Captains of USS Constitution: Hail & Farewell
USS Constitution is making history… again!
This month, USS Constitution bids a fond farewell to CDR John A. Benda and warmly welcomes CDR Billie June (BJ) Farrell, the first woman to take command of “Old Ironsides.”
On Wednesday, January 19 at 1PM ET, join the Museum for Captains of Constitution: Hail + Farewell, when we will celebrate these two historic commanding officers in a free, public virtual event. This is your opportunity to hear directly from CDR Benda and CDR Farrell before the change of command: what does it mean to be captain of America’s Ship of State?, what are the plans for the future of the Ship?, and whose home state has the better signature dish? Register today for what is sure to be a lively and can’t-miss conversation.
CDR JOHN A. BENDA
76th in Command
A native of Dedham, MA, CDR Benda is a graduate of Worcester Polytechnic Institute, the College of the Holy Cross NROTC program, and the Naval War College. His naval career consists of extensive service at sea and ashore, including as Operations Officer for Amphibious Squadron One and module lead for Expeditionary Warfare at Surface Warfare School. CDR Benda served as executive officer of USS Constitution from 2017 – 2019 before becoming the 76th in command in February 2020. He is the first with this distinction of serving consecutively as executive officer and then commanding officer of “Old Ironsides.”
CDR BILLIE JUNE (BJ) FARRELL
77th in Command
CDR Farrell is a native of Paducah, Kentucky and graduate of the United States Naval Academy and University of Arkansas. Her naval career has taken her from multiple division officer tours to the Naval Academy as Deputy Director for Professional Development to her most recent duty as Executive Officer onboard USS Vicksburg. On January 21, 2022, she will assume command of USS Constitution, becoming the first woman commanding officer in the Ship’s 224 year history.
ANNE GRIMES RAND
President & CEO
USS Constitution Museum
Anne Grimes Rand is President & CEO of the USS Constitution Museum, located on Boston’s Freedom Trail and welcoming over 350,000 visitors each year. Award-winning exhibits earned a Leadership in History Award for engaging all ages, and USA TODAY readers voted the Museum one of the top 10 history museums in the nation! An avid sailor, Rand received a B.A. in Maritime New England Studies from Dartmouth College and an M.A. from Brown University. During Rand’s tenure as President, the Museum entered the TripAdvisor Hall of Fame and received Charity Navigator’s top 4-star rating for seven consecutive years.
This event is part of the Salute to Service initiative of the USS Constitution Museum, made possible thanks to the Institute of Museum and Library Services.