Constitution Sails Back Into History

By Edward Lundquist at June 06, 2011 10:05
Filed Under: General, Navy News

America's oldest commissioned warship, USS Constitution, and indeed the oldest such combatant in any navy, still gets underway, as it did yesterday to salute the U.S. Navy's victory at Midway Island during World War II with 200 Gold Star families aboard as guests.  Although the ship does not operate without tug assistance, it does get underway, and on occasion will unfurl sails.  Her Sailors must learn their sailing skills aboard the U.S. Coast Guard's training bark USCGC Eagle, home ported about two hours away at New London, Ct.

Seeing the ship underway serves to remind us of a day when canvas and wind were the means of propulsion for virtually all ships, in trade or armed for war.

Constitution’s crew today is very much a team of contemporary surface warriors in a high-tech Navy, but has the honor of perpetuating naval customs and traditions, not to mention technology.  This is evident not only from her sails, but from her gig crew's participation in a recent boat race where, they demonstrated the other once common means of propulsion: muscle.

In her role as a historical monument, her crew is often seen in the uniforms of another era.  And in keeping with the theme of preserving customs, tradition, and the technologies of those days long gone, the ship still fires guns in salute (using a modern day saluting gun), as it did on June 3 when it rendered honors to the United States of America, exchanging 21-gun salutes with Fort Independence on Castle Island in Boston Harbor.

HULL, Mass. (March 12, 2011) The gig crew, comprised of Sailors assigned to USS Constitution, pulls hard as they struggle to the finish line during the 32nd annual Snow Row. The Snow Row is a 3.75-mile triangular course that gives participants the opportunity to display their boat and seamanship skills to spectators. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kathryn E. Macdonald/Released)

BOSTON HARBOR (June 3, 2011) USS Constitution fires a 21-gun salute toward Fort Independence on Castle Island in Boston Harbor during an underway Battle of Midway commemoration. The underway honored approximately 200 members of Gold Star Families who lost loved ones in Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom and the Navy's victory at Midway Island in World War II. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kathryn E. Macdonald/Released)

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (April 10, 2011) Members of the USS Constitution honor guard present the colors while dressed in the uniforms from two hundred years ago.  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Todd Frantom/Released)



Comments (1) -

   I' m very proud to have visited that famous ship

Stanislaw Drozd |     6/8/2011 4:09:32 AM #

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