America’s Tall Ship to arrive in Astoria, Oregon Thursday

PACIFIC OCEAN – The only square-rigged sailing vessel presently active in the U.S. fleet is scheduled to sail into Astoria, Ore., Thursday at approximately 10 a.m. and will depart Monday, June 16, at approximately 2 p.m. The Coast Guard Cutter Barque Eagle will be open for free public tours Thursday 2 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.; Friday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.

The Coast Guard Cutter Barque Eagle, also known as America’s Tall Ship, will arrive in Astoria after being underway for over two months since departing homeport in New London, Conn. Eagle’s crew has spent the past 33 days training more than 130 Coast Guard Academy cadets and Naval Academy midshipmen. The Eagle has served as a floating classroom to future Coast Guard officers since 1946 offering fundamental leadership, teamwork and seamanship skills.

The Eagle is operated and maintained by 76 Coast Guard officers, enlisted and Auxiliary crewmembers. The crew guides the cadets through a rigorous work and training schedule underway that is filled with navigation, damage control, first aid, deck seamanship and much more.

As Eagle is a square-rigged sailing vessel, its main mode of propulsion is by sail. This requires the crew and cadets to climb to heights exceeding 130 feet above the deck of the ship to set, maintain or haul-in sails. This builds confidence, leadership and teamwork among all hands.

On the deck of Eagle, cadets must heave around on more than 190 lines to set the ship’s sails. Sophomore cadets are put in the position of line captain where they lead between 10-15 people in heaving around on a line to set a sail. This helps build valuable leadership skills and promotes teamwork among the sophomore or third class cadets.

The nineteen senior cadets aboard, or first class cadets, are responsible for direct organization, oversight and direction of third class cadets as well as working hand-in-hand with the senior enlisted members onboard as a Junior Officer. Eagle provides an excellent leadership opportunity, as the cadre manage their own cadet divisions, direct shipboard operations and juggle numerous collateral duties. This prepares them to do much of the same sort of tasks after graduation aboard a Coast Guard cutter, at air stations or sectors.

The Eagle’s crewmembers are trained Coast Guard instructors. This is critical because the Eagle’s primary mission is training future Coast Guard officers. All crewmembers from the least-experienced seaman to the highest-ranking officer undergo numerous break-in and qualification standards when they report aboard. This is to ensure the crew can meet the demands of the training environment aboard Eagle providing a safe and beneficial training program to more than 600 future officers per year

Built in the early 20th Century in the twilight era of sailing, Eagle has a rich and diverse history. The name “Eagle” has resonated throughout Coast Guard history and has been the title of seven separate cutters since the Coast Guard’s inception in 1790.

The present day Eagle was originally a training vessel for the German navy in World War II named Horst Wessel. In 1946, following WWII, the Horst Wessel was taken as a war prize by the United States and is the seventh ship named Eagle in Coast Guard history.

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