Making Herstory: A Conversation with the 1st Woman to Serve as Commanding Officer of the USS Constitution Commander Billie J. Farrell

Many thanks to Commander BJ Farrell for your service, ongoing support and leadership to your sailors and to everyone you meet here in Boston. Best of luck back at the Naval Academy, mentoring the many lucky students ahead.

Special thanks to the USS Constitution Public Affairs Officer, First Class Ray Minami, for all your help and support of Home Base. Thanks to the great crew at the MGH Photography lab too and please note you can find this conversation on Home Base’s YouTube channel soon.

Home Base Nation will be sharing episodes over two weeks up through the Run To Home Base this coming July 27th. Please sign up to join us there to support all veteran, servicemember and family care, and as we celebrate women in the military this year. 

If this is your first time joining us, welcome -Home Base Nation is the official podcast for Home Base Program for Veteran and Family Care, in Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston, MA. Every two weeks we share conversations and stories about service, mental health, and recovery with great military and civilian guests. We are over 100 episodes since the start, a few months prior to the pandemic on Veterans Day 2019.

Home Base continues to grow in terms of care, awareness and research, working with veterans and active duty servicemembers across the US and from several other countries. Our programs are continuing to expand right here in Boston, in Florida, Arizona and more news to come.

Here are a few 2024 highlights around Home Base since January. Many great things happening, but here are just a few…

-Arizona State University hosted a successful launch party in Phoenix to announce our partnership to deliver Warrior Health and Fitness on the university’s Downtown Phoenix campus beginning this month.

-Patriots long snapper Joe Cardona, received the NFL’s prestigious Salute to Service Award, to those supporting the Military community. Joe is a lieutenant in the Navy Reserves and came by Home Base to take a tour and talk about the needs of servicemembers and veterans. 

-Home Base Florida’s Air Force Veteran Angie De Lima and Marine Veteran Jaime Fernandez participated in workshops in Puerto Rico for veterans and families, and Jaime delivered content from our Resilient Warrior program in Spanish!

-Just last month, Senator Elizabeth Warren invited Spaulding Rehabilitation President and Home Base Chief of TBI Dr. Ross Zafonte to testify to the Senate Armed Forces Committee about the impacts of TBI and blast exposure on active-duty Special Operations Forces.

We wanted to highlight just a few of the many women who have served and have made history along the way…

General Ann E. Dunwoody: In 1992, General Dunwoody was the first female battalion commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, and the first female in US Military history to be promoted to four-star general .

Navy Flight Nurse Jane Kendeigh (Ken-dee): At Iwo Jima in 1945, Jane Louise ‘Candy’ Kendeigh, was one of 122 women with specialized training, not only caring for battlefield wounds, but direct hand-to-hand combat.

Army soldier Cathay Williams: Was the first African American female soldier to enlist in the Army – in 1866 and the only documented black woman to serve in the 19th century, serving with the 38th infantry regiment, or the Buffalo the soldiers – joining under her pseudonym, William Cathay.


Home Base Nation is the official podcast for Home Base Program for Veterans and Military Families – Our team sees veterans, servicemembers and their families addressing the invisible wounds of war at no cost. This is all made possible thanks to a grateful nation – And if you want to learn more on how you can help, visit us at, or if you or anyone you know would like to connect to care, you can also reach us at 617-724-5202.

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  • The Home Base Nation Team is Steve Monaco, Army Veteran Kelly Field, Justin Scheinert, Chuck Clough, with COO Michael Allard, Brigadier General Jack Hammond, and Peter Smyth.
  • Producer and Host: Dr. Ron Hirschberg
    Assistant Producer, Editor: Chuck Clough
    Chairman, Home Base Media Lab: Peter Smyth

The views expressed by guests to the Home Base Nation podcast are their own and their appearance on the program does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. Views and opinions expressed by guests are those of the guests and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Massachusetts General Hospital, Home Base, the Red Sox Foundation or any of its officials.