2008: The U.S. Navy is recruiting
sailors to serve on the last remaining sail powered warship still in
commission. This is the USS Constitution ("Old Ironsides"). The 15-20 sailors selected each year are part
of a 55 sailor detachment that participates in ceremonial and educational
programs, including historically accurate drills involving manipulating the sails
and rigging (all those ropes and such), as well as the period cannon still on
board. It's a three year tour, and counts as shore duty for career purposes. The
USS Constitution is berthed near Boston.
Be able to
handle going up in the rigging.
capability to give talks and presentations (to museum visitors).
in trouble for drinking in the past 36 months, or have had a drunken driving
conviction in the past five years.
had financial debt or credit) problems in the past 36 months.
above average fitness reports in the last 36 months.
excessive, or questionable, tattoos.
Be in good
physical shape and not overweight.
passed all physical fitness assessments in the past year, and have not failed
more than one physical fitness test in the past four years.
ranking sailors (E-3 and below) must be unmarried.
1797, the USS Constitution served as a warship until 1860, and then as a
training or support ship until decommissioned in 1882. She then spent several decades as a stationary
support ship (for barracks or administrative work). Recommissioned in 1931, the
USS Constitution began its current career as a museum ship. In 1995, a three
year refit restored the ship to sailing status. In 1997, USS Constitution set
sail for the first time in 116 years.
warship, the HMS Victory, is 30 years older than the Constitution, but is
permanently dry docked, not rebuilt to sailing condition. The two ships are the
oldest living relics from the age of fighting sail.
foot long (at the waterline) Constitution displaces 2,200 tons and originally
carried a crew of 450. She was armed with 56 muzzle loading, black powder
cannon. Originally a class of six ships, they were classified as frigates, but
were in fact the most powerful frigates in the world at the time. At that time,
frigates were warships that sacrificed firepower for speed, but the American
frigates had plenty of both.
sailors interested in getting on the USS Constitution crew, check Navy Administrative Message
168/08 at: www.npc.navy.mil.