CHARLESTOWN, Mass. (NNS) -- Each year as USS Constitution crew members begin to make final preparations for the busy summer season, one of their top priorities is to recruit a little extra help.
Throughout Constitution's summer visitation months (April - October), her crew of roughly 70 participates in numerous public outreach events, both locally and nationally, all while welcoming hundreds of thousands of visitors looking to tour 'Old Ironsides'. During this time, the term 'hectic' can be quite an understatement, which is why Constitution calls upon U.S. Navy Reservists for some backup assistance.
Constitution regularly selects reservists from all over the U.S. to make the trip to Charlestown Navy Yard to complete their annual training requirements with the crew of the U.S. Navy's oldest commissioned warship. Some reservists have opportunities to work within their own rate and assist Constitution's crew with the ship's public tour process, in addition to learning a lot of history along the way.
"Working at Constitution can be quite a unique and rewarding experience for reserve Sailors looking to provide some quality support to our crew," said Constitution Command Senior Chief Nancy Estrada. "Whenever (reservists) bring a passion for their job, our crew can feed off of that energy and it really creates an environment that's beneficial for everyone. If they're happy to be here, we're happy to have them."
Last summer, Culinary Specialist Seaman Nicholas Hiler was approached by one of his superiors at Naval Base Ventura County with an offer to apply for an annual training position to work with Constitution's galley crew during the ship's Chief Petty Officer Heritage Week.
"Having lived on the west coast my whole life, I couldn't pass this opportunity up, especially with the history the Constitution has," said Hiler. "Getting to know the crew and the other culinary specialists has been great - I would come right back in a heartbeat."
Culinary Specialist 1st Class Juho Lee, assigned to Naval Operational Support Center Long Island, also made the trek to Constitution last summer. With extensive experience as a chef manager at a catering company in the civilian sector, Lee arrived at Constitution ready to not only complete her annual training but lend training of her own to Constitution's galley team.
"As a reservist, having the opportunity to come (to Constitution) and actually work in my rate is something that rarely happens, and being able to work in their galley was a great honor for me," said Lee. "It's great to interact with Sailors from different commands and learn more about life in the Fleet. I've learned a lot from (Constitution's culinary specialists), and I hope they were able to learn from my experiences as a chef also...Working at Constitution has inspired me to learn more about the Navy's history, and I already look forward to being back in 2014."
With Constitution scheduled to enter a three-year dry dock availability in early 2015 for restorations, 2014 will be a final chance for reservists and visitors alike to experience 'Old Ironsides' pier side for some time.
Reservists interested in completing their annual training at USS Constitution can visit Constitution's official command website at www.history.navy.mil/ussconstitution/new_sailors for application and contact information.
USS Constitution, the world's oldest commissioned warship afloat, actively defended sea lanes against global threats from 1797 to 1855. Now a featured destination on Boston's Freedom Trail, Constitution and her crew of U.S. Navy Sailors offer community outreach and education about the ship's history and the importance of naval seapower to more than 500,000 visitors each year.
For more news and information on USS Constitution, visit: www.history.navy.mil/ussconstitution or www.facebook.com/ussconstitutionofficial
For more news from USS Constitution, visit www.navy.mil/local/constitution/.