Eagle has landed as US Coast Guard training vessel visits island
Almost 200 trainee cadets, officers and permanent crew members of the US Coast Guard training vessel Eagle have made port in Bermuda under the ship’s first female captain Jessica Rozzi-Ochs.
The 295-foot barque is visiting the island for the 39th time since 1946 when it was first used as a training vessel for future officers of the United States Coast Guard Academy.
Having arrived in Hamilton Harbour yesterday, the crew have a busy itinerary during their one-week stay including hosting the US Consul General’s US Independence Day Reception with invited guests including Premier David Burt, Governor Rena Lalgie and Karen Grissette, US Consul to Bermuda.
They will also be carrying out community work for the Bermuda Zoological Society Trunk Island Restoration Project where they will clear vegetation and plant mangroves, and Sandys Boat Club where they will assist with maintenance and meet with youth sailing teams. Members of the public will be able to take tours of the ship while it is in port.
Bermuda is part of the academy’s summer deployment training schedule and is the only non-US port of call the ship will be making this summer.
Ms Rozzi-Ochs explained: “Every year it changes based on what the priorities are within the Coast Guard and within the US. With Covid it changed how we did training on board.
“Last year, we started to get back to normal – this year was mostly east coast based on priorities of some of the ports we wanted to visit and also with the commanding officer changing out.
“She is home ported in New London, Connecticut where she departed from in early May. She made various port calls – the last port of call before coming here was Key West, Florida. That is where we had the Change of Command Ceremony on June 24 which is when I took command of this vessel.
“After here we are headed home to New London, Connecticut. Most of the trainees we have on board will disembark and we will take on a new group of trainees.”
Ms Rozzi-Ochs said while she is the first female captain of the Eagle, the Coast Guard is inclusive and progressive, and females have captained other Coast Guard vessels.
“I think the Coast Guard is an incredible service where we promote inclusion and diversity. I feel very blessed that the Coast Guard has fostered that environment and culture.”
Ms Rozzi-Ochs has a background as a mechanical engineer and has served in the Coast Guard for 22 years. She has primarily done naval engineering within the Coast Guard as well as operations, work within the budget office and most recently in the Office of Congressional Affairs. Between 2013 and 2015, she served on board the Eagle as an executive officer.
She said she has been afforded a fulfilling career so far within the service.
“I have loved it – it is an incredible service there are a lot of opportunities,” she said.
“It is a smaller service within the armed services but we are empowered to have responsibility and leadership. We have a broad range of missions so you can find a place for yourself – I have enjoyed that. It is very supportive of females in the service, it is pretty progressive.
“On board a ship you are together 24/7 and you learn to live together, communicate and work together towards that common goal.
“It is also incredible to be able to see a number of different international ports and work with different countries. In most ports you will get a little bit of time off to enjoy the local food and culture.”
The Coast Guard is a maritime service that falls under the Department of Homeland Security rather than the Department of Defense.
Ms Rozzi-Ochs added: “We have 11 statutory missions – search and rescue and fisheries are more prominent ones, we do law enforcement, training on the humanitarian side, international relations and we train other countries in maritime operations.
“Eagle was in Bermuda last year and it was an important visit – we were able to have some pretty high level discussions between the Consul General and the Coast Guard regarding illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. Eagle was able to serve as a platform to facilitate some of those discussions.”
Members of the public are invited to enjoy tours of the Eagle on Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 11am to 7pm.