As Americans Celebrate Independence, Upper Marlboro native serves aboard USS Constitution

BOSTON – A 2014 Frederick Douglas High School graduate and Upper Marlboro, Maryland, 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.

Seaman Anansa Wargo 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.

“The Navy is a great opportunity to better myself while serving others,” said Wargo. “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.”

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.”

Wargo 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.

“It’s an honor serving aboard this ship because I know that this is where the Navy started, and it’s humbling to be a part of this ship honoring our naval heritage,” said Wargo.

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 started out as me wanting to live up to family traditions, but it’s turned into me wanting to be the change that I want to see in the world,” added Wargo.

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