St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter EAGLE will arrive Friday, May 25 for a port call at the West Indian Company Limited (WICO) dock, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. The 295-foot three-masted barque dubbed ‘America’s Tall Ship,’ is the largest tall ship flying the American flag and the only active square-rigger in U.S. government service. EAGLE departed New London, Connecticut on May 12 with a crew of 180 U.S. Coast Guard women and men. This weekend’s port visit begins EAGLE’s 2018 summer patrol of cadet training and community outreach.
“We couldn’t think of a better place to kick off our 2018 summer than lovely St. Thomas. Many Virgin Islanders have sailed EAGLE and served in the Coast Guard. The cadets and crew are eager to experience the warm hospitality, explore the island, and help in the community. We will be open for public tours and we would love to have you see the 82-year old EAGLE,” says Capt. Matt Meilstrup, Commanding Officer.
During her port call, EAGLE will be open for FREE public tours:
Friday May 25: 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Saturday May 26: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sunday May 27: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Additionally, special visits are planned for Virgin Islands students, teachers, and parents to learn about educational and career opportunities at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and in the U.S. Coast Guard. Likewise, cadets aboard EAGLE will take part in several community service projects while in port. These include a marine science, clean up and recreational activity with members of My Brother’s Workshop and Boy’s and Girl’s Club Marine Vocational Program students at the Coral World Ocean Park and Coki Beach, laying wreaths on Veteran’s gravesites with JROTC members as part of the Memorial Day weekend remembrance, and a liberty visit to the Pirates Treasure Museum in Havensight.
U.S. Virgin Islanders boast a proud heritage of service in the U.S. Coast Guard. More specifically, Virgin Islanders who have sailed on EAGLE as part of their officer training, include: Commanders (CDR) Liston Jackson, Retired (Ret.) and Austin Callwood, Ret; Lieutenant Commanders (LCDR) Karima Greenaway-Hantal, Elroy Allen, and Biann Creque; Lieutenants (LT) Diana Isidore, Ret., Scott Ledee, Nkosi Thomas, Luis Garcia, Urdley Smith, Jevon James, Jamen Descartes, Rebekah Seifer, and Ronaqua Russell; Ensign Nikole Barnes; and, Cadets Gary Nelthropp, Harry Hoffman, Leon Peterson, Rian Bareuther, Daria Scott; Dale Carty, Jr., and Raphael Almonte.
During her 2018 summer patrol, EAGLE will also enjoy port calls at other Caribbean destinations: Barbados (June 1-4), Santo Domingo, DR (June 9-12), San Juan, PR (June 15-20), Roatan, Honduras (June 29-July 2), Cartagena, Colombia (July 9-12), and Curacao (July 15-18).
“The Navy League welcomes the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Eagle to the Virgin Islands,” says Navy League of the United States National President Alan Kaplan. “The vessel’s port visit is a great opportunity to witness a unique and historically important Coast Guard ship in person, both for our local council and the community.”
Kaplan said, the Navy League of the United States’ mission is to support for the sea services. Thomas Hoffman, the Navy League’s National Director and President of the Caribbean-Latin America Region St. Thomas and St. John Council welcomes the Cutter EAGLE back to the waters of the Virgin Islands as a training ship and goodwill ambassador. Over the years the Navy League has hosted many Navy and Coast Guard ships, helped many Virgin Island students with the Academy Introduction Mission scholarships and appointments, and volunteered in the local community, among many other things.
Alvin Dalmida Jr., a Coast Guard 25-year veteran, and a founding member of the Virgin Islands Centennial Foundation (VICF) said, “Since 1998, a team of active duty Coast Guard personnel, all Virgin Islanders, have been working together with Tom Hoffman and the Navy League, Coast Guard Admissions Office, and Coast Guard Sector San Juan offices to successfully identify and recruit talented students from the V.I. that have served or are currently serving. He added, during this Memorial Day weekend, the EAGLE’s visit will help us usher in a new appreciation of maritime history in our community and also recognize those who died protecting the precious freedom that unites us as a nation.
The non-profit Virgin Islands Centennial Foundation and 340 Group VI, LLC are providing community integration planning & logistics support for the USCG EAGLE while it is in Charlotte Amalie. Part of their planning include coordinating social, and community engagement projects.
About the U.S. Coast Guard Academy: Ranked among the nations’ most prestigious and selective institutions of higher learning, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy (CGA) is an academic and military institution educating future leaders for America. Founded in 1876, it is the smallest of the nation’s five federal service academies. Annually, more than 20,000 students inquire about admissions, over 4,000 apply, less than 400 will be appointed and an average of 300 students will swear in. The Class of 2021 includes U.S. Cadets from 43 states plus the District of Columbia, Germany, Guam, Ireland, Japan, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. With a scholarship valued at more than $300,000, the Coast Guard Academy appointment offers a total life experience. The campus provides a secure, supportive and highly structured environment for a unique higher education experience focusing on academics, athletics, leadership and professional military development.