BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) – The USS Constitution is celebrating its birthday while training new naval officers.
On Friday, the 224-year-old vessel was closed for the 2021 Chief Petty Officer Heritage Training Weeks. Current sailors, along with the help from 120 sailors selected for the rank of chief petty officer, dropped all three of the ship’s topsails for the first time since 2012 to commence the training.
The cruise was seen from the Boston Harborwalk, Castle Island and the Charlestown Navy Yard.
In addition, a 21-gun salute was fired off by Castle Island at around 11:30 a.m.. A 17-gun salute at around 12:30 p.m. went off as the Constitution passed through the US Coast Guard Base Boston.
The base is the former site of Edmund Hartt’s shipyard and where the ship was built and later launched in October 1797. The USS Constitution is also the world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat.
Sailors selected for the advancement to chief petty officer have come to the USS Constitution to train for more than 20 years. They spend a week living aboard Old Ironsides while immersed in naval heritage.
The newly selected officers will train with senior Navy mentors to learn the same skills as 19th century sailors. These officers learn skills such as gun drills, pike drills, sailing and musket drills.
Normal visiting hours for the ship will resume on Saturday. The USS Constitution Museum is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.