Milan native selected to serve aboard oldest commissioned warship afloat

Milan native, Builder 1st Class Hillary Lemelin, has been selected to serve aboard the USS Constitution, nicknamed "Old Ironsides." (COURTESY PHOTO)

BOSTON — Builder 1st Class Hillary Lemelin checked aboard USS Constitution on Aug. 31. Lemelin is a native of Milan and a 2009 graduate of the Berlin High School.

Duty aboard USS Constitution (known as "Old Ironsides") is one of the Navy’s special programs, and all prospective crew members must meet a high standard of sustained excellence and interview to be selected for the assignment.

“I am excited to experience such a large part of our Navy’s history,” said Lemelin.

Lemelin has served in the Navy for six years. Her previous duty station was the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 11 in Gulfport, Miss.

USS Constitution is the world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat and played a crucial role in the Barbary Wars and the War of 1812, actively defending sea lanes from 1797-1855.

The active-duty sailors stationed aboard USS Constitution normally provide free tours and offer public visitation to more than 600,000 people each year as they support the ship’s mission of promoting the Navy’s history, maritime heritage, and raising awareness of the importance of a sustained naval presence.

The USS Constitution was undefeated in battle, and captured or destroyed 33 enemy vessels.

The ship earned the nickname of "Old Ironsides" during the War of 1812 after British cannonballs were seen bouncing off the ship’s wooden hull.

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