Fisco said. “People say, ‘You’ve done a great job’ but I say no, it’s really him who has this drive and puts his whole heart and soul into what he believes.”
The mother of three sons said she calls Jared her miracle baby because he was born prematurely, weighing 2 pounds, 4 ounces.
“(Jared) was literally the size of my palm, and he yelled like a kitten because his lungs were not developed,” Fisco said. “He wasn’t supposed to survive, but he did. So I know he’s meant for greatness.”
Jared wants to attend the U.S. Naval Academy in Maryland after he graduates in May. Elton Gallegly, a retired congressman from California, sent a letter of recommendation for Stein to the Naval Academy.
“Ideally I would like to have a career in the military, perhaps with the Marine Corps,” Stein said.
Lt. j.g. Jesus Quezada, commanding officer of the sea cadet program at Point Mugu, said Stein is a natural-born leader meant for the military.
“He’s very competitive and disciplined, and the military has that,” Quezada said. “He’s just a dynamite kid that is hardworking, respectful and wellrounded.”
Quezada said the unit is recommending Jared as the national sea cadet of the year for 2013. Jared will be in college when the national honor is announced, though he is unsure what campus he will attend.
“It’s a big decision because you won’t get the college experience at (the Naval Academy),” Fisco said. “But I know he would like to be a marine, and even becoming a Navy SEAL has crossed his mind.”
Jared said if he doesn’t get into the Naval Academy he will attend a college with a Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program, such as University of Michigan, where he has already been accepted.
“I just find the military’s leadership experience invaluable,” Jared said.