News 2 was on board the US Coast Guard Cutter Eagle as it sailed into Charleston today. It’s a ship unlike any you’ve seen before anchored in the Charleston Harbor. The Coast Guard Cutter Eagle was built in 1936 in Germany and was used by the Nazis. It was captured by the United States during World War II and is now used to train officer candidates for the Coast Guard.
USCG Officer Candidate Nick Litchfield says, “We use a lot of leadership skills. You’ll look around and see a lot of ropes and rigging you won’t see on any other Coast Guard cutter. So we’re able to bring some of our skills we use in training and use them aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Eagle.”
USCG Officer Candidate Kyle Nolan says, “It teaches us about teamwork. There’s been days on the deck where we’ve had everyone out here hauling a single line, and that line wouldn’t be able to get up, and the sales wouldn’t be set if not for 100 of us working together.”
The Cutter Eagle has no modern technology, so that means officer candidates have to climb all the way to the top of the mast to raise the sails and get the ship to move. They are also charting the course by hand and learning to sail using the stars.
Nolan says, “It’s back to the basics in a sense for us. The world that we live in today, we never know and maybe there could be a time we don’t have GPS, or have our electronics, and having that ability to go back to a paper chart, or celestial navigation, or whatever the case may be, could be the difference between getting home safe and not.”
The ship is cruising into Charleston to help the officer candidates continue their training and highlight the Coast Guard locally.
If you want to check out the US Coast Guard Cutter Eagle, it will be downtown at the Union Pier Terminal on Saturday (9/10) and Sunday (9/11) from 10am-7pm. Touring the ship is free.