Eagle sailing to Europe on anniversary voyage

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A ceremony organized by the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut will be held Saturday to honor The Coast Guard Barque Eagle as it leaves New London Harbor on its 75th anniversary voyage to Europe.

The Eagle is the Coast Guard's training vessel and goodwill ambassador.

The departure ceremony is set for 10 a.m. at Coast Guard Station New London adjacent to Fort Trumbull. The Eagle's first port call will be on May 27, in Waterford, Ireland, the first of eight stops on its anniversary tour.

The Eagle will be honored a second time after 30 people who have signed up with the chamber fly to Dublin on May 25, make their way to Waterford, Ireland, and greet Capt. Eric C. Jones and his crew as they arrive there.

On Saturday, U. S. Rep. Joe Courtney and New London Mayor Martin T. Olsen, Jr. will join Connecticut residents from around the region to send off the travelers. More than 140 cadets will be on board.

"We want as many people as possible to join with us at Fort Trumbull to show our support for the Eagle, her captain and crew who train the Coast Guard's future leaders," said Tony Sheridan, the chamber's president and chief executive officer.

"It will be fun to watch as this magnificent vessel leaves the pier and heads out to sea. The Coast Guard is an important part of our community. Its life-saving mission and work in homeland security responsibilities are important for our nation."

Jones said the trip is a special one as the Eagle heads back to the shipyard where it was built in 1936.

"We will be looking forward to seeing some of our homeport friends after the three-week crossing of the North Atlantic," said Jones.

After stopping in Ireland, the Eagle will make its way to Hamburg, Germany, where it was built at the Blohm and Voss Shipyard in 1936 and commissioned the Horst Wessel. It is scheduled to be there June 3.

The remaining port calls will be: June 10, London, England; June 24, Reykjavik, Iceland; July 15, Halifax, Nova Scotia; July 22, Boston, Mass.; July 29, New Bedford, Mass.; and Aug. 5, New York, N.Y.

The Eagle was re-commissioned U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Eagle as a war reparation at the end of World War II, brought to this country and home ported in New London. Each year, the Eagle travels about 13,000 miles and trains more than 600 Coast Guard cadets and officer candidates. It averages between six and eight port calls each year.

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