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Category Archives: Old Ironsides

USS Constitution Marks 10 Years as America’s Ship of State

By Mass Comm. Spec. 2nd Class Casey Scoular, USS Constitution Public Affairs

This year marks USS Constitution’s 222nd birthday—the big triple-two. Our ship was launched into Boston Harbor on Oct. 21, 1797, making her the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world. 

This year also marks another big milestone: October heralds the 10th anniversary of Constitution’s designation as America’s Ship of State.

On Oct. 28, 2009, Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act; section 1022 designates USS Constitution as America’s Ship of State.

BOSTON (July 1, 2019) Sailors assigned to USS Constitution furl the mizzen topsail during weekly sail training. Constitution’s crew members conduct weekly training to learn and retain sailing information. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Casey Scoular/Released)

But why? With so many titles and accomplishments, ranging from “Old Ironsides” to “the Eagle of the Seas” to “Boston’s only undefeated team” (33-0), why add “America’s Ship of State” to the mix? What exactly does a ship of state do?

Before we get into that, let’s look at how USS Constitution earned her awesome reputation.

At the start of her national service, USS Constitution protected America’s merchants during the Quasi War with France and had a few at-sea Ws under her belt by the time she finished mopping up corsairs during the first Barbary War.

Her record at this time is 17-0; however, her greatest test was still to come: the powerful British royal navy.

The British were fighting Napoleonic France at sea and needed men for their navy. So they decided to start taking our Navy Sailors and forcibly drafting them into the Royal Navy. Not cool! The United States was fed up with this practice and the trade restrictions imposed against neutrals, so we declared war on Britain. So began the War of 1812.

“Constitution vs. Guerierre.” George Ropes, Jr. 1813 Oil on Panel, USS Constitution Museum Collection

At the outset of the war, we were looking at David-and-Goliath odds. The American people feared they would be back under British rule again because Britain had the best navy in the world. After the British naval victories over the French, Spanish, and Dutch navies during the Napoleonic Wars, the royal navy was seen as invincible.

But Isaac Hull and the crew of USS Constitution changed that. 

USS Constitution faced HMS Guerriere in August of 1812 and defeated her in our Navy’s first frigate-to-frigate battle at sea. She earned the nickname “Old Ironsides” during that fight, when cannonballs were seen bouncing harmlessly off the side of her tough live-oak hull. Huzzah!

The American people welcomed Capt. Isaac Hull and his crew back to Boston as heroes.

Constitution’s victory had given the American people the hope they so desperately needed and proved that the royal navy could be beaten.

Constitution delivered more victories, defeating another British frigate, HMS Java.

The royal navy’s confidence was shaken, and the British admiralty commanded captains to not engage American frigates unless in squadron force (two or more against one).

USS Constitution answered the challenge, simultaneously defeating both HMS Cyane and HMS Levant in the last phase of the war.

In 1815, the National Intelligencer, a famous newspaper of the day, hailed Constitution as a symbol of the up-and-coming United States:

“Let us keep Old Ironsides at home, she has literally become the nation’s ship and should thus be preserved in honorable pomp, as a glorious monument of her own and our other naval victories.”

Constitution became a symbol of the American people and our ability to triumph over seemingly unbeatable odds. 

War of 1812 Constitution Anniversary Stamp USS Constitution, attributed to Michele Felice Corne, 1803. USS Constitution Museum Collection, U.S. Navy Loan

In the late 1820s, Constitution was awaiting repairs. Incorrectly believing the ship was destined for the scrapyard, physician-poet Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. (father of the eventual Supreme Court justice) wrote a poem in 1830 that implored the government not to destroy this symbol of the United States.

His poem, titled “Old Ironsides” motivated the citizens of Boston as well as the nation to demand Constitution’s immediate repair.

Aye tear her tattered ensign down

Long has it waved on high,

And many an eye has danced to see

That banner in the sky;

Beneath it rung the battle shout,

And burst the cannon’s roar;—

The meteor of the ocean air

Shall sweep the clouds no more.

Constitution was repaired and put back into service. Her 1844-46 world cruise exhibited the American flag around the world.

Now claiming the title of 32-0, she would claim one last victory at sea. On Nov. 3, 1853, while combating the slave trade, she captured an American slaving vessel, H.N. Gambrill, cementing her score at 33-0.

In 1860, USS Constitution evacuated the midshipmen from the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis to Newport, Rhode Island, in fear that the Confederates would capture the city and the beloved ship.

She served as a training ship from the 1860s until the 1880s, when she was taken off the active duty roster and resigned to service in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Detail of the only known photograph of USS Constitution under sail, taken by Army Private Hendrickson, summer 1881, Hampton Roads, Virginia. [Courtesy Naval History & Heritage Command Detachment Boston]

In 1896, President Kennedy’s grandfather, Rep. John Fitzgerald, successfully campaigned to have Constitution moved back to Boston for her 100th birthday.

