Coast Guard Cutter Eagle to visit Seattle

SEATTLE – The Coast Guard Cutter Barque Eagle, also know as “America’s Tall Ship”, is scheduled to make a one day stopover Tuesday in Seattle on its way to participate in the Tall Ships Tacoma 2008 event.

Two World War II era Coast Guard vessels with Puget Sound historical connections and another from the Vietnam War era will escort the square-rigged Eagle into Elliot Bay.

The Eagle will be welcomed to Seattle by a three boat Coast Guard Heritage Fleet, which spans more than a half century of Coast Guard history. The fleet consists of an 83-foot patrol boat built in 1944, the 65-foot buoy tender Blueberry, and an 82-foot foot patrol boat built in 1962 and formerly known as the Point Divide.

The Eagle’s crew has spent this summer 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.

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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