BOSTON – A 2009 Pangburn High School graduate and Pangburn, Ark., native will celebrate America’s 242nd year of independence as part of a hand-picked Navy crew serving on the world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat, the USS Constitution.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Joshua Lyons, a logistic specialist, serves aboard the 220-year-old Boston-based ship named by President George Washington to honor the Constitution of the United States of America. Famously known as “Old Ironsides,” the Constitution is a wooden-hulled three-masted heavy frigate that originally launched in 1797.
As a logistic specialist in the Navy, Lyons main job is to order supplies for the command. He also conducts tours aboard the ship and credits his experiences growing up in Pangburn for giving him skills that he uses aboard USS Constitution.
“Growing up in Pangburn, the biggest thing I learned is how to go from a small town to a big Navy with a lot of diversity and people from different backgrounds,” said Lyons. “I also learned the importance of not wasting time. It’s important to make the most of the time we have.”
Lyons earned the humanitarian service medal while serving aboard the aircraft carrier, USS George Washington, providing relief efforts following a typhoon in the Philippines in 2013.
Lyson is also proud of earning his enlisted surface warfare qualification in 2015 and aviation warfare qualification in 2016.
Lyons is honored to have been selected to serve on the ship that is rich in history and successfully held off the British Navy in the War of 1812.
“Serving aboard the USS Constitution is a great honor because you get to meet all kinds of people, even people from all over the world,” said Lyons. “So far I’ve met people from nearly 50 different counties. We get to share the beliefs of the Navy with all kinds of people.”
A key element of the Navy’s mission is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, according to Navy officials, and that the nation’s prosperity is tied to the ability to operate freely on the world’s oceans. More than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water; 80 percent of the world’s population lives close to a coast; and 90 percent of all global trade by volume travels by sea. Just as U.S. Navy ships and submarines do today, Constitution actively defended sea lanes against global threats from 1797 to 1855. Constitution’s victories at sea during the War of 1812 inspired a nation and helped mark the emergence of the United States as a world-class maritime power.
Now a featured destination on Boston’s Freedom Trail, Constitution and crew offer community outreach and education about the ship’s history and the importance of maintaining a strong Navy to hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.
Seventy-seven sailors make up the crew aboard Constitution. These sailors routinely interact with the public talking about their jobs, their previous duty stations, Navy rules and regulations and life aboard a Navy vessel.
“I’m extremely proud of my sailors stationed onboard USS Constitution,” said Nathaniel R. Shick, 75th Commanding Officer of USS Constitution. “We have the opportunity to engage with over half a million people each year here at the Charlestown Navy Yard. 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. I could never praise these men and women enough for volunteering their services and pledging their support to our nation.”
USS Constitution, America’s Ship of State, actively defended sea lanes against global threats from 1797-1855. The World’s Oldest Commissioned Warship Afloat, Constitution embodies 220 years of maritime heritage and unwavering service to her country. Now a featured destination on Boston’s Freedom Trail, Constitution and her crew of active duty U.S. Navy Sailors offer community outreach and education about the ship’s history and the importance of naval sea power to more than 500,000 visitors each year.
“Serving in the Navy means doing something bigger than yourself,” added Lyons. “I’ve seen countries all over the world and have learned life lessons that really opened my eyes to all kinds of different experiences. In the Navy, we’re all one family, because there are times when they’re all you have. I get to serve my country in a place where we honor those who have gone before us.”
Story By Alvin Plexico, Navy Office of Community Outreach