Billie Farrell Kicks Ass 

Friday, January 21st, 2022

From my house in Boston’s North End, I can see the USS Constitution docked in the Charlestown Navy Yard. It’s a majestic sight, and though she’s the world’s oldest commissioned warship still afloat, she looks great as she approaches her 225th birthday.


The Constitution on a turnaround cruise in 2021.
[Photo courtesy of P. Kafasis]

At 8 AM and sunset every day, the ship fires a cannon salute. You get used to it. The cannons are also fired for many other occasions, like the Fourth of July and to honor the anniversary of Pearl Harbor. At mid-day today, the cannon roared once again, this time in celebration of the ship’s new commander.

It’s taken 224 years, but the Constitution finally has its first female captain. Commander Billie Farrell has just become the 77th commanding officer of Old Ironsides, and the first woman to hold the position..

Commander Farrell herself

Awesome.

As Farrell breaks barriers as the USS Constitution’s first female commander, women have been a part of the ship’s crew since Rosemarie Lanam became the ship’s female crew member in 1986. Lt. Cmdr. Claire V. Bloom, was the first female commissioned officer to serve aboard the USS Constitution and led a historic sail in 1997, when the ship sailed for the first time under her own power since 1881.

Today, women make up more than a third of the ship’s 80-person crew.

Go Navy.


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