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19th  Edition

July 2002

s the crew of the USS Whetstone is about to relive a bit of history with the upcoming reunion, I thought it appropriate for this month's story to be about history.

The USS Constitution

It's a job unlike any other in the Navy. It gives you the opportunity to learn where the Navy came from, while you learn to sail a 200-year- old wooden ship, climb wooden masts, get dressed up in 1812 Sailor uniforms and give tours of the Navy's oldest commissioned warship.

It's a chance to become not only a Sailor in today's Navy, but a Sailor of yesteryear's, by serving on USS Constitution in Boston.

"We wear the 1812 Liberty Uniform when we're on duty giving tours to the public," said Storekeeper 3rd Class Norman Tregenza. "This is so the visitors of USS Constitution can have a better idea of what Navy life was like back in 1812."

Like the Sailors of yesteryear, today's crew of 52 must be able to climb the ship's rigging to

get to the top of the main mast that reaches 220 feet above the sea. For some that means getting over a fear of heights.

Seaman Shawna Roach recalls her first time scaling the rigging. "I looked down, knowing I couldn't turn back because people were coming up behind me. I'm kind of scared of heights but once I got up there it was like, 'Wow'," said the jubilant Waterloo, N.Y., native.

Approximately 3,000 visitors cross the brow each day for a chance to step back in time and hear about the great sea battles that make 'Old Ironsides' a legend.

"She was involved in 42 engagements and was victorious 42 times," said Tregenza. "She sank 19 enemy ships and captured 42 others. She is Boston's only undefeated team," Tregenza explained to the crowd of visitors. The crowd laughed heartily at the undefeated joke.

Constitution Sailors are more than just tour guides. They're teachers, too.

"They're more than one of the Sailors from the past," said Wilson. "Instead of 'I'm telling you what happened in 1812, I'm telling you what we are today,' and we're just continuing on with the tradition."

It's the aspect of learning and teaching the Navy's heritage that Simpson likes best.

"You learn where the Navy comes from. Why you have a flap on your dress uniform. Why you wear a neckerchief. Why you have three white stripes on the ends of the sleeves of your dress blues," Simpson explained. "You really learn a lot about the history and you understand the Navy better.

Preserving 200 years of U.S. naval history and tradition is no easy task, especially when you consider the average age of the crew is 20 years old.

(Continued on page 4)

Marion Goble
(239) 768-1449

1st Vice President
Jim Dunn
(858) 566-1745

2nd Vice President
L. E (Rusty) Draper
(361) 364-1917

Kay Goble
(239) 768-1449

Membership Chairman
Tom Britt
(858) 578-8926

Marvin Watson
(402) 421-8957

Bill Martin
(281) 427-6828

Newsletter Editor
John Worman
(505) 437-9872


The Rolling Stone is a
Quarterly publication of the USS Whetstone LSD-27 Association, INC.
The Association is a non profit, historical and educational organization dedicated to
promoting fraternal, civic,
patriotic and historical
memories of those who
served aboard.

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