29 Jul '12, 1am

Why the Coast Guard is still sending aspiring officers up the 140-foot mast of a sailboat for training

PORTLAND, Maine — The USCGC Eagle, the only active square rigger in government service, is considered a crucial part of the training for aspiring Coast Guard officers. But as the U.S. military sends no other tall ship to sea — the famed USS Constitution makes only one Boston Harbor cruise each year — there’s little call in the armed forces for officers who have experience hoisting the sails or stitching the canvas. Rather, the historic Barque Eagle and its throwback masts provide up-and-coming Coast Guard officers something less tangible, Chief Petty Officer Tom Willard said. Advertisement “It’s about getting them out of their comfort zone to climb 140 feet up a mast,” Willard, who has served as one of the officers aboard the Eagle for 18 months, said. “When it comes to setting the sails, everything is done manually, so they have to learn teamwork — leading and following. ...

Full article: http://www.stripes.com/news/visiting-coast-guard-tall-shi...

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