The U.S. Coast Guard marked the completion of the service life extension project (SLEP) for the barque USCGC Eagle (WIX-327) with a ceremony at the Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore April 24, 2018.
Speakers included Capt. Matthew Lake, commanding officer of the yard; Capt. Matthew Meilstrup, commanding officer of Eagle; Vice Adm. Sandra Stosz, deputy commandant for mission support; and U.S. Representative John Sarbanes.
About 400 people were in attendance at the ceremony on the dock. In his opening remarks, Lake highlighted the training barque’s importance for building future leaders in the Coast Guard. Ken King, program manager for the in-service vessel sustainment (ISVS) program, later said “it’s been a very challenging project, doing the Eagle SLEP in phases so as not to miss the training commitments, but thanks to a great team effort by the Coast Guard Yard, the Surface Forces Logistics Center, the product line, the Legacy Sustainment Support Unit, and headquarters, it was completed on budget and on time.”
Restoration work on the 81-year-old sailing ship included complete hull and mast inspections, hull structure and shell plate renewal as well as replacement of keel rivets, berthing upgrades, redesign and replacement of the propulsion system, and rigging and mast overhauls. The work took place in four six-month phases to allow for training exercises with cadets and officer candidates during the spring and summer months.
The 295-foot sailing ship was built in Germany and later commissioned as a Coast Guard cutter in 1946. It has 23 sails with a sail area of over 22,000 square feet. The last service life extension work on Eagle was from 1979 to 1983.
USCGC Eagle will return to New London, Connecticut, where it was based before the restoration work.