Armed Forces News

Boston - July 2014: USS Constitution fires a 17-gun salute near U.S. Coast Guard Base Boston during the ship's Independence Day underway demonstration in Boston Harbor. Constitution got underway with more than 300 guests to celebrate America's independence. (Navy photo by Seaman Matthew R. Fairchild)

The War of 1812 frigate Constitution, the Navy’s oldest commissioned vessel, is getting its first female commanding officer. Cmdr. Billie J. Farrell will succeed Old Ironsides’ outgoing skipper, Cmdr. John Benda, during a Jan. 21 change-of-command ceremony on Boston Harbor.

“I am honored to have the privilege to soon command this iconic warship that dates back to the roots of both our national and our Navy and to have been afforded this amazing opportunity to serve as the USS Constitution’s first female commanding officer in her 224 years,” said Farrell, a Naval Academy graduate. “I hope to strengthen the legacy of USS Constitution through preservation, promotion and protection by telling her story and connecting it to the rich heritage of the United States Navy and the warships serving the fleet today.”


Benda, a native of Paducah, Kentucky, previously served as executive officer on the Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser Vicksburg.

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