The USS Constellation was commissioned in 1961, and was the first warship I ever made a full deployment on. She was also the last, we came home together on her last cruise – and mine – in 2003. She was a good ship, a hard fighter and well-served by her crew. She We called her “Connie”, and Ronald Reagan called her, “America’s Flagship.”
She launched Phantoms to protect US destroyers during the Tonkin Gulf Incident. Returned a year or so later to launch strikes from both Dixie and Yankee Stations. She made seven combat deployments to Southeast Asia. Her first peacetime cruise wasn’t until 1974.
We almost lost her to a fire in 1988, but the crew battled the blaze heroically. She missed the ’91 scrape due to SLEP, but did six more deployments to the Arabian Gulf afterward, including the big one in 2003.
I’ve sailed on many ships, but Connie is the only one I’d ever dare to call “mine.”
Now they’re going to turn “my” ship into razor blades.
It is to weep.