Thursday, July 30, 2015
Ex-Nazi Serves In U.S. Coast Guard!
How is that for a tabloid headline? Strange, but true! Of course, the "Ex-Nazi" is a 295 foot long, 1655 ton, three mast, square-rigged sailing ship that the U.S. acquired as a prize in World War II, and that now serves as the flagship of the Coast Guard. The BBC recently posted a very interesting article about the U.S.S. Eagle, the Coast Guard's training vessel, and only tall ship in active service in the U.S. military. She was built in 1936 for the German Kriegsmarine as a training vessel, and named the Horst Wessel after a prominent Nazi party activist who penned the lyrics to the "Horst Wessel Song," which became the anthem for the Nazis. The BBC article also tells the story of a former German sailor who served on the ship, immigrated to America, and was accidentally reunited with his former ship in the U.S. Apparently, the eagle on the ship's prow originally held a shield bearing a swastika, where it now bears the U.S. Coast Guard shield.