CHARLESTOWN, Mass. (NNS) -- USS Constitution appointed its first female command senior chief (CSC) in the ship's 213-year history, during a turnover ceremony held aboard the ship in Charlestown, Mass., April 29.
Senior Chief Aviation Maintenance Administrationman (AW/SW) Roxanne Rhoades relieved Command Master Chief David Twiford, who advanced to master chief petty officer during his CSC assignment to Constitution.
"Rhoades is the definition of sustained superior performance," said Twiford, who will go on to become the command master chief for Naval Station Rota. "She is more than qualified, and I am confident she will continue the mission of telling the story of the War of 1812 with the same zeal."
As CSC, Rhoades will be responsible for mentoring, training and leading all enlisted Sailors at Constitution for the next three years. She will also play an important leadership role as the crew prepares to celebrate the bicentennial of the War of 1812. The ship is expected to draw national media attention for the event.
"I want to ensure the historical value of the past is presented today with underway demonstrations in full-sail and our Sailors are fully trained to the highest Navy standards," said Rhoades. "Overcoming challenges is an everyday business, and there is nothing we cannot conquer as the crew of 'Old Ironsides.' "
Retired Lt. Cmdr. Claire Bloom, Constitution's first female executive officer from April 1996 to October 1998, said she remembers the challenges she faced when Constitution prepared for the celebration of the ship's 200th birthday in 1997.
"Serving on board Constitution was one of the most exciting times of my life," said Bloom. "As times change, the command is now 30 percent women. From my experience, these Sailors look for guidance from senior enlisted personnel and having a female leader to identify with is crucial to success."
Rhoades' previous assignments include: CSC of Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Group and first billeted CSC in an aviation squadron within the Commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet area of responsibility. Her personal awards include: five Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medals, four Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medals, and various unit citations and campaign awards.
"A large number of our Sailors are from the aviation ratings," said Cmdr. Tim Cooper, 71st in command of Constitution. "Having a senior mentor who can address community specific concerns with them will be very beneficial."
Constitution is located in the Charlestown Navy Yard of Boston Harbor. She is the world's oldest
commissioned warship afloat and welcomes more than 500,000 visitors a year.
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