Again, the citizens of Boston and the United States wanted Constitution to be honored and revered for her service.

During the early portion of the 20th century, Old Ironsides was in Boston and began falling into disrepair. The Navy said it would restore her, but it could not fund the full extent of the work needed.

Unsurprisingly, there was a huge outpouring of support, and people from all over the United States contributed funds to the restoration. School children from across the country even donated their pennies to see Constitution restored.

The “Pennies Campaign” was a huge success, and from 1931-1934, Constitution traveled around the country on a national cruise to thank the citizens of the nation for their donations.

As far away from Boston as Bellingham, Washington, huge crowds of people came to see her. In the Puget Sound area alone, she attracted a crowd of more than 500,000 people.

She even served during WWII, as a receiving barracks for troops transitioning between duty stations.

In 1976, during bicentennial celebrations, she hosted Queen Elizabeth II while on her tour around the country. By now, of course, our two countries had long been close allies.

Constitution represents the United States, from our ingenuity and fierce fighting spirit to our warm hospitality and friendship.

She has done so much for our country and the people of our country have expressed so many times how much they love ‘Old Ironsides’.

So to the question of why call her our Ship of State, I think the better question is: What took us so long?

But if you’re still wondering what exactly a Ship of State does, here’s what the aforementioned Defense Authorization Act states on the matter:

“It is the sense of Congress that the President, Vice President, executive branch officials, and members of Congress should use the USS Constitution for the conducting of pertinent matters of state, such as hosting visiting heads of state, signing legislation relating to the Armed Forces, and signing maritime related treaties.”

USS Constitution is tugged through Boston Harbor during Constitution’s birthday cruise. Constitution got underway to celebrate the ship’s 222nd. birthday and the Navy’s 244th birthday. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Alec Kramer/Released)

https://navylive.dodlive.mil/2019/10/28/uss-constitution-marks-10-years-as-americas-ship-of-state/ jbell

Celebrating Navy Week Wilmington

The Port City, Wilmington, North Carolina, welcomed U.S. Navy Sailors to town during the annual Azalea Festival, coinciding the event with Navy Week in the city April 1-7. Navy Weeks play a vital role in connecting the American public with Sailors, assets and Navy equipment. The weeklong engagement introduces the local communities who do not have frequent visibility of the Navy, with an understand why having a strong Navy is so invaluable to our country. Both residents and Sailors interacted in an estimated 75 community outreach events providing the opportunity to meet Sailors firsthand with a visible awareness the mission, capabilities and importance of the U.S. Navy.

Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Cory Van Beveren, from Countryside, Illinois, assigned to USS Constitution interacts with a member of YWCA Lower Cape Fear during Wilmington Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Casey Scoular/Released)
Coastal Carolina veterans and Sailors assigned to Virginia-class submarine USS North Carolina (SSN 777) wave to parade goers during at the Azalea Festival Parade during Wilmington Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Sara Eshleman/Released)
Seaman Dakota Parson, from New Castle, Pennsylvania, assigned to USS Constitution, speaks to students at Cape Fear Elementary School about the history of “Old Ironsides” during Wilmington Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Casey Scoular/Released)
Ensign Tyler Norvell, right, from Jacksonville, Florida, a prospective Naval aviation student awaiting flight school, volunteers during a community relations event with Habitat for Humanity during Wilmington Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Sara Eshleman/Released)
Beverly Wyckoff, a volunteer at the North Carolina Maritime Museum at Southport, gives a tour of the museum to Sailors assigned to USS Constitution during Wilmington Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Casey Scoular/Released)
Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Amanda Stanaway, from Springfield, Ohio, assigned to USS Constitution, teaches a child at Community Boys and Girls Club of Wilmington how to tie a neckerchief during Wilmington Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Casey Scoular/Released)
Seaman Aubrey Wright, from Louisville, Kentucky, assigned to USS Constitution, speaks with students at New Hanover High School about her role aboard “Old Ironsides” during Wilmington Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Casey Scoular/Released)
Suzanne Jalot, host of 103.7’s “Sunny Morning’s with Suzanne Jalot,” interviews Chief Yeoman Patrick Parker, from Gorham, Maine, assigned to USS Constitution, during Wilmington Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Casey Scoular/Released)
Eugene Ashley High School Naval Junior ROTC students ask Sailors assigned to the Virginia-class submarine USS North Carolina (SSN 777) questions about Navy life during Wilmington Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Sara Eshleman/Released)
Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Amanda Stanaway, from Springfield, Ohio, assigned to USS Constitution, speaks to students at Cape Fear Elementary School about the history of “Old Ironsides” during Wilmington Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Casey Scoular/Released)
Damage Controlman 2nd Class Andrew Basbas, from Jacksonville, N.C., mans a recruiting booth in the Azalea Street Fair during Wilmington Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Sara Eshleman/Released)
Stanley B., host of “Jammin’ 99.9’s Stanley B. in the Morning,” interviews USS Constitution Sailors Aubrey Wright, left, from Louisville, Kentucky; Seaman Dakota Parson, from New Castle, Pennsylvania; and Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Cory Van Beveren, from Countryside, Illinois; during Wilmington Navy Week, April 1, 2019. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Casey Scoular/Released)

