It’s a long way from those futuristic, high-tech assignments the Navy celebrates in its recruiting advertisements on television, bristling with lasers, sonar, and mammoth battleships. The 214-year-old USS Constitution, Old Ironsides, is wind-powered. Its cannons haven’t fired a wartime shot in nearly two centuries. The wooden ship no longer ventures outside Boston’s outer harbor.
Yet when Constitution, a hero of the War of 1812, ventures out into Boston Harbor on the Fourth of July, as a featured star of the Operation Sail 2012 celebration, which opens to the public Saturday, more than 60 commissioned Navy men and women will navigate her through the festivities.