By CBSBoston.com Staff

BOSTON (CBS) — A woman is set to become the commanding officer of the USS Constitution for the first time. Cmdr. Billie J. Farrell will take over after a change-of-command ceremony set for January 21.

Farrell previously served as the executive officer aboard the USS Vicksburg. She is a native of Kentucky and a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and the University of Arkansas.

“I know the crew is in great hands with Commander Farrell,” said the Constitution’s current and 76th commanding officer, Cmdr. John Benda in a statement. “This historic barrier is long overdue to be broken. I cannot think of a better candidate to serve as USS Constitution’s first female commanding officer.

Cmdr. Billie J. Farrell will become the ship’s 77th commanding officer (Photo Via USS Constitution)

USS Constitution Museum President and CEO Anne Grimes Rand added, “This is an exciting time in Boston with a female mayor and a female captain for Old Ironsides. Women have been represented in Constitution’s crew since I joined the Museum staff in 1986, and the first female officer came aboard in 1996.”

The USS Constitution is the world’s oldest commissioned warship that is still afloat.

CBSBoston.com Staff