Seaman Matt Karkheck, an aviation technician, serves aboard the 216-year-old Boston-based USS Constitution.
Photo courtesy of U.S. NAVY
The USS Constitution is a wooden-hulled three-masted heavy frigate that originally launched in 1797 as one of six original frigates authorized for construction by the Naval Armament Act of 1794.
BOSTON – A 2011 Seminole High School graduate from Redington Shores is part of a hand-picked Navy crew serving on the world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat, the USS Constitution.
Seaman Matt Karkheck, an aviation technician, serves aboard the 216-year-old Boston-based ship named by President George Washington to honor the Constitution of the United States of America. Famously known as “Old Ironsides,” the Constitution is a wooden-hulled three-masted heavy frigate that originally launched in 1797 as one of six original frigates authorized for construction by the Naval Armament Act of 1794.
Karkheck, 21, said he is honored to have been selected to serve on the ship that is rich in history and successfully held off the British Navy in the War of 1812.
“It is a tremendous honor to serve on the Constitution, in a historical city like Boston,” said Karkheck.
The Constitution actively defended sea lanes against global threats from 1797 to 1855. Now a featured destination on Boston’s Freedom Trail, Constitution and her crew offer community outreach and education about the ship’s history and the importance of maintaining a strong Navy to hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.
Seventy-five sailors make up the crew aboard USS Constitution. These sailors routinely interact with the public talking about their jobs aboard Constitution, their previous duty stations, Navy rules and regulations and life aboard a Navy vessel.
“It is an honor to serve on the USS Constitution, the world’s oldest commissioned war fighting vessel, but I am even prouder to serve alongside its 75-member crew,” said Cmdr. Sean Kearns, Constitution’s 73rd commanding officer. “Each sailor selected to serve on the USS Constitution has a unique story to tell, like that of ‘Old Ironsides.’ The mission of today’s Navy is not much different than in 1797: protecting and defending America on the world’s oceans.”
Constitution is scheduled to conduct several sailing demonstrations in Boston this summer. The popular Independence Day sailing, open to the public via lottery, will occur on July 4.
“Serving in the Navy has changed my life for the better,” said Karkheck. “I met my girlfriend and have acquired skills that will last me an entire lifetime. And, to know that I am part of 1 percent of the Navy, who has the opportunity to serve on the Constitution, is a humbling feeling.”
By Lt. j.g. CARL ZEILMAN is with the Navy Community Outreach.