Check to see if a Navy Week is coming to your community.  Scheduled cities in 2019 are:

– Puerto Rico, April 8-14

– Oklahoma City, Okla., May 27-June 2

– Nashville, Tenn., June 3-9

– Quad Cities, Iowa, June 24-30

– Duluth, Minn., July 15-21

– Grand Junction, Colo., July 22-28

– Boise, Idaho, Aug. 19-25

– St. Louis, Mo., Sept. 2-8

– Wichita, Kan., Sept. 9-15

– Charleston, W.V., Oct. 14-20

https://navylive.dodlive.mil/2019/04/12/celebrating-navy-week-wilmington/ ltall

Miami Navy Week Celebrated

The third Navy Week of 2019 took America’s Navy to Miami, Florida, March 25 – 31.  Sailors showcased the mission, capabilities and achievements of the U.S. Navy through a variety of community outreach events. The primary purpose of the Navy Week program is to increase awareness by presenting the Navy to Americans who live in cities that normally do not have a significant naval presence.  Outreach events provided an opportunity to interact with Sailors firsthand and reinforce that their Navy is deployed around the world, around the clock, and ready to defend America at all times.

Adm. Craig S. Faller, commander of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), receives a proclamation from Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez during the Miami Navy Week proclamation ceremony. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Maria G. Llanos/Released)
Members of the U.S. Navy parachute team, the Leap Frogs, prepare for a night demonstration jump into Miami’s Regatta Park for a Miami Navy Week Celebration. Miami Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Maria G. Llanos/Released)
The U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard drill team performs during the Miami Navy Week proclamation ceremony, March 26, 2019 in Miami, Florida. Miami Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Maria G. Llanos/Released)
Aerographer’s Mate 2nd Class Jakob Gradert, assigned to the Naval Oceanography Office, educates children about Navy oceanography gliders during Miami Navy Week at the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Maria G. Llanos/Released)
Yeoman Seaman Zhane Brown, from Chester, Virginia, assigned to USS Constitution, teaches Frost Science Museum spring break campers how to tie knots during Miami Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Casey Scoular/Released)
Aerographer’s Mate 3rd Class Luis Ferreiro, assigned to Fleet Weather Center San Diego, demonstrates water funneling during Miami Navy Week at the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science during Miami Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Maria G. Llanos/Released)
Sailors assigned to Navy Band Southeast perform a concert for visitors at Miami Seaquarium during Miami Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Casey Scoular/Released)
Sailors assigned to the guided-missile submarine USS Florida (SSGN 728) and USS Constitution surround a sculpture of former Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino at Hard Rock Stadium during Miami Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Maria Llanos/Released)
Hayle Crigel, the guest expirience manager for Hard Rock Stadium, gives a tour of the stadium to Sailors assigned to USS Constitution, the Ohio-class cruise missile submarine USS Florida (SSGN 728), Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command, and Fighter Squadron Composite (VFC) 111 during Miami Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Casey Scoular/Released)
Aerographer’s Mate 1st Class Lydia Wallace and Aerographer’s Mate 2nd Class Jakob Gradert, assigned to the Naval Oceanographic office, speak to visitors about oceanography and how it helps the Navy during Miami Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Casey Scoular/Released)
Capt. James Kennedy, executive officer of the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21) and Command Master Chief Ben Hodges render salutes while taps is played during the Miami Navy Week 9/11 Observance at the Miami Military Museum. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Maria G. Llanos/Released)
Adm. Craig S. Faller, commander of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), is interviewed by Miami-area media following the Miami Navy Week proclamation ceremony. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Maria G. Llanos/Released)
Seaman Mary Bushatz, from Okeechobee, Florida, assigned to USS Constitution, teaches children at Coconut Grove Sailing club about “Old Ironsides” construction during Miami Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Casey Scoular/Released)
Sailors assigned to USS Constitution present the colors before the start of “American Steel, a 9/11 Observance” at Miami Military Museum during Miami Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Casey Scoular/Released)

Check the list for a Navy Week coming to a community near you.

