Fair winds and following seas welcomed Franklin native and former Wauwatosa News-Times reporter Robin Holzhauer on her first sail with the U.S. Coast Guard tall ship Eagle, on its way from Ireland to Germany.
The Eagle, built in 1936 in Germany and originally named the Horst Wessel, celebrates its 75th anniversary this year and returned to its city of origin, Hamburg, Germany, last week as part of the celebration. The United States took possession of the ship following the end of World War II. The Eagle has two primary missions: to train future officers of the Coast Guard and to serve as an ambassador to foreign nations. By meeting with dignitaries and providing tours to the public, the Eagle’s crew builds relationships with foreign publics and teaches people about the tall ship and U.S. military life.
Holzhauer, a U.S. diplomat currently on assignment as a faculty advisor at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, sailed with the cadets and crew from Waterford, Ireland to Germany.
“The reception in both countries was amazing,” she said. “Literally thousands of people came out to tour the ship and meet the cadets. The huge crowds waiting to get on board reminded me of people trying to get a wrist band for lawn seating at the Marcus Amphitheater during Summerfest.”
In Germany the visit was especially poignant for several visitors - former sailors who manned the vessel when they served in the Germany military. They shared stories with the current crew, reminisced about the war years and marveled at the changes and similarities onboard the Eagle.
“We were in the Ward Room - where the officers eat - with one gentleman who had been a young seaman back in the 1940s and we asked him what was different about the room today,” Holzhauer said. “He smiled and gave us a “look” and said, ‘I don’t know – I never got to come in here!’”
Eric Jones, the Eagle's captain, met with many U.S. and German dignitaries in Hamburg, including U.S. Consul General Dr. Inmi Kim Patterson and Captain Klaus Beyer, commanding officer of Regional Command Hamburg.
The Eagle will visit England, Iceland and Nova Scotia before returning to the States at the end of July, where it will also visit several ports. In New York, the Eagle is scheduled to host a naturalization ceremony for the country’s soon-to-be newest citizens.
You can follow the Eagle’s summer sail on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/coastguardcuttereagle or on the Academy’s website at www.uscga.edu. To find out more about a career in diplomacy with the U.S. Department of State, log on to www.careers.state.gov.
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