Sailors Assigned to USS Constitution Teach Naval History in New Orleans

Sailors Assigned to USS Constitution Teach Naval History in New Orleans

Sailors assigned to USS Constitution taught early American naval history to students at Bonnabel High School in Kenner, La., April 16.

Chief Culinary Specialist (SW/AW) Kelvin Wiggins, Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class (SW) Conrad Hunt, Damage Controlman Fireman Ashley Fairfax, Seaman Stephen Beck, and Seaman Michael Achterling gave five historical presentations to more than 200 students as part of New Orleans Navy Week.

“It’s important for the students to understand the history behind the military,” said retired Air Force Lt. Col. Thomas Nowak, senior aerospace science instructor. Nowak is also the head of Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps at Bonnabel High School. “Having the Navy come to teach the students about naval history gives the students a different perspective, one they might not have considered.”

Students learned about the creation of the Navy, Constitution’s construction, her famous battle with HMS Guerriere during the War of 1812, and the mission of today’s Navy.

“It’s a real honor to teach young adults about the founding of the U.S. Navy,” said Chief Culinary Specialist (SW/AW) Kelvin Wiggins, Constitution’s officer in charge of New Orleans Navy Week. “Hearing Constitution’s history from Sailors who serve aboard her will hopefully be inspiring and educational for these high school students.”

Constitution Sailors undergo 20 weeks of naval history training, along with additional weekly training.

Bringing artifacts from Constitution’s collection really gave the students a hands-on feel of history,” said Seaman Stephen Beck. “As a Sailor, it’s important to know about the history behind the organization you are serving, and relaying that information to students was a wonderful experience.”

Constitution Sailors are also scheduled to give history presentations to Riverdale High School, April 18.

New Orleans is the second of eight Navy Weeks that Constitution Sailors will participate in 2012, celebrating the bicentennial of the War of 1812. The primary purpose of Navy Week is to increase Navy awareness by presenting the Navy to Americans who live in cities that normally do not have a significant naval presence. New Orleans Navy Week will showcase the mission, capabilities and achievements of the U.S. Navy and provide residents the opportunity to meet Sailors firsthand.

Constitution is the world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat and welcomes more than 500,000 visitors per year. She defended the sea lanes against threat from 1797 to 1855, much like the mission of today’s Navy. America’s Navy: Keeping the sea free for more than 200 years.

Constitution’s mission today is to offer community outreach and education about the ship’s history.

Source: Navaltoday Staff, April 18, 2012; Image: navy