Morale: U.S. Navy Seeks Sailing Sailors

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June 25, 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.

Candidates must;

Be able to handle going up in the rigging.

Have capability to give talks and presentations (to museum visitors).

Not been in trouble for drinking in the past 36 months, or have had a drunken driving conviction in the past five years.

Not have had financial debt or credit) problems in the past 36 months.

Have had above average fitness reports in the last 36 months.

Not have excessive, or questionable, tattoos.

Be in good physical shape and not overweight.

Have passed all physical fitness assessments in the past year, and have not failed more than one physical fitness test in the past four years.

Lower ranking sailors (E-3 and below) must be unmarried.

Built in 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.

A British 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.

The 175 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.

For sailors interested in getting on the USS Constitution crew, check Navy Administrative Message 168/08 at: www.npc.navy.mil.

 

 


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