Lieutenant Christina Carson, a native of Wenonah, New Jersey, joined the crew of USS Constitution on January 13, 2020 as the first female operations officer to serve on “Old Ironsides.” She is the second woman to serve aboard as a commissioned officer in the ship’s history. Lieutenant Commander Claire Bloom, who served as executive officer from 1996 to 1998, was the first. We asked Lt. Carson to tell us a little about her background and reflect on her role as operations officer on Constitution.
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What was your background prior to joining the U.S. Navy?
I attended the United States Naval Academy directly out of high school, and graduated/commissioned in 2013.
Why did you decide to join the Navy?
Both of my parents were in the military and I was conditioned to a structured lifestyle. I saw the opportunities the Navy provided at such a young age and wanted to challenge myself.
What would you tell another woman about to join the Navy?
Being a woman in the military is exciting! There are endless opportunities available to those who work hard and dedicate themselves to the mission.
What naval assignments did you have before USS Constitution?
USS Sampson (DDG 102) – Strike Officer/ Auxiliaries Officer
USS Gonzalez (DDG 66) – Navigator
Navy Personnel Command (NAVPERSCOM) Millington, Tennessee – PERS-412 Junior Officer Detailer
How were you selected for your current position?
This opportunity was offered in my detailing window and it worked well with my timing! I did not know much about the command before my arrival, but have quickly come to love the mission and the value it adds to naval history.
What are your major job duties?
I am billeted as the operations officer, overseeing the daily movements of the ship. I also oversee Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection requirements and act as the command legal officer, education service officer, and security manager.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Leading sailors is the most exciting part of what I get to do every day.
What is the most difficult part of your job?
Balancing all of the Navy requirements with our mission to promote the ship is a constant balancing act.
What do you hope to accomplish during your time here?
I hope to encourage those around me to continue to reach new heights in their careers, as well as share my love of the Navy with the public as much as possible.
You are the first female operations officer assigned to Constitution. What does that mean to you?
It is an absolute honor to join such a prestigious line of officers before me. I hope that my assignment here can show other women that there are no limits to what we can achieve!
Who are some female leaders who inspire you?
Vice Admiral Mary Jackson, Vice Admiral Lisa Franchetti, and Rear Admiral Yvette Davids are all leading women in our Navy who exemplify the strength and potential of females in the fleet today!
Working for Captain (SEL) Jean Marie Sullivan on USS Gonzalez and Commander Julie Grunwell at NAVPERSCOM changed the trajectory of my career and they continue to inspire me with their work ethic and vision.
What are your plans after Constitution?
I will attend Surface Warfare Office School in Newport, Rhode Island as I prepare to go back to the fleet as a department head. I am still awaiting my next ship assignment.
Manager of Curatorial Affairs, USS Constitution Museum
Kate Monea is the Manager of Curatorial Affairs at the USS Constitution Museum.