When I give tours on board Constitution, people
want to hear a story. People want to hear the history. People want to hear why she is
still around and where she came from to begin with.
I feel like it’s the foundation of the Navy. This is where the Navy started.
When I first joined the Navy, I told the recruiter I wanted to be a history teacher.
He said, “History? Okay, Boatswain’s Mate is the right job for you.”
During the War of 1812, a Boatswain’s Mate’s job would have been sanding the deck to get
the deck perfectly smooth so the guns don’t chaff against the deck and create fire. We
would be climbing the rigging, we would be mending the sails, we would be putting tar
on the ropes. There’s a lot of things we would be doing then.
Now, it’s very similar. The types of things that we do now on board ships is we needle-gun
decks, we paint bulkheads, we sand bulkheads, we stand watches. So, it’s a little bit
different, but it’s similar at the same time.
So this is where I want to come to if I want to be a good Boatswain’s Mate. Come to where
the first Boatswain’s Mates worked. When I’m on my next ship, the thing I’m
going to miss most about Constitution is having a small crew that is so close together, sailing
evolutions, actually getting underway and seeing the smiling faces of people who have
never been on an old-fashioned vessel, much less a war ship that is 216 years old.
It makes me feel like I’m a part of history.