Cadets use U.S Coast Guard Eagle as a classroom on the water

NEW LONDON -- There are ships….and there are ships.

The US Coast Guard Eagle – sets the standard.

“We certainly like to think so , she’s a beautiful ship," said Captain Matt Meilstrup,

She’s in New London to pick up supplies and Cadets like 3rd Class Cadet Nolan Benson, who is two years into Coast Guard training.  “Part of the routine is spending time on the Eagle, during summer training missions.”

Around 150 Cadets spend anywhere from one to six weeks on board, along with an 80 member crew.

When you come on board for a tour it’s easy to be amazed at all of the equipment on the Eagle that make this 80-year-old vessel work. And that’s the point of the Eagle – for the Cadets to come on board, do a tour, and put their education in the Coast Guard, to work as well.

Capt. Meilstrup said, “We teach them seamanship, navigation, engineering, damage control, all of those topics they need to learn when they enter."

It’s a quick stop – just for the weekend, when they’ll begin to put the new cadets to work. Everything learned in class, is practiced here.

And when they sail into port along the way – they won’t get graded – but they may get something much better, according to Seaman Tara Ashbrook. “The best is when you see kids on pier pop a salute."