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Aboard the USS Constitution

Upper Marlboro woman serves on ship 10 times her age

    For America’s 242nd year of independence, Seaman Anansa Wargo, a 2014 graduate of Frederick Douglas High School in Upper Marlboro, celebrates aboard the venerable USS Constitution.
    She is part of a handpicked Navy crew of 77 serving on the world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat. Famously known as Old Ironsides, the Constitution is a wooden-hulled, three-masted heavy frigate. The 220-year-old ship, anchored in Boston, was named by President George Washington to honor the Constitution of the United States.
    From 1797 until 1855, Constitution defended sea lanes against global threats. Its victories during the War of 1812 inspired a nation and helped mark the emergence of the United States as a world-class maritime power.
    Wargo comes to the Constitution from a military family.
    “My brother is in the Navy, my sister was in the Air Force, my aunt was in the Navy, my father was in the Air Force, and my uncle served in the Marine Corps,” Wargo said.
    Her family tradition of military service, coupled with a move as a teenager, helped her prepare for a career in the Navy.
    “I moved to Maryland from Pennsylvania when I was 13, which was somewhat of a culture shock,” said Wargo. “This prepared me for the military because it gave me the confidence to be myself.”
    On the Constitution, Wargo is melding her past and future.
    “Serving in the Navy started out as me wanting to live up to family tradition, but it’s turned into me wanting to be the change that I want to see in the world,” she said.
    The Constitution is now a featured destination on Boston’s Freedom Trail, with its crew offering community outreach and education about the ship’s history and the value of Naval strength to hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.
    “Each sailor is hand-selected for this command, undergoing a rigorous college-level curriculum studying American Naval History in the Age of Sail and building confidence through daily public communication,” said Nathaniel R. Shick, 75th Commanding Officer of USS Constitution.
    “It’s an honor serving aboard this ship because I know that this is where the Navy started,” said Wargo. “It’s humbling to be a part of this ship honoring our naval heritage.”
    Alvin Plexico writes for the Navy Office of Community Outreach.