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Coast Guard's Tall Ship Making First International Trip Since Pandemic

U.S. Coast Guard cutter "Eagle" moored at Fort Trumbull in New London, Connecticut.
Brian Scott-Smith
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WSHU Public Radio
U.S. Coast Guard cutter "Eagle" moored at Fort Trumbull in New London, Connecticut.

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter and training ship Eagle set sail from its home port of New London over the weekend to begin its first International Summer Training since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Michael Turdo is the Captain of Eagle and said they did sail in 2020 but COVID kept them in local waters.

“Onboard we have a bulkhead a ships wall with plaques commemorating everyone of the Summer Training Deployments since 1946 and it’s a little bittersweet to see that 2020 plaque with just New London listed on it, so we are absolutely excited to get out and be able to represent the Coast Guard abroad and represent the United States,” Turdo said.

Coast Guard Academy Cadet Sela Fitzgerald
Credit Brian Scott-Smith / WSHU Public Radio
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WSHU Public Radio
Coast Guard Academy Cadet Sela Fitzgerald

For Coast Guard Cadet Sela Fitzgerald, it’s her third outing on Eagle but her first to leave the U.S. waters.

“This is obviously a very old ship and it's very historic and I think it’s just a cool experience. I think when I do this, I think about how many other kids get to do this and there aren’t that many 21-year-olds out there that get to cross the Atlantic with the Coast Guard, so it’s something really special,” Fitzgerald said.

The training program will see Eagle visit Portugal, Iceland and Bermuda and for many of the 130 cadets on board will be the first time they have left the shores of the United States.

Eagle is America’s Tall Ship and the largest tall ship flying the stars and stripes. It is the only active square rigger in U.S. Government service.

An award-winning freelance reporter/host for WSHU, Brian lives in southeastern Connecticut and covers stories for WSHU across the Eastern side of the state.