1876-1878 – Cutter DobbinSince 1790, U.S. Revenue Cutter Service leaders had drawn officers from the Merchant Marine and occasionally from the Navy. In 1876, they developed a program of instruction to ensure consistent training. It was conducted mostly at sea. A topsail schooner, Dobbin, was originally home-ported in Baltimore, but moved to New Bedford in 1877. Training aboard Dobbin immersed cadets into the duties and responsibilities of a deck watch officer, where according to the first graduate, Worth G. Ross, “the strictest obedience to every detail was enforced.”
1876-1883 – Capt. John A. Henriques
A New London, Connecticut, native, Henriques (b. 1826, d. 1906) was selected to run the first cadet training ships, the Dobbin and the Chase, and served as the Superintendent of the Revenue Cutter School of Instruction until 1883.
1887-1889 New Bedford
The north end of Fish Island was chosen by Revenue Cutter Service officials as homeport for the Dobbin and the newly constructed Chase. The harbor was a snug winter home in an area close to the business district, isolated by the channel and protected by the island.
1878-1907 Cutter Chase
A 115-foot barque-rigged clipper, the cutter was named for President Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of Treasury, Salmon P. Chase. Chase was specially built for the corps of cadets and was initially home-ported at the north end of Fish Island, in New Bedford, Massachusetts. The cutter later moved to Curtis Bay, Maryland during an expansion of the School of Instruction.
1900-1910 Curtis Bay
This was a time of significant transition in the life of the institution. In 1890, the School of Instruction temporarily closed, and for a short time Revenue Cutter Service officers came for a surplus of graduates from the U.S. Naval Academy. An expansion of the Navy depleted the number of cadets available for Revenue Cutter Service duty, prompting President Grover Cleveland to reopen the school in 1894. In 1900, Chase set up permanent winter quarters here. The 64-acre campus consisted of a carpenter shop, a boar shed, a store house, a dwelling, the Academy classroom and a dock for the Chase. Until 1906, the cadets slept and ate aboard the Chase.
1907-1922 Cutter Itasca
The 190-foot barquentine-rigged cutter was a former Navy training ship. The commissioning of Itasca ushered in a new age of training with more modern equipment, and a triple-expansion steam engine that could power the cutter when sailing was not possible.
1910-1932 Fort Trumbull
The historic old fort, whose blockhouse dated back to the Revolutionary War, was turned over to the Coast Guard by the War Department. The name of the institution changed from School of Instruction to the U.S. Revenue Cutter Academy. With the merger of the Life Saving Service and the Revenue Cutter Service in 1915, the name was changed to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.
1922-1930 Cutter Hamilton
A 205-foot, barquentine-rigged cutter, Hamilton served as a gunboat in the Spanish American War. The Coast Guard named the vessel for the father of the Coast Guard, Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton, powered by a triple-expansion engine, was coal-fired and equipped with an old Scotch boiler.
1932-Present New London
On more than 100 acres of rolling hills on the west bank of the Thames River lies the present day U.S. Coast Guard Academy. A four year program was established here in 1932.
1942-1945 Cutter Danmark
A square-rigged Danish sail training ship, Danmark was sailing in U.S. waters when Nazis overran Denmark. The ship’s captain placed the ship and the crew at the disposal of the American government and was invited to serve at the Academy. The captain and his crew remained aboard Danmark and helped train cadets at the Academy throughout the war years.
1946-Present Cutter Eagle
A 295-foot barque-rigged cutter, Eagle is a seagoing classroom for future leaders of the Coast Guard. The ship was one of four training vessels operated by the German Navy during World War II. It was taken as a war prize and sailed back to New London by a Coast Guard and German Naval crew. Known as America’s Tall Ship, Eagle continues the Academy’s sail training tradition of 125 years.