The Washington Post recently took note of the curious fact, that with the decommissioning of one particular guided missile frigate, the US Navy retains on active service only one ship that ever sunk an enemy, and that ship is the USS Constitution which sunk the HMS Guerriere in 1812!
As the Navy closes in on its 240th birthday, it has reached a milestone: Only one ship remaining in its fleet has ever sunk an enemy vesselâ€”and itâ€™s the USS Constitution, which earned the nickname â€œOld Ironsidesâ€ for withstanding British bombardment during the War of 1812.
The USS Constitutionâ€™s crew noted the detail on its Facebook page Tuesday, underscoring how uncommon major encounters are between navies in the 21st century. The only other remaining Navy ship to sink an enemy vessel was the USS Simpson, an Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided missile frigate that was decommissioned Tuesday.
The Simpson is best known for combining with the USS Wainwright, a cruiser, and the USS Bagley, a frigate, to destroy an oil rig used as a Iranian surveillance post and the Iranian patrol boat Joshan in Operation Praying Mantis. It was carried out April 18, 1988, during the Iran-Iraq War after the USS Samuel B. Roberts was badly damaged by an Iranian mine in the Persian Gulf. …
The Constitution, a three-mast wooden frigate, was retired from active service in 1881, but has remained a part of the Navy and was designated as a floating museum in 1907. It fought in the Mediterranean Sea during the First Barbary War in the early 1800s, but is best known for its altercation with the HMS Guerriere on Aug. 19, 1812.
About 400 miles off the coast of Nova Scotia, the two ships tangled shortly after the War of 1812 had broken out. The Constitution badly damaged the Guerriere, which was eventually boarded by U.S. sailors and set ablaze.