‘Good Chief’: Lady Takes Command of USS Structure

Girls have assumed management positions all through the Navy, so it was solely becoming {that a} lady for the primary time Friday took command of the usS. Structure — the Navy’s most historic vessel.

Cmdr. Billie J. Farrell, 39, throughout a ceremony that began on land and ended on board, turned the 77th commanding officer of the 224-year-old warship that earned the nickname Outdated Ironsides when British cannonballs bounced off its hull in the course of the Battle of 1812.

“In fact, in our fashionable Navy, girls have already commanded in any respect ranges, however not this ship, the general public’s most accessible commissioned vessel, America’s naval heritage,” Rear Adm. Shoshana Chatfield, president of the Naval Battle Faculty in Newport, Rhode Island, mentioned in the course of the ceremony at Boston’s Charlestown Navy Yard.

Farrell’s appointment is an inspiration to others, she mentioned.

“I can solely hope {that a} new technology of individuals are impressed by seeing a girl because the captain of our ship of state, recognizing that for them too, there isn’t any restrict to what they’ll accomplish,” Chatfield mentioned.

Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro mentioned in the course of the ceremony that Farrell, who most just lately served as the chief officer aboard the guided missile cruiser U.S.S. Vicksburg, is “the right chief to take command of this historic ship at this historic time.”

The importance of the command was not misplaced on Farrell, who was an adolescent in 1998 when her household visited the ship, which is one in all Boston’s hottest points of interest with about 500,000 vacationers yearly.

“Any individual that walks on the decks of the ship is straight away standing on the web page of historical past itself,” mentioned the native of Paducah, Kentucky, and 2004 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. “She additionally serves as a somber reminder of people who gave the last word sacrifice on her decks to create the nation that we all know right now. Her title carries the load of the doc to which we’re all acquainted, and to which all members of the armed providers swear an oath to assist and defend.”

Farrell relieved Cmdr. John Benda, who had led the ship’s crew since February 2020.

The Structure is the world’s oldest commissioned warship nonetheless afloat. It performed a vital function within the Barbary Wars and the Battle of 1812 and defended sea lanes from 1797 till 1855. The ship was undefeated in battle and destroyed or captured 33 opposing vessels.

At the moment, it’s crewed by about 80 active-duty sailors, a few third of whom are girls.

The primary lady to serve on the Structure’s crew was Rosemarie Lanam in 1986. The primary lady to function a commissioned officer on the ship was Lt. Cmdr. Claire Bloom, who served as government officer and led the 1997 sail, the primary time Outdated Ironsides had sailed underneath her personal energy since 1881.

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