A New Hampshire sailor assigned to the USS Constitution in Boston helped design and build desks for Vice President Kamala Harris and the Secretary of the Navy using reclaimed materials from the USS Constitution.
Builder First Class Hilary K. Lemelin of Milan was one of four master craftsmen in woodworking and metalworking who crafted the desks with the assistance of historic shipwrights, according to a news release from the Naval History Heritage Command.
The sailors built the vice president’s desk of lumber, copper and nails from the frigate USS Constitution, which launched in 1797 and is the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world. The desk was presented to the Office of the Vice President shortly after the Jan. 20 inauguration.
Last month, the Heritage Command presented to the Office of the Secretary of the Navy a desk similarly made from USS Constitution wood, plus parts from one of Constitution’s sister ships, USS Chesapeake, the sloop-of-war museum ship USS Constellation and the battleships USS Texas (BB 35), USS Arizona (BB 39), and USS New Jersey (BB 62).
Lemelin, a 2009 graduate of Berlin High School, attended the presentation.
“I am thrilled to be the first custodian of such an impressive and historical desk,” acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas W. Harker said in the news release. “I appreciate the creativity and hard work that went into designing and putting it together.”
“With the example of the Resolute Desk in the President’s Oval Office, I wanted to provide our civilian leaders with similar, tangible reminders of more than 200 years of outstanding service from American sailors,” NHHC Director Rear Adm. Sam Cox, U.S. Navy, retired, said in the news release. “These desks honor our nation’s past and reflect our resolve to ensure America’s maritime superiority well into the future.”
The Secretary of the Navy desk was the brainchild of Harker’s predecessor, 77th Secretary of the Navy Kenneth J. Braithwaite, who visited the National Museum of the U.S. Navy Feb. 21 to see the completed project before it was delivered to the Pentagon.
Both desks are part of the U.S. Navy’s 300,000-plus historic artifact collection maintained and curated by the Naval History and Heritage Command at the Washington Navy Yard. The NHHC is responsible for the preservation, analysis and dissemination of U.S. naval history and heritage.For more information, visit www.history.navy.mil.
Material provided by the U.S. Navy.