Constitution Sailors Teach Naval History, Heritage, Science to Kids at McWane Science Center

Story Number: NNS180416-22Release Date: 4/16/2018 3:23:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Casey Scoular, USS Constitution Public Affairs

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to USS Constitution taught early American naval history and naval science to kids at McWane Science Center on April 13.

Constitution Sailors gave an interactive historical and scientific presentation to more than 100 kids as part of Birmingham Navy Week taking place from April 9-15.

"The water is where I've been my entire life," said Hull Maintenance Technician 3rd Class Pamela Hensley, assigned to USS Constitution. "In the ocean, especially at night you can see that it's completely black out there and you can see the stars and hearthe calming sounds of the ocean and to me, that's why I love the water so much. Bringing the navy to a city that's surrounded by land is something that's interesting because maybe those kids haven't been exposed to those types of things. It's not justthat we're the military; the navy week is teaching the kids why we do what we do. Each branch is different but they can all offer so many different things."

Kids learned about the creation of the Navy, Constitution's construction, her famous battle with HMS Guerriere during the War of 1812, its use of simple machines, and the mission of today's Navy as it relates to the past.

"Constitution is a different type of ship, different than any other type of ship in the navy," said Hensley. "We're the only ship made of wood left and we get to teach kids about where the navy started. The kids may only know about the army or the marines because they have bases in the South. People see Constitution and they think we're a pirate ship but we teach them that we're one of the original frigates of the navy. We get to teach people that this is where the navy began."

Constitution Sailors undergo 20 weeks of naval history training as soon as they check on board, along with additionally weekly training.

Peggy Chowning, vice president of education for McWane Science Center, believes that the Sailors visit to McWane will not only help the kids learn more about history and science, but that they will also learn more about the navy in general.

"I think it's a great way for the kids to learn about history and science all at the same time," said Chowning. "The majority of these kids live in the center of the state. They don't usually think about the ocean, the ships that have sailed for hundreds of years, and the science and innovation that it took to build all of those ships. I think it will have a big impact on them, to know that they navy's been around that many years."

Birmingham is the third Navy week that Constitution Sailors have participated in during 2018. The primary purpose of Navy Weeks is that they are dedicated to raising U.S. Navy awareness through local outreach, community service and exhibitions.

CONSTITUTION, America's Ship of State, actively defended sea lanes against global threats from 1797-1855. The World's Oldest Commissioned Warship Afloat, Constitution embodies 220 years of maritime heritage and unwavering service to her country. Now a featured destination on Boston's Freedom Trail, Constitution
and her crew of active duty U.S. Navy Sailors offer community outreach and education about the ship's history and the importance of naval sea power to more than 500,000 visitors each year. Constitution is berthed at Pier One in Charlestown Navy Yard.

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