Restoring the USS Constitution
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Restoring the USS Constitution

October 11, 2019


My earliest memory of going to the Constitution
was during the nation’s bicentennial in 1976, and I distinctly remember coming to the ship
and being enamored by the crew, and their cool uniforms and the stories. My family, when they found out I was coming
to this job, was like “You’ve got to be kidding me,” because they know that I’ve really loved
the ship for a long time. Our mission here is, we kind of neatly sum
it up as, “To preserve and protect the ship and to keep her as close we can to
her original material condition.” This current restoration we’re in is what
I would call “vanilla.” You know, kind of just the standard. We have to take the ship out of the water
every 15 to 20 years. The copper that protects the hull from deterioration
and marine growth, it just naturally corrodes away over time, and needs to be pulled off
and replaced, and we need to get a look at the hull planking
underneath to see if any of it has deteriorated and needs to be replaced. 3,400 sheets of copper to cover the hull and
about half a million of those copper nails hold all that copper on. All done by hand, and all will be pulled off
by hand. These frigates were the biggest and most technologically
challenging things that had ever been built. It was something that had never been done
here and it really helped establish our nation not only as an independent nation, but also
as one that was technologically adept. The level of craftsmanship that helped build
this ship all by hand over 200 years ago is something that’s rare to find in our era
of modern fabrication and shipbuilding. I think any true naval professional, whether
they’re enlisted or an officer, has to be a student of history because it’s rich with
lessons for us that help us to be better at what we do. What I really enjoy is just the average American
who is either learning about our nation’s history on their own, or they’re bringing their family with them
to learn, and to be able to share with them and talk
to them not only about the Constitution, but about our entire nation’s history and our navy’s
history. We preserve the ships for generations that
haven’t even been born, which is pretty neat to be part of.

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  1. Hope someday we can Sail USS Constitution around the world as a show of Good Will and Force…. It would be one hell of a sight the USS Constitution escorted by a Carrier Battle Group sailing the ocean again.

  2. I visited her in 1997 because I want to build my Revell Model as accurate as possible so I went there and gather as much information I was able to. This is a very fond memory

  3. Well, she's been restored and sails again…. I was there in September 2017 and although only 2 decks were open to the public, it's an amazing experience. Don't forget your photo ID if you want to get on board though (mine was safely in my hotel room first time I tried to get on board, and I had to return later in the week). She's still an active serving Service ship, the oldest in the world

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