USS Constitution Sailors Teach Naval History at TSC

Story Number: NNS120914-19Release Date: 9/14/2012 2:03:00 PM
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By By Sue Krawczyk, Training Support Center Great Lakes Public Affairs

GREAT LAKES, Ill. (12 Sep 2012) (NNS) -- Sailors from aboard the historic USS Constitution shared a bit of naval history with students at Ross Theater, Training Support Center (TSC), Great Lakes during a presentation on Sept. 12.

Students learned about USS Constitution's construction and its importance during the War of 1812.

USS Constitution is the nation's oldest commissioned warship afloat and played a significant role in the War of 1812. The Navy is celebrating the 200th anniversary of that war this year and even made a rare sail out into Boston Harbor from her berth at Charlestown Navy Yard in August.

"We teach not only the history of the ship, but how the establishment of the Navy led up to the war of 1812 and how the war basically made our navy a full-time necessity for our country," Operations Specialist 3rd Class Keith Murray, stationed on the USS Constitution, said. "The depth and level of information we teach are not covered in most history books as the War of 1812 tends gets glossed over."

The 44-gun USS Constitution was built in Boston and launched on Oct. 21, 1797. It was developed and built in response to the threat of Barbary corsairs, which threatened American merchant shipping off northern coast of Africa. Following the American Revolution, the United States' Continental Navy and disbanded, leaving the new nation without a credible sea power to defend its interests abroad. The Naval Armament Act called for the construction of six frigates, to be built at shipyards along the eastern seaboard.

"The USS Constitution is a magnificent vessel. It's a piece of our naval heritage and history," Capt. Peter Lintner, commanding officer, TSC, said. "If you get a chance to visit Boston, this is a can't-miss item. As active duty military, you'll get a special tour and get to see things the general public doesn't get to see."
Electronics Technician 3rd Class Sherilyn Segal, was impressed with the presentation and would jump at the opportunity to serve aboard the USS Constitution.

"This is a ship that is almost as old as the Navy itself and there's still people clambering to get orders to go on this ship," Segal said. "That to me instills just how much pride we take in where we came from. It gave me goose bumps getting to hear the stories about going to war with cannons and the sails because I love that idea as I love history. When I think of Navy, I think of an old-time frigate."

Cryptologic Technician 1st Class Scott Bartlett, crew member on the USS Constitution, went into depth of the ship's role during battles in 1812. During a battle with the HMS Guerriere, a Sailor observed British 18-pound iron cannonballs bouncing harmless of USS Constitution's 25-inch oak hull and cried out, "Huzza! Her sides are made of iron!" Thus, the ship carries the nickname of "Old Ironsides."

"The ship itself is probably one of the last remaining actual artifacts from that war," Bartlett said. "There are not many pieces out there that we can have some sort of connection with."

During the slide presentation, the students also learned the origin of many naval acronyms and terminology that are still in use today stem from the USS Constitution and the War of 1812.

"It's important for you to know this because when someone asks you where that a particular term came from, it's always nice to be able to explain it to people," Lintner said.

Cmdr. Lynn Peterson, command chaplain, TSC, explained to the students the importance of the presentation.
"We need to learn from where the navy came from. We have a 270-plus year history that we can be inspired by and learn from errors that had been made," Peterson said. "The reality is it gives a difference sense of who we are. These are things that we can take pride in and say, "That's why we have a core value, that's why we have a creed - so we can stand prideful and tall in what we do."

Bartlett adds that the USS Constitution's presentation helps Sailors understand their naval heritage.

"With the heritage, some of the instruction that we provide the students gives them a broader outlook on not only their naval career, but just as part of the 'Sailor's Creed' states: 'Invoking those who've gone before you' -we're trying to give them a little bit of information on those who've gone before them."
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