First Woman to Serve as Commanding Officer of USS Constitution in Ship’s 224-year History

US Navy | Jan. 5, 2022

By Petty Officer 2nd Class Grant Grady, USS Constitution Public Affairs

BOSTON – USS Constitution’s first female commanding officer will take command of Old Ironsides during a change-of-command ceremony, scheduled for Friday, Jan. 21, at noon.


USS Constitution is underway during Chief Petty Officer Heritage Weeks.

Constitution’s current and 76th commanding officer, Cmdr. John Benda, will be relieved by Cmdr. Billie J. Farrell.

USS Constitution will be closed during the ceremony but will reopen to public visitation 2-4 p.m.

As the 77th commanding officer of USS Constitution, Farrell will become the first woman to serve as captain in the ship’s 224-year history, dating back to 1797.

“I am honored to have the privilege to soon command this iconic warship that dates back to the roots of both our nation and our Navy and to have been afforded the amazing opportunity to serve as USS Constitution’s first female commanding officer in her 224 years,” said Farrell. “I hope to strengthen the legacy of USS Constitution through preservation, promotion and protection by telling her story and connecting it to the rich heritage of the United States Navy and the warships serving in the fleet today.”