As a cadet at USCGA I realize that Eagle goes one of two ways, either you love it or you hate it. For me, I loved my time on Eagle. Maybe I enjoyed my time because I never got sea sick, but I know that I had a lot of fun both on and off the ship. The experience felt once in a lifetime even though I could come back to Eagle in the future, but I have the feeling that each time will be an entirely new experience.
While on Eagle we worked hard, but all the while making the experience unique and interesting. Each division rotates through different duty sections of engineering, CIC, helm, lookout, and watch on deck. In each, my shipmates and I were mentored by the enlisted crew members and had a great opportunity to learn and experience new things. My favorite watch was engineering, despite the general consensus of the rest of my class. Yes, it was extremely hot in the engine room, along with noisy, but I found great interest below deck. Every time we went down we learned something new and the crew had set another learning goal for us to achieve. The crew made it fun to be down there, personable and professional. I learned a lot while on Eagle.
The port calls; I cannot say enough about the amazing times I had in Saint Martin, Aruba, Guantanamo Bay, and Saint Petersburg. The warm weather, beautiful beaches, and stunning scenery made it easy just to wander around the islands all day. In Guantanamo we rented mountain bikes and traveled the island, visiting different beaches, to end at the Eagle versus Guantanamo Bay All Star soccer game. Even when I had duty in port I could still make the best of it, telling little kids that I was almost a pirate, and explaining to their parents that, yes, we do still steer the ship behind the helm. The stories of what we did at each port call are endless, and I know that I will never forget a moment of my experience.
I had a wonderful time on Eagle and wish I could have stayed on longer. Sadly, my next station is back at USCGA for summer school, rather than another unit like the rest of my classmates, but I know I can make the best of it. It definitely feels good to be back on solid ground again, but I cannot wait to get back out into the fleet, whether it is Eagle or another operational vessel.
More about Ardy.