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"Old Ironsides" sails again: world's oldest commissioned warship USS Constitution marks 220 years and US Navy's 242nd birthday


By WcP.Observer - Posted on 22 October 2017

(quote)

The world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat got underway for the first time in three years as the USS Constitution got underway from the ship’s berth in Charlestown, Massachusetts, on Oct. 20, in commemoration of the ship’s launching 220 years ago and the U.S. Navy’s 242nd birthday.
At 11:40 a.m., Constitution performed a 21-gun salute which was returned by the Concord Battery and 101st Field Artillery near Fort Independence on Castle Island. Fort Independence is a state park that served as a defensive position for Boston Harbor from 1634 to 1962.

The ship also fired an additional 17 shots at 12:15 p.m. as she passed the U.S. Coast Guard Station, the former site of the Edmund Hartt shipyard where Constitution was built. Each round of this salute honored the 16 states that comprised America when Constitution launched in 1797 and one in honor of the ship.

“Getting Constitution back on the water has been my mission ever since I took command in 2015,” said Cmdr. Robert S. Gerosa, Jr., Constitution’s 74th commanding officer.

USS Constitution is a wooden-hulled, three-masted heavy frigate of the United States Navy, named by President George Washington after the Constitution of the United States of America.
She is the world's oldest commissioned naval vessel afloat. Constitution was launched in 1797, one of six original frigates authorized for construction by the Naval Act of 1794 and the third constructed. Joshua Humphreys designed the frigates to be the young Navy's capital ships, and so Constitution and her sisters were larger and more heavily armed and built than standard frigates of the period. Her first duties with the newly formed U.S. Navy were to provide protection for American merchant shipping during the Quasi-War with France and to defeat the Barbary pirates in the First Barbary War.

Constitution is most noted for her actions during the War of 1812 against the United Kingdom, when she captured numerous merchant ships and defeated five British warships: HMS Guerriere, Java, Pictou, Cyane, and Levant. The battle with Guerriere earned her the nickname of "Old Ironsides" and public adoration that has repeatedly saved her from scrapping. She continued to serve as flagship in the Mediterranean and African squadrons, and she circled the world in the 1840s. During the American Civil War, she served as a training ship for the United States Naval Academy. She carried American artwork and industrial displays to the Paris Exposition of 1878.

(unquote)

Photo courtesy US Navy and Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Andrew Meyers/ Released

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