USS Constitution to go Underway on May 20

The USS Constitution is scheduled to go underway from the Charlestown Navy Yard on Friday, May 20, at 10:00 a.m. The USS Constitution’s launch will kick off the ship’s sailing season under the command of the first female to ever helm the oldest ship in the US Navy.

The underway will include a 21-gun salute viewable from Fort Independence on Castle Island at approximately 11:30 a.m.

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

The USS Constitution’s cruise will be viewable from the Boston Harborwalk, Castle Island, and Charlestown Navy Yard.

It was announced earlier this year the USS Constitution will be under the command of the ships first female commander, Billie Farrell.

Commander Farrell is a native of Paducah, Kentucky.  She attended the United States Naval Academy and was commissioned in 2004 with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science.  She was awarded her Master of Science in Operations Management from the University of Arkansas in 2009.

Her first division officer tour was aboard USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) as Electrical Officer.  She then briefly took over as OI Division Officer before fleeting up as Navigator for her second tour.

After completion of her two division officer tours, Farrell reported to COMNAVPERSCOM in Millington, TN.  She became an Action Officer in PERS-833 (Post Selection Board Matters).   While there, she assumed the duties as Delay Section Head and Assistant Board Screener. 

After departing PERS-833, CDR Farrell started the Department Head pipeline.  She reported to USS San Jacinto (CG 56) in March 2012 as the Weapons Officer.  She then assumed the responsibilities as the Combat Systems Officer onboard.

Her next tour was as the Deputy Director for Professional Development at the United States Naval Academy.   After departing USNA, Farrell reported to Commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic as Deputy N3.  She previously served as Executive Officer onboard USS Vicksburg (CG 69).

Farrell is USS Constitution’s 77th Commanding Officer and the ship’s first female officer. She has been awarded three Meritorious Service Medals, four Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals and three Meritorious Unit Commendation Medals.

USS Constitution, is the Navy’s and 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. She earned the nickname of Old Ironsides during the war of 1812 when British cannonballs were seen bouncing off the ship’s wooden hull.

The USS Constitution will be closed in the morning and reopen to the public for tours after the underway from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m on Friday and will then be open Monday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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