The USS Constitution is the world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat. Its story is an integral part of United States’ history and Navy lore. The 44-gun frigate is famous for its victories at sea during the War of 1812 when it earned the nickname “Old Ironsides.”
Permanently berthed in Boston, Mass., the vessel is considered America’s ship of state. More than 500,000 people visit annually. Its crew regularly receives high-ranking military and government officials and heads of states from around the world. The Constitution’s officers and sailors are under constant public scrutiny.
According to naval policy, to receive orders to Old Ironsides, applicants must be model representatives of the Navy. Sailors who request the assignment must be able to interact with the public and display maturity and tact. They also need high aptitude test scores, a smart military bearing and stellar fitness evaluations. Those chosen are among the best of the Navy’s best.
With that in mind, competition onboard can be fierce when leadership has to determine which crew members are most deserving of being named Sailor of the Quarter (SOQ) and Junior Sailor of the Quarter (JSOQ). The SOQ is presented to petty officer second classes who exemplify outstanding leadership and superior performance by going above and beyond their assigned jobs. The JSOQ is awarded to petty officer third classes who exemplify outstanding dedication to duty and superior performance by going above and beyond their assigned jobs.
We are delighted to report that on Jan. 23, the USS Constitution presented those honors to two local sailors — both of whom hail from Chester. Ship’s Serviceman Second Class Kenneth Johnson was named Sailor of the Quarter and Yeoman Third Class Zhane Brown was awarded Junior Sailor of the Quarter. Johnson is a 2007 graduate of Thomas Dale High School and Brown a 2012 graduate. She also is a 2016 graduate of Old Dominion University. About the award, she noted: “To me, winning Junior Sailor of the Quarter isn’t about coming in first place; it’s about overcoming personal challenges and having no limitations on what you’re able to accomplish. It’s only the beginning.”
What an honor for them — and for Chester. We salute both hometown heroes on jobs well done.
— Robin Beres