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DECLASSIFIED


Old Ironsides Sails Again U


SS Constitution — a massive, 44-gun frigate nicknamed “Old Iron-


sides” — returned to Boston last summer after more than two years of repair and restoration. “The ship has been the


cornerstone of the Navy for a long time,” Navy Cmdr. Robert Gerosa, the ship’s command- ing offi cer, told the Associated Press during a celebration of the ship’s return. “To be a part of the ship is truly an honor.” Constitution returns to dry


dock for below-water repairs about every 20 years. The most recent work in-


volved: Qreplacing 100 hull planks; Qrefurbishing and replacing


the ship’s rigging, upper masts and yards;


After two years of repair and restoration, USS Constitution returned to its home port, Boston Harbor, last summer.


Qrebuilding gun carriages; and Qinstalling 2,200 new copper


sheets (500 of them signed by thousands of visitors to the USS Constitution Museum). In one of its most impressive


Howard Hughes’ private com- pany, Hughes Tool, and included construction of USNS Hughes Glomar Explorer (T-AG-193), a salvage vessel disguised as a mining research ship. Bad weather and equipment


failures nearly stopped the project, and it came close to exposure thanks to a suspicious burglary, a persistent county tax collector, a nosy reporter, and a dangerous, deliberate leak. When the Russians fi nally


did fi nd out about Project Azori- an, even they were impressed.


Col. William D. Bushnell, USMC (Ret), has been a reviewer for Military Offi cer since 1998.


PHOTOS: ABOVE, COURTESY COL. WILLIAM D. BUSHNELL, USMC (RET); TOP RIGHT, ZACK FRANK/SHUTTERSTOCK


battles, Constitution took on HMS Guerriere off the coast of Nova Scotia Aug. 19, 1812. The hard-fought, 35-minute close- range battle ultimately resulted in Guerriere’s destruction. Con- stitution’s impressive victory against the British ship provid- ed a much-needed morale boost back home.


— By Don Vaughan 1797


USS Constitution launched. Today it is the world’s oldest commis- sioned warship.


1798-1800 1801-1805 1812


The Barbary Wars


The War of 1812, during which Constitution defeated four English warships


FROM THE MOAA BOOKSHELF Military Methods of the Art of War. Everybody’s heard of Sun Tzu, but nobody’s heard of Sun Pin — Sun Tzu’s great-grandson, a Chinese general whose 4th century B.C. expansion of The Art of War should be its own classic.


January 2018 | MILITARY OFFICER | 35 The Quasi-War with France


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