Eric Brown, MC1(SW)
Public Affairs Officer
CHARLESTOWN NAVY YARD, Mass. – USS Constitution will ring in the New Year with a shot fired from her port-side saluting battery at midnight January 1.
“It’s a great way to recognize USS Constitution’s continuing commitment to defending the nation,” said Cmdr. Timothy Cooper, Old Ironsides’ 71st and current commanding officer. “This is how we are going to bring in the New Year properly, with the same time of revelry you’ll find in the rest of the city.”
USS Constitution had a number of significant accomplishments in 2009; most notably, President Barrack Obama designated the 212-year-old frigate as America’s Ship of State as part of the National Defense Authorization Act For Fiscal Year 2010.
The upcoming year will be just as bright for Old Ironsides, Cooper predicted.
“Next year, the ship’s three-year maintenance project – which will furtherrestore her to an 1812 configuration – will be completed,” he said. “At different points throughout the year, the ship will start to be up-rigged. The masts will be extended and the yards will be added to the masts, so when visitors come here, they will be seeing the ship the beautiful, tall ship she is supposed to be.
“Additionally, we are looking at new opportunities and ways to share USS Constitution with people locally and throughout the country. As we get closer to our busiest time of the year, the summer, we will be providing more notifications through social media and our Web site of upcoming events.”
Cooper has a few New Year’s resolutions for the ship that are very similar to his ideas regarding the ship’s legacy and future that he had prior to assuming command July 24.
“My goal here is to share this ship, and her part in American history, with as many people as possible,” he said. “Internally, we are continuing to look at all of the policies, procedures and practices that we have in place for our Sailors, and continuing to improve them to make this the best duty station in the U.S. Navy.”
To commemorate the holidays, the ship will be closed on December 25 and January 1. To learn more about USS Constitution and the free, guided tours offered year –round, visit the Web site at www.history.navy.mil/ussconstitution.