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Your chance to work on an 18th-century ship

Dec. 19, 2012 - 08:46AM   |   Last Updated: Dec. 19, 2012 - 08:46AM  |  
Sailors interested in serving on the historic frigate Constitution must learn the skills of an 18th-century crew — and how to explain those skills, and their ship's legacy, to the general public.
Sailors interested in serving on the historic frigate Constitution must learn the skills of an 18th-century crew — and how to explain those skills, and their ship's legacy, to the general public. (MC2 Kathryn E. Macdonald)
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Sick of noisy flight decks? Done with far-off deployments?

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Sick of noisy flight decks? Done with far-off deployments?

Apply to sail back into the 18th century.

The Navy is seeking sailors to serve on the frigate Constitution — the same ship that sunk four English warships in the War of 1812.

Those selected "get to be part of 215 years of naval history on the most historic warship," said Cmdr. Matthew Bonner, the ship's commanding officer. "They get to be part of that legacy that started in 1797 and continues on through today."

Want to join them in Boston Harbor?

The following billets aboard the frigate Constitution are available immediately, unless otherwise noted. Most tours last three years:

• Chief boatswain's mate

• Yeoman first class

• Logistic specialist first class

• Mass communications specialist first class (January)

• Two boatswain's mates third class, though any third class petty officer is eligible

• Two culinary specialists third class (February)

• Damage controlman fireman

Be aware your duties would go far beyond the nuts and bolts (and sails and wood). Sailors aboard Constitution interact with more than 500,000 visitors a year. "They're the face of the Navy," Bonner said. "Many people who come visit us haven't seen the Navy before, so this is their first chance to meet a sailor."

With that in mind, you'll need a strong speaking voice, excellent military bearing and appearance, and leadership skills for a primarily junior crew. You'll have to interview over the phone or in person with the ship's command senior chief to prove your poise. "It's the cream of the crop. Everybody we have here is handpicked," Bonner said. "You're working with the best of the best."

Sailors aboard "Old Ironsides" will learn 18th-century square-rigged sailing techniques such as furling the sails, climbing up the yardarms and operating the 5,800-pound long gun during a three-month training program that also teaches the history of the oldest commissioned warship still afloat in the world, Bonner said.

You're ineligible for the job if you've had nonjudicial punishment or an alcohol-related offense in the last three years. And no more than one physical fitness assessment failure in the past four years is allowed — none in the last 12 months.

Check NAVADMIN 365/12 for full details, and get more information about the ship at http://www.history.navy.mil/constitution">www.history.navy.mil/constitution. Finalists will be contacted to set up an interview. Don't wait — jobs on Old Ironsides are posted twice a year, at most, said Chief Mass Communications Specialist Frank Neely.

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