Special to the Patriot-Bridge
Retired Lt. Cmdr. Claire Bloom, former executive officer aboard USS Constitution, visited the command to speak to the crew as part of the ship’s observance of Women’s History Month, March 30.
Bloom made history during her time at Constitution by becoming the first female officer to serve aboard the ship and participating in the 1997 sail, the first time Old Ironsides sailed under her own power since 1881.
Bloom visited the command to engage with the crew about her experiences on board and to link the past and present.
“I totally enjoyed it,” said Bloom. “Talking about my history with the ship is really talking about the ship’s history, but from a personal perspective!”
Bloom provided an in depth view of the efforts of the 1997 crew along with talking about her role not only as executive officer, but as the first female officer to serve aboard the ship 200 years after it was commissioned.
“I hope I am a good role model,” said Bloom. “If I can see smiling faces or nodding heads, I know I am making a positive difference, so I am fulfilling my mission.”
Bloom’s visit served as a living inspiration, especially to women serving in today’s armed forces.
“Having someone who we learn about, talk about and celebrate speak to us in person was an incredible experience,” said Seaman Katrina Mastrolia, who organized Bloom’s visit. “She serves as a tangible inspiration for women who hope to break down barriers inside and outside the military.”
Constitution went through a major restoration from 1992 to 1996 in preparation for the 1997 sail.
On July 21, 1997, Constitution sailed under her own power for the first time since 1881 and for the only time during the 20th century.