Police looking for man caught on camera vandalizing “Old Ironsides”

The oldest-serving ship in the United States Navy (and the world’s oldest seaworthy naval vessel) was vandalized by an unknown man in Boston over the weekend, with authorities seeking to track him down and bring him to justice.

The USS Constitution- a wooden frigate so old that it was named by President George Washington himself- was illegally boarded and vandalized while in dry-dock restoration status in the late Sunday hours, while the ship was closed to the public.

Currently the subject of a multi-year and multimillion dollar refit, the Constitution -affectionately known as “Old Ironsides”- serves as a museum when it is not being utilized by the Navy.

The Army’s 1st Armored Division was  also nicknamed “Old Ironsides”, by its first commander, Major General Bruce R. Magruder, after he saw a picture of the USS Constitution.  

The 1st Armored Division’s combat service identification badge.

The intruder reportedly only caused minor damage before was discovered by the crew of the ship and escorted off the vessel. Unfortunately, he managed to flee before he was identified.

But how exactly does one sneak aboard an active Navy vessel?

“It’s a failure of security somewhere along the line,” Boston 25 Security Expert Dan Linskey said. “It’s definitely a problem. Definitely a challenge. No one should have been able to get on that vessel and spend any significant time there, without getting a response.”

Linskey said the incident sheds light on a critical issue for the frequently-visited ship, which is due to be refloated in July.

“We want to have it open to tourists, we want to make sure we are allowing access to that landmark in a reasonable and sensitive manner. That not only protects the historic artifact, but also the people who visit during the day,” he said.

Undefeated in battle, the Constitution first set sail in 1797 and was involved in several armed conflicts and even a world tour, even stretching all the way from South America to Asia, conducting daring operations along the way.

Eventually designated a museum ship, the Constitution has remained on active duty and is regularly refitted to ensure the 200-plus-year-old ship stays in service.

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  • Andy Wolf

    Andy Wolf is an Appalachian native who spent much of his youth and young adulthood overseas in search of combat, riches, and adventure- accruing decades of experience in military, corporate, first responder, journalistic and advisory roles. He resides in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains with his K9 companion, Kiki.

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