July 31, 2005


A change of command as Old Ironsides sets sail again (Russell Nichols, July 31, 2005, Boston Globe)

A long time ago in an ocean not so far away, the USS Constitution blasted the British vessel HMS Guerriere into submission in a fierce firefight.

In that battle off the coast of Nova Scotia during the War of 1812, British cannonballs appeared to bounce off the wooden hull of the Constitution, resulting in the ship being forever known as ''Old Ironsides."

For more than two centuries, the oldest commissioned warship in the world has stood as a symbol of patriotism for the American public, and particularly for those who have served aboard her.

That makes any change of command aboard Old Ironsides, an occasion to remember and reflect.

The ship set sail again yesterday morning from Constitution Wharf in the Charlestown Navy Yard for still another solemn ceremony at sea. Commander Thomas C. Graves, 41, relieved Commander Lewin C. Wright, 43, as the ship's commanding officer, becoming the 69th man to command the 207-year-old warship.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 31, 2005 11:23 AM

HMS Victory--Nelson's flagship at Trafalgar, commissioned 1778.

Posted by: Lou Gots at July 31, 2005 3:49 PM

Correct. Victory's in drydock, though. Constitution is the oldest still in commission and afloat.

Posted by: joe shropshire at July 31, 2005 4:20 PM

She's still listed in Jane's Fighting Ships.

Posted by: Mikey at August 1, 2005 9:15 AM

Both the U.S.S. Constitution and H.M.S. Victory claim to be the oldest commissioned warship in the world.
The H.M.S. Victory was launched on May 7, 1765, while the U.S.S. Constitution was launched on October 21, 1797.
The Victory is the oldest ship-of-the-line, while the Constitution is the oldest frigate in existence.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at August 1, 2005 2:42 PM