‘Old Ironsides’ Gets Last Sail Before 3-Year Rehab

USS Constitution - “Old Ironsides”

USS Constitution, “Old Ironsides”, the world’s oldest commissioned warship, gets underway for a turn-around cruise in Boston Harbor. – U.S. Navy photo by Journalist 1st Class Dave Kaylor from 10 June 2006

The USS Constitution, the oldest commissioned ship of war in the U.S. Navy, went for a final sail Friday before a three-year rehab.

The vessel, nicknamed Old Ironsides, will make one more trip across the Boston Harbor in October, said Peter Melkus, a spokesman. But it will be pushed by a tug instead of moving by sail power in an exhibition to mark the 217th anniversary of its launch.

Early next year, the Constitution goes into drydock. In addition to replacing copper plates on its bottom and doing other necessary repairs, the Navy plans to remove some additions made in the last couple of centuries.

“She kind of ballooned away from how she was originally constructed,” Melkus said. “So one of our goals is to make her as authentic as possible to what we consider the era of her greatest popularity, the War of 1812.”

The Constitution, named by President George Washington, was launched in 1797 as one of the Navy’s first six frigates. The vessel fought in the First Barbary War and the War of 1812.

Read more at Military.com

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Military acts return to the skies for Chicago Air and Water Show

Blue Angels

The U.S. Navy Blue Angels return to the Chicago Air and Water Show. The popular military act was not on the bill last year because of the government sequester. – Associated Press

By Megan Swindell – mswindell@dailyherald.com

The federal sequester kept the much-loved military acts from performing at last year’s Chicago Air and Water Show. But the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and others are back this weekend — and they’re joined by new aerial attractions.

“We’re very excited to have them back,” said Mary May, spokeswoman for the Chicago Air and Water Show.

The show — the largest free air and water exhibition of its kind in the U.S. — typically draws more than 2 million people to North Avenue Beach and the lakefront. This weekend’s show, on Saturday and Sunday, is the city’s 56th.

Back this year are the U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights. The lineup also includes the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor, a single-seat fighter aircraft. New this year is a Marine MV-22 Osprey.

Federal cutbacks grounded those acts last summer, leaving the Air and Water Show spotlight to civilian performers.

“I think that people really got a sense that these are some of the best pilots in the world,” May said. “It was fabulous.”

The civilian lineup includes the AeroShell Aerobatic Team, The Firebirds Delta Team, Sean D. Tucker and Team Oracle and Chuck Aaron in the Red Bull helicopter…

Read more at the Daily Herald

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