Kadets of America
Founder: C.L. Parris
Headquarters: Savannah, TN
As the handbooks says The Kadets of America is an Atomic Age program for boys and girls of grammar school age. Started in 1953 by C.L Parris in Savannah, TN this uniformed patriotic group focused on teaching young children the basics of gun safety, basic military drills and pride in America and her flag. C.L. Parris owned and operated the Parris Manufacturing Company, along with his two brothers. After being hired by the US Military to build "dummy" weapons for training purposes during World War II, the company branched out and began creating toy replica of Civil War and Frontier weapons as well. The company continues today.
The cynical might think that forming the Kadets of America was just a way to sell more product, however Mr. Parris was truly a patriotic person and saw the Kadets of America as a way to promote American pride. Working though sponsorships with local AMVETS, American Legions, VFW, Lions Clubs, etc. at first it was just for boys, but girls were quickly added.
The Kadets of America handbook gave all the information needed to help youngsters find an adult to lead them and how to do the drills. There was a pledge as well.
Groups would get together to practice drills, show off their skills in local parades, and enter drill competitions. Other programs were offered such as Kadet Bicycle Brigades, Kadet Drum and Bugle Corps, Kadet Roller Skating Units and the Kadet Kavalry (on ponies) - all meant to be practiced and then performed.
Summer Camp was held at the Kadets of America headquarters in Savannah, TN where a herd of Shetland Ponies were kept to help train Kadet Kavalrys.
The program faded from existence in local newspapers by the late 1960's - the last entry was 1967.
The Kadet Code
I will honor the Flag at all times.
I will do my best to do my duty to God and my Country.
I will be loyal to the Kadets of America.
I will be courteous at all times.
I will carry out my duties as a Kadet to the best of my ability.
I will always conduct myself so that I will be a credit to the Kadets
Kadets of America handbook and the originally designed patch, trademarked in 1956
Kadets of America handbook and gender-specific patches
Middle-era Kadets of America patch
Kadet Air Rifles for sale in the newspaper
Air Rifle label
Kadets of America