The Coast Guard’s future leaders all get a firsthand feel for the past.
Fifty-four officer candidates joined a crew of seven officers and 50 enlisted personnel aboard the training barque Eagle for the ship’s fall Officer Candidate School deployment, which is scheduled to wrap up this weekend in Baltimore. Navy Times was on hand for a Sept. 13 media availability in Portsmouth, Va., part of a three-day stay in Eagle’s next-to-last port of call.
The ship launched May 12 from its home port in New London, Conn. It spent June in the Caribbean, mooring at Bermuda, Aruba and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, before heading north to Halifax, Nova Scotia; Boston; and Portsmouth, N.H.
Up to 150 OCS students or Coast Guard Academy cadets can train on the ship at a time, according to the academy’s website. Ten National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officer candidates were on board for the September cruise; all the candidates returned to New London from Baltimore using more modern, if less exciting, transportation — a bus, according to a Coast Guard spokesman.
The officer candidates are set to graduate in December, earning their commissionings via the academy’s leadership development center.
The 295-foot square-rigged barque is the tallest ship in the American fleet, boasting more than 23,500 square feet of sail and six miles of rigging.
Though it’s the sixth ship to bear the name Eagle, this version has been training future Coast Guard officers since 1946 — it was built in Germany in the 1930s and sailed to New London as a war prize at the close of World War II.
This is its second year in a row stopping at Portsmouth. The Eagle’s crew and cadets stopped by in June 2012 to help Portsmouth commemorate the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, Public Affairs Specialist 3rd Class David Weybert said.