CHARLESTOWN, Mass. (NNS) -- Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) spoke to Sailors stationed aboard USS Constitution Jan. 31, as they prepare for War of 1812 Bicentennial celebrations this year.
"Whenever I visit Constitution I am always so motivated by the awesome Sailors stationed here," said MCPON(SS/SW) Rick D. West. "You are all truly outstanding representatives of our Navy."
Currently, Constitution Sailors are set to participate in seven Fleet Weeks and five parades for War of 1812 commemorations and the ship's Sailors are ready.
"This is a monumental occasion for our Navy and our Nation," said West. "If you're not familiar with how the War of 1812 shaped both our country and its high regard for seapower, I encourage you to read up on it. I'm convinced you'll be as enthusiastic about giving it the proper recognition as our senior leaders are."
During MCPON's visit, he shot a video to promote War of 1812 events and climbed the ship's center mast.
"I have been here several times but I have never had the opportunity to climb the mast, and this will remain a great memory for me," said West. "When I see these young Sailors climbing so fast and swift, it is a great compliment to the training and safety found, not only here, but throughout our Navy."
MCPON spoke to the Sailors about where the Navy is today and complimented the command on its dedication to preserving history. At 214 years old, Constitution is the oldest commissioned warship afloat.
"I honestly couldn't have asked for a better opportunity," said Aviation Electronics Technician 3rd Class Brian Pickett. "One of my best experiences here was actually being stationed up on the foremast of the ship - it is sort of like 'Pirates of the Caribbean' if you will. Jack Sparrow up there holding onto the lines, seeing the horizon in the distance as we set off from the harbor here; there is no substitute for that. I look forward to what is yet to come."
"I love being on board USS Constitution," said Damage Controlman Fireman Ashley Fairfax. "Since I have been here I have grown as a Sailor; a disciplined Sailor for the United States Navy. I am proud to say I am a part of the most powerful Navy in the world."
Look for MCPON's upcoming video on his Facebook page, www.facebook.com/mcpon, and for more information on the War of 1812 and the planned festivities to commemorate the 200th anniversary, visit www.ourflagwasstillthere.org/.
For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.
For more news from Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, visit www.navy.mil/local/mcpon/.