David G. O’Brien
Rank(s): Lieutenant Junior Grade
Dates of Service: 4/25/1957 - 3/31/1959
Birth Date: 2/12/1932
Death Date: 11/1/2016
David G. O’Brien was born in Northampton, Massachusetts on February 12, 1932. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts and qualified for Naval Officer Candidate School in 1953. After his commissioning, he was ordered to Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands. In 1955, he was transferred to the aircraft carrier Lake Champlain where he served as junior department administrative officer and ship’s watch officer.
Though soon to be discharged, O’Brien said he would extend his duty for one year if he could be assigned to the Boston area. The navy responded that he was being considered for command of USS Constitution, but would require a two year extension. O’Brien gladly accepted the duty and was appointed commanding officer in 1957.
During his time in command, one of his most trying duties was to keep the ship’s crew in their proper uniforms. According to O’Brien, “The destroyer sailors from the shipyard wore their hats on the back of their heads, sleeves rolled up, shirts unbuttoned. Constitution sailors were always shipshape. I gave them early weekend liberty because they were very special sailors. The satisfactory thing was to be able to adjust liberty times to favor the Constitution crew members.”
At the end of his duty on Constitution, O’Brien retired from the navy and returned to civilian life. He died on November 1, 2016 in Naperville, Illinois.