The Old Ironsides Battalion comprises midshipmen from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard University, and Tufts University. The unit is located at MIT, where students from all three schools attend Naval Science classes, leadership labs, and physical training. MIT NROTC is part of the Boston NROTC Consortium, along with Boston University NROTC. Our mission is to prepare students from these schools for commissioned service in the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps.
Old Ironsides is the nickname of the USS Constitution, the oldest commissioned warship in the U.S. Navy. The name was won in the War of 1812 when the 44-gun frigate defeated the British ship HMS Guerriere. As the Guerriere fired broadside after broadside into the Constitution, an American sailor watched as the British 18-lb iron cannonballs bounced off the sides of Constitution harmlessly. The cheer went up: "Huzzah! Her sides are made of iron!" Since that victory, she has been a symbol of the American fighting spirit (as well as great engineering). We are proud to be called the Old Ironsides Battalion. Old Ironsides is here at Boston Harbor, her historical home port; the battalion occasionally visits the ship or receives the active duty crew members of Constitution during its events.