We had a very special treat when the U.S. Coast Guard sailing vessel "Barque Eagle" visited Guantanamo Bay last week! I have never seen such a majestic ship up close, let alone been able to board one and have a tour. I was simply in awe. The history is amazing. Commissioned in 1936, it was originally a German Navy ship and was taken by the U.S. as a war trophy after WWII. It was then commissioned as a USCG ship in 1946 and has been used to train cadets ever since. The ship is nearly 300 ft long! It is hard to get a real feel for how large this ship is by simply looking at pictures, but it is huge!
I found not only the ship to be amazing, but the history behind it as well piqued my interest. Interested readers can find out more about the ship by reading here for the Wikipedia article or here for the official United States Coast Guard Academy site. Enjoy!
|The golden eagle on the bow used to hold a swastika in its talons. Since acquiring the vessel, all swastikas on the boat have been removed or covered up.|
|One of three masts on the ship. All the sails are set by hand which means a cadet must scale the rope ladders, climb out along the beams, untie the sails and set them.|
|The ship is so large that it requires three helms with a person on each side to steer the rudder.|
|My heart always swells with pride when I see Old Glory proudly flown|
|Eagle is not the original name of the ship. The name Eagle dates back to the 1700's and several ships have carried the name.|
|Like the sails, the lines attached to them are also entirely set by manpower. I was amazed to learn that there aren't any wenches to assist with the process! I imagine that is partly what makes a voyage aboard the Eagle such a grueling experience.|