PORTSMOUTH, Va. – The crew aboard the U. S. Coast Guard Cutter Eagle is scheduled to depart Friday, with Coast Guard officer candidates for a 17-day training deployment. Due to current budget reductions, crewmembers aboard the Eagle will not make a previously scheduled port call to Savannah, Ga., March 15 – 18. The Eagle crew will now stop for logistics only in Charleston, S.C., where the ship will moor and take on supplies and Coast Guard trainees at a government pier.
Before departing Charleston, Eagle will take on enlisted students from the Coast Guard boatswain’s mate A-school for the first time. Training together offers mutual benefits to both the officer candidates and enlisted students. The officer candidates will build experience and learn how the ship functions during their first week aboard, and then will utilize that experience to help guide the A-school students assigned to their divisions during the second week of the deployment. Simultaneously, the officer candidates and the enlisted trainees will receive instruction in navigation, deck seamanship, line handling, damage control, medical techniques, and other basic elements of life aboard Coast Guard cutters.
“The Coast Guard Academy and the Leadership Development Center are academic institutions with collective missions to ensure the best and complete learning experience for our trainees, and the Eagle is a significant part of that experience,” said Capt. Wes Pulver, Eagle’s commanding officer. “We understand budget reductions are required and we remain committed to our highest priorities in providing academic and training excellence to the future leaders of our service.”
The Coast Guard decides upon locations for Eagle training deployments based on ideal weather and sea conditions at different times of the year for students to perform training under challenging circumstances. Trainees are required to handle more than 200 lines and practice marlinspike seamanship to bolster a teamwork ethic as part of their professional development in leadership.
The boatswains mate A-school in Yorktown, Va., is the central educational facility where students learn to perform almost any task in connection with deck maintenance, small boat operations, and navigation. Graduates become third class petty officers in the boatswain’s mate rating.
At 295 feet in length, the Eagle is the largest tall ship flying the stars and stripes and the only active square-rigger in U.S. government service.
Constructed in 1936 by the Blohm and Voss Shipyard in Hamburg, Germany, and originally commissioned as the Horst Wessel by the German Navy, the United States acquired Eagle as a war reparation following World War II.