– Wilmington, N.C., April 1-7

– Puerto Rico, April 8-14

– Oklahoma City, Okla., May 27-June 2

– Nashville, Tenn., June 3-9

– Quad Cities, Iowa, June 24-30

– Duluth, Minn., July 15-21

– Grand Junction, Colo., July 22-28

– Boise, Idaho, Aug. 19-25

– St. Louis, Mo., Sept. 2-8

– Wichita, Kan., Sept. 9-15

– Charleston, W.V., Oct. 14-20

 

 

 

 

https://navylive.dodlive.mil/2019/04/03/miami-navy-week-celebrated/ ltall

Charleston Hosts Navy Week

The crew of USS Charleston (LCS-18) made a visit to its namesake city for Navy Week, March 11-17, to showcase the mission, capabilities and achievements of the Independence class littoral combat ship. Navy Week Charleston featured more than 80 community outreach events, giving the residents the opportunity to meet Sailors firsthand and get a look at what the U.S. Navy does globally.  Navy Weeks raise awareness of the Navy, and reinforce its importance to the public for a national defense strategy.

Sailors assigned to USS Constitution march in the Charleston, South Carolina St. Patrick’s Day Parade during Charleston Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Seaman Donovan Keller/Released)
Rear Adm. Daniel H. Fillion delivers a speech to the senior class at Goose Creek High School in South Carolina during a visit to his alma mater as part of Charleston Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jordan R. Bair/Released)
A Sailor assigned to Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 40 sends hand signals to the pilot and copilot after a MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter landed at St. John’s High School during Charleston Navy Week, March 14. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jordan R. Bair/Released)
Hull Technician 3rd Class Christian Hensley and Seaman Sarah Chandler, assigned to USS Constitution, discuss the history of the cutlass to a patron of the Charleston Museum during the Charleston South Carolina Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Seaman Donovan Keller/Released)
Navy Diver 2nd Class Mitchell LaFave, Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 2, interacts with aquarium visitors while diving in a tank at the South Carolina Aquarium during Charleston Navy Week, March 16. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jordan R. Bair/Released)
Navy Diver 2nd Class Dylan Lafountain helps a student try on a Navy-issued dive helmet at the Buist Academy during Charleston Navy Week, March 15, 2019. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jordan R. Bair/Released)
Jim Vermeulen, of Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command, speaks with students from Montessori Community School on different types of satellites. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Jacqui Maxwell/Released)
A participant tests the propellers on his remotely operated vehicle before the SeaPerch Charleston Challenge begins at Danny Jones Recreation Complex during Charleston Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jordan R. Bair/Released)
Hull Maintenance Technician 3rd Class Christian Hensley, assigned to USS Constitution, presents to a patron of USS Yorktown during Charleston Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Seaman Donovan Keller/Released)
1Navy Diver 2nd Class Mitchell Lafave monitors a remotely operated vehicle during the SeaPerch Charleston Challenge at Danny Jones Recreation Complex during Charleston Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jordan R. Bair/Released)
Kendyll Collins, Educational Interpreter at the South Carolina Aquarium, interviews Navy Diver 2nd Class Mitchell LaFave, Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 2, while diving in a tank at the South Carolina Aquarium during Charleston Navy Week. T(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jordan R. Bair/Released)
The principal of Goose Creek High School, Shameka Washington Ed.S., stops in the media center guiding Rear Adm. Daniel H. Fillion through his alma mater during a visit during Charleston Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jordan R. Bair/Released)
James Atkins, an IT specialist at Naval Information Warfare Center Atlantic, demonstrates a remote-controlled robot to students at the Buist Academy during Charleston Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jordan R. Bair/Released)
Hull Maintenance Technician 3rd Class Christian Hensley and Lt. Travis Leary, assigned to USS Constitution, speak with museum goers on the history of “Old Ironsides” at the Charleston Museum during Charleston Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jordan R. Bair/Released)
The U.S. Fleet Forces Band ensemble Brass Band performs at Marion Square during Charleston Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jordan R. Bair/Released)

Check the list for a Navy Week coming to a community near you.

– Miami, Fla., March 25-31

– Wilmington, N.C., April 1-7

– Puerto Rico, April 8-14

– Oklahoma City, Okla., May 27-June 2

– Nashville, Tenn., June 3-9

– Quad Cities, Iowa, June 24-30

– Duluth, Minn., July 15-21

– Grand Junction, Colo., July 22-28

– Boise, Idaho, Aug. 19-25

– St. Louis, Mo., Sept. 2-8

– Wichita, Kan., Sept. 9-15

– Charleston, W.V., Oct. 14-20

https://navylive.dodlive.mil/2019/03/20/charleston-hosts-navy-week/ ltall