A little while ago, my friend Phillip suggested that we should go for a visit to the Northeastern U.S. out of Boston to visit a few of their theme parks. Since I hadn't been in this region of the country in a while it sounded like a good idea. So we worked out the details, and when the time came, I caught my afternoon flight from Seattle-Tacoma to Boston with a late-night arrival. Phillip would be flying in two days later, so this gave me some time to explore Boston since I had never rally been there other than for a couple connecting flights. This was a place I really wanted to experience because of its rich history!
I had booked the first couple of nights with Airbnb in the town of Everett, which put me in a great spot to make the Charlestown Navy Yard my first stop in Boston. The main attractions here are two ships called the USS Constitution and the USS Cassin Young. The museum opened before the ships did, so I took some time to wonder through its exhibits.
Admission to the museum is by suggested donation, which you could make with cash or credit. The main floor of the museum features exhibits that teach visitors about the construction and history of the ship, features a replica of the ship, and displays artifacts from the ship including pieces of the ship itself, equipment used on board, and clothing of the crew in its early days.
In the upstairs portion of the museum, they host an exhibit that describes what it was like to become a sailor for the U.S. Navy when the Constitution was used, as well as how life on board was for those sailors. You could even have a small experience of life on board by taking a seat on a hammock that would have simulated what it was like to be in the sleeping quarters of the sailors.
Back outside, you can see the dry dock of the Navy Yard where the ships were built or worked on. Based on the size of it, I would imagine they could work on some fairly large ships. It was neat to see and learn that they would drain it after pulling a boat in, and then let it fill back up after they were finished.
After a little bit of exploring the museum and dry dock, the vessels were now open for boarding and viewing for the day. I first went to see the USS Constitution.
The Constitution is a wooden friget, and is oldest commissioned US Navy ship that is still afloat. It launched in 1797, and was most prominent for its use in the War of 1812. Nicknamed "Old Iron Sides", it now serves as an educational tool to teach people about life on board the ship, and how the stated purpose of the Navy and its vessels is to protect and preserve peace as there are still active duty sailors and officers assigned to the ship in assisting with these goals.
What was neat about the placement of the Ship Yard was how you had some great views of Boston nearby, whether on the ship or in other areas of the yard. One of the buildings that I easily recognized was the TD Garden, which would come up later in the trip for a hockey game.
The other ship they have on display at Charlestown is the USS Cassin Young. This ship was built at the time of World War II, and was part of multiple battles during the conflict, and was also utilized during the Korean War as well.
This ship was named after Captain Cassin Young. He was the commander a repair ship called the USS Vestal, which was moored to the USS Arizona during the attack of Pearl Harbor. When one of the explosions occurred on the Arizona, the force of it threw Young overboard from his neighboring vessel. Young would swim back to his ship, and led it to fire back toward the attacking Japanese planes. He also directed the ship to be beached so as to save it because of the damage from the explosion of the Arizona, and doing so allowed it to be salvaged. He would later be lost in the line of duty less than a year later during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. This ship was named after his to honor his bravery and valor during the Pearl Harbor attack.
The ship is a Fletcher-Class destroyer that first launched in 1943, and would be utilized during World War II, then it was decommissioned in 1946 and recommissioned in 1951 for the Korean War. There were 175 of them commissioned between 1942-1944, and this is one of only four that remain afloat today. This was a similar ship to the USS Perry, which was the Destroyer that my grandfather, George Christian, served on when the attack of Pearl Harbor occurred. It was a bit surreal to walk on the deck and inside of this vessel. While it wasn't exactly the same as the one my Grandfather was on, I would imagine that it was pretty close, and I was thinking of the story that he had told about his experience on-board during the attack in his memoir that he wrote.
Wondering the grounds near the location of the ships on the way to my rental car, I found the Massachusetts Korean War memorial, to pay tribute to those who served in that conflict. My grandfather had also served during the Korean War as he re-enlisted in the Navy.
From here, it was on to one of the most historic battle sites of the United States, and one that would lead to its independence.