Eagle 75: Cadets of a different kind

After spending the Coast Guard’s 221st birthday in New York City, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Eagle is headed home on the final leg of its 75th anniversary summer training cruise. On Friday, Eagle was host to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano where she presided over a naturalization ceremony administering the Oath of Allegiance to 10 citizenship candidates currently serving in the U.S. military. This weekend, the ship is scheduled to return to its homeport at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn.

naturalization

Dept. of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano presents U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Cesar Bellido, 26, of Peru, with his naturalization certificate Friday, Aug. 5, 2011, aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Eagle. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Nyxolyno Cangemi.

Written by Petty Officer 1st Class NyxoLyno Cangemi, public affairs specialist aboard Eagle.

Coast Guard Cutter Eagle offers future Coast Guard officers a character building experience and an unparalleled at sea leadership experience.

While normally reserved for Coast Guard Academy cadet or officer candidate training, the Eagle was recently host to two cadets who had the privilege of sailing aboard the 295-foot barque without having to sign enlistment papers.

sea cadet

U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps Chief Libby Luedecke, 17, of Goochland, Va., mans the helm aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Eagle. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class NyxoLyno Cangemi

Libby Luedecke and Joe Jackson are chiefs in the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps and were chosen to sail aboard the Eagle after submitting to a nation-wide competition. Each year, only two spots are made available to the sea cadets during the ship’s summer training cruise.

Aboard the Eagle, the sea cadets are integrated into the daily routine and training just as any other academy cadet. They undergo the same training in operations, engineering, damage control, deck and support, and they experience every bit of daily life aboard a working Coast Guard cutter, including standing helm and lookout watch.

“I thought I would just be on the Eagle as a guest, like I would mostly watch what was going on,” said Luedecke. “I’m really happy that I get to be involved and do everything like everyone else. It’s not just the fun stuff either like climbing the rigging and setting the sails – I get to experience everything, including working in the scullery [doing dishes] or mess cooking, and I love it.”

For Naval Sea Cadet Jackson, his time aboard meant getting an opportunity to be in a real, working, military environment and learning from the Eagle’s knowledgeable permanent crew.

“This is an amazing experience,” said Jackson. “In the sea cadets we have a lot of training, but the experience aboard the Eagle is one of the best ones available. The second week I was here, I began the process of getting qualified on the helm, and there’s this wealth of information the crew taught us about everything.”

sea cadet

U.S. Coast Guard Seaman Steven Kain explains the workings of a compass to Joe Jackson, 17, of Astatula, Fla., while aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Eagle. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class NyxoLyno Cangemi

Much like the Eagle is an extension of the Coast Guard’s academic education, it is an extension to youth organizations. Along with the Naval sea cadets, the Eagle hosted cadets from the Sea Scouts, People’s Republic of China, Canada and France. The ship provides the Coast Guard an opportunity to reach out and connect with those who may, one day, make the service a career.

“The sea cadets are aboard so we can share our service, the barque Eagle, our maritime heritage and our love for the sea with a younger generation who is interested in serving their country,” said Coast Guard Lt. Jeff Janaro, the Eagle’s operations officer. “When they’re aboard, they get to interact with the cadets and crew and learn more about the Coast Guard, our role and our missions.”

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