USS Constitution went underway from Charlestown Navy Yard on Friday morning to celebrate her 222nd birthday and the Navy’s 244th birthday. The US Navy was formed October 13, 1775 and USS Constitution, or “Old Ironsides”, successfully launched on October 21, 1797.
With decks bustling with friends and family members of the crew, the ship sailed from the Charlestown Navy Yard to Fort Independence on Castle Island where a 21-gun salute was fired. The 101st Field Artillery Regiment of the Massachusetts National Guard returned the salute.
The ship fired an additional 17-gun salute as she passed US Coast Guard Sector Boston, former location of Edmund Hartt’s Shipyard where the USS Constitution was built and launched.
In attendance, Secretary of Navy Richard V. Spencer and USS Constitution Commanding Officer Commander Nathaniel R. Shick commemorated the 75th commemoration of the Battle of Leyte Gulf with a special wreath laying ceremony.
“I am profoundly grateful for all of you who work together to keep this story alive for those that visit here and remind them all of why we need to serve today. You keep the fighting spirit of ‘Old Ironsides’ alive and afloat and, as Secretary of the Navy, I cannot thank you enough for what you’re doing, because you do make an impact on our society,” said Spencer during his speech for the USS Constitution Museum’s Leadership Speaker Series.
The world’s oldest commissioned warship still afloat, USS Constitution sailed the Boston Harbor in her final underway of the year. Crucial during the Barbary Wars and the War of 1812, the USS Constitution Museum sees more than 500,000 visitors a year. See more photos of the underway below.