USS Constitution Drops Sails Underway for First Time in 9 Years for CPO Heritage Weeks

USS Constitution dropped all three topsails while underway for the 2021 Chief of Naval Operations’ Chief Petty Officer Heritage Training Weeks, October 22.

With the help of 120 newly selected chief petty officers, USS Constitution’s crew successfully dropped all three topsails for the first time since 2012.

“After 31 years of service, this is one of the highlights of my career,” said Force Master Chief Gregory Vidaurri, a senior mentor for the newly selected chief petty officers. “It’s a phenomenal ship, a phenomenal crew, and it’s been an amazing week of chief petty officer heritage.”

For 23 years, Sailors selected for advancement to chief petty officer have come to USS Constitution to spend a week living aboard Old Ironsides, immersed in naval heritage.

“It has been an awesome experience,” said Joshua Yohn, a newly advanced chief petty officer and participant in Chief Petty Officer Heritage Weeks. “Learning the history and talking with  top-level master chiefs like force master chiefs and the master chief petty officer of the Navy has been amazing.”

During the underway, USS Constitution fired a 21-gun salute by Castle Island.

 USS Constitution fired an additional 17-gun salute as she passed U.S. Coast Guard Base Boston, the former site of Edmund Hartt’s Shipyard, where USS Constitution was built and launched on Oct. 21, 1797.

USS Constitution is the world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat, and played a crucial role in the Barbary Wars and the War of 1812, actively defending sea lanes from 1797 to 1855.

The active-duty Sailors stationed aboard USS Constitution provide free tours and offer public visitation as they support the ship’s mission of promoting the Navy’s history and maritime heritage and raising awareness of the importance of a sustained naval presence.

USS Constitution was undefeated in battle and destroyed or captured 33 opponents.

 The ship earned the nickname of Old Ironsides during the war of 1812 when British cannonballs were seen bouncing off the ship’s wooden hull.

USS Constitution is open to free public visitation Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The USS Constitution Museum is open to the public every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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