U.S. Navy Celebrates 245th Birthday
Reported By RET C.Brock
Graphic credit: U.S. Navy
Today the United States Navy celebrates 245 years of service to our nation.
Founded by an Act of the Continental Congress on October 13, 1775, the Continental Navy was originally comprised of, “a swift sailing vessel, to carry ten carriage guns, and a proportionable number of swivels, with eighty men, be fitted, with all possible despatch, for a cruise of three months….”
In these early days, privateers were commissioned to raid and disrupt British naval resupply of North America, playing an important tactical role against a wealthy and well-equipped enemy.
After the American victory in the Revolutionary War, Congress went further to establish the Department of the Navy in order to maintain a national fleet.
Throughout its storied history, American naval forces have served in a large number of battles. From skirmishes with French vessels during the XYZ Affair of 1798 to a naval invasion during the First Barbary War to pitched battles in the War of 1812, sailors served with distinction at sea.The fleet rose and fell during the 19th century, fighting in the Mexican-American War, American Civil War, and other conflicts.
The Navy began to modernize in the decades leading to the 20th century, constructing a large number of modern ships. With the U.S. victory in the Spanish-American War, the modern Navy came of age. Fighting in World War I and a number of “Small Wars”, our sailors would eventually become legendary for their service in World War II and beyond. This period marked the beginning of aircraft carrier warfare and the maturation of submarine warfare.
Over the centuries, the Navy has made a number of contributions to our national defense. The United States was the first nation to use submarines, modern dreadnought battleships, aircraft, and aircraft carriers in its naval service.
This week, the U.S. Navy is celebrating its heritage under the theme “Victory at Sea”. Commemorative programs worldwide will focus on the Navy’s hard-fought contributions during World War II. From the Battle of Midway to the Battle to the Battle of the Philippine Sea to the Battle of Okinawa, American naval forces fought and won tremendously against the Empire of Japan.
Today the Navy is unmatched around the globe, with more fleet tonnage than the next 13 national navies combined. Our naval forces include over 336,000 Active Duty and 101,000 Reserve personnel, 290 deployable combat vessels, and more than 3,700 aircraft. American sailors stand ready to face the security challenges of the next century.