USS Constitution to hold Change of Command on Saturday

The crew of USS Constitution is scheduled to host their Change of Command Ceremony Saturday, Feb. 29, on the ship at 10 a.m.

Constitution’s current Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Nathaniel R. Shick, will be relieved by Cmdr. John A. Benda – a Massachusetts native hailing from Dedham.

USS Constitution will be closed during the ceremony, but will open to the public after the event at 2 p.m. and will close at 4 p.m.

Cmdr. Shick, USS Constitution’s 75th Commanding Officer, previously served as the Executive Officer aboard the Ticonderoga-class, guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60) and supported Operation Inherent Resolve.

“The opportunity to command is a signal honor,” Cmdr. Shick said. “To command Constitution is an exceptional chapter in my naval career. It is with heartfelt gratitude that I give due praise for our achievements to my outstanding crew and the dedicated government and community organizations which support our mission to share America’s naval heritage with the world.”     

Cmdr. Benda previously served as USS Constitution’s Executive Officer before being selected to serve as the ship’s 76th Commanding Officer.

“It is the honor of my professional life to be named the next Captain of Old Ironsides–to be the face of the United States Navy, to get the opportunity to lead the finest crew of sailors, and to work with the incredibly supportive Boston community,” said Benda. USS Constitution remains undefeated in battle at sea, defeating her opponents in 33 combat engagements.

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