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USS Constitution to Set Sail

USS Constitution is scheduled to set sail Aug. 19 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of her victory over the British frigate HMS Guerriere during the War of 1812. This underway demonstration on Guerriere Day is the first time that she has sailed on her own since 1997.

USS Constitution

The underway will begin at approximately 10 a.m. Once Constitution is at President Roads (between Deer Island and Long Island) at approximately 11:30 a.m., the crew will set up to four sails and make toward open water for about 10 minutes. After leaving President Roads, a 21-gun salute exchange with the Massachusetts Army National Guard’s 101st Field Artillery Regiment will then be fired toward Fort Independence on Castle Island at approximately 1 p.m. The 101st Field Artillery Regiment is the oldest regiment in the Army. Sails will be furled at 2:30 p.m. and crew members will depart the ship at 3 p.m. Constitution will re-open for free public tours at 4 p.m.

More than 150 chief petty officer (CPO) selectees will also assist Constitution’s crew in setting sails. CPO selectees will be participating in Constitution’s annual CPO Heritage Weeks, a weeklong training cycle divided by two weeks that teaches selectees time-honored maritime evolutions, such as gun drills, line handling and setting sails. The training is also designed to instill pride in naval heritage in the Navy’s senior leadership.

The last time Constitution sailed under her own power was to honor the ship’s 200th birthday. This year’s sail will honor Constitution’s decisive victory over the HMS Guerriere during the War of 1812, marking the first time a United States ship defeated a Royal Navy frigate at or nearly equal size. It’s also the battle in which the ship earned her famous nickname “Old Ironsides.”

Constitution is the world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat and welcomes more than 500,000 visitors per year. She defended the sea lanes against threats from 1797 to 1855, much like the mission of today’s Navy. America’s Navy: Keeping the sea free for more than 200 years.

Constitution’s mission today is to offer community outreach and education about the ship’s history.

USS CONSTITUTION Bldg. 5 Charlestown Navy Yard, Charlestown, MA 02129

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