The crew of the Coast Guard Barque Eagle (WIX 327) returned to the ship’s home port in New London, Conn., following a four-month deployment.
This year, crew, cadets, and officer candidates sailed over 16,800 nautical miles, traveling to the Azores, Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Sweden as part of their annual training cruise, after departing New London, April 8.
In addition to its primary mission of training, Eagle serves as a diplomatic tool and global ambassador, embarking over 37,000 visitors during the deployment. Eagle helped advance U.S. interests by reinforcing key Arctic partnerships while on deployment to the Baltic and North Sea.
Eagle welcomed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s newest member state, Finland, with a port call in Helsinki alongside the Finnish offshore patrol vessel Turva. Eagle also hosted U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and numerous other dignitaries and distinguished guests.
One historic highlight came this summer when Eagle sailed alongside Danmark, a full-rigged Danish sail training vessel, whose captain placed their ship at the disposal of the U.S. during World War II after Denmark was invaded by Germany. For the remainder of the war, Danmark was leased to the U.S. Coast Guard and trained future officers — just as Eagle does now.
Eagle is the only active square-rigged vessel in U.S. government service. Constructed in 1936 by the Blohm and Voss Shipyard in Hamburg, Germany, and originally commissioned by the German navy, Eagle was taken as a war reparation by the U.S. following World War II. Eagle’s transit route home from Europe this year closely mirrored the ship’s first post-war journey as a commissioned Coast Guard cutter, when the ship traveled from Europe with stops in Madeira, Bermuda, and New York City.