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CHIPS Articles: Happy Birthday, U.S. Navy!

Happy Birthday, U.S. Navy!
Celebrating 240 Years of People, Readiness and Innovation
By Heather Rutherford - October 13, 2015
In the city of Philadelphia on Oct. 13, 1775, the United States Navy was voted into existence by the Continental Congress. According to Naval History and Heritage Command, within only a few days of that historic vote, Congress established a Naval Committee to direct the purchasing, outfitting, manning, and operations of the first ships of the new Navy, drafted naval legislation, and prepared rules and regulations to govern the Navy's conduct and internal administration.

From its humble beginnings, fast-forward to 240 years later, the U.S. Navy is now a superbly technologically advanced force delivering security, diplomacy, humanitarian assistance, and lethality, when needed. With a robust fleet of 271 deployable battle force ships and more than 3,700 aircraft in operation, the U.S. Navy has a lot to celebrate!

With its extensive coastlines and unfettered access to the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, the United States is a maritime nation with traditions steeped in naval history. In a world that’s made up of 70 percent water, naval forces are not a luxury, but rather, a necessity.

The U.S. Navy came into its own during a time in which democracy and freedom were in the hearts and minds of people all over the world.

During the Revolutionary War, the Navy amassed an astonishing amount of assets and executed memorable conquests of its adversaries. However, like today’s Navy, the sole function of the Continental Navy wasn’t just to fight America’s battles at sea — diplomats, correspondence, munitions — all were transported to and from Europe aboard Navy ships, according to NHHC.

People: The Navy’s Greatest Asset

Though the modern Navy is worlds apart from yesterday’s Navy in technology, equipment and manpower, there is a common thread: the United States has maintained a vigilant presence for the past 240 years.

The all-volunteer Navy of 2015 is talented and resourceful and made up of individuals who are demographically representative of our nation. Sailors and Reservists work together to continue the U.S. Navy’s two-century tradition of warfighting excellence, adaptation and resilience, ensuring the security of our country, defeating adversaries at sea, and enabling crucial communications with allies. Through international partnerships and cooperation, our forward deployed Navy builds relationships with partner countries to become more effective, reduce misunderstandings, and diffuse tensions. Today’s Sailors are also agile and flexible — besides performing their day jobs, they carry out humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts both at home and abroad.

In addition to being known for its highly skilled fleet, the U.S. Navy is renowned for its innovation. From its unmanned aerial vehicle program to its environmental stewardship to the implementation of a dedicated Information Technology force, the Navy is forward-thinking and continues to develop advanced capabilities not only to enhance technology but to protect future forces. The Navy’s first priority and number on asset is its people — those who have been there when it matters, where it matters; those who stand the watch, today and always.

Happy 240th birthday, U.S. Navy!

Did You Know?

  • The first official U.S. Navy submarine was the USS Holland (SS-1). The underwater vessel was named for its designer, John P. Holland, and commissioned Oct. 12, 1900. This year marks the 115th year of submarine service as part of the U.S. Navy.
  • Jan. 18, 1911 is the day that Eugene Ely, flying a Curtiss pusher, landed on a specially built platform aboard the armored cruiser USS Pennsylvania (ACR 4) at anchor in San Francisco Bay. Later that year, on Apr. 12, Lt. T. Gordon "Spuds" Ellyson completed his aviation training and became the first U.S. naval aviator. The first official U.S. Navy seaplane was a Curtiss A-1 Triad, also built in 1911.
  • The U.S. Navy Reserve Force was officially established March 3, 1915. As of August 2015, there are 110,882 reservists — approximately 20 percent of the Navy’s total force.
  • The first Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), appointed during World War I, was Adm. William S. Benson. He held the position from May 11, 1915–Sept. 25, 1919.
  • For More Information

    http://www.navy.mil/navydata/nav_legacy.asp?id=146

    http://www.history.navy.mil/

CNS Mosquito and CNS Fly. Oil on canvas by William Nowland Van Powell, 1974. Image courtesy of U.S. Navy Art Collection, NHHC.
CNS Mosquito and CNS Fly. Oil on canvas by William Nowland Van Powell, 1974. Image courtesy of U.S. Navy Art Collection, NHHC.

The Ironclads. Painting by Raymond Bayless. Image courtesy of U.S. Navy Art Collection, NHHC.
The Ironclads. Painting by Raymond Bayless. Image courtesy of U.S. Navy Art Collection, NHHC.

USS Nautilus. Watercolor painting on paper by Albert K. Murray. Image courtesy of U.S. Navy Art Collection, NHHC.
USS Nautilus. Watercolor painting on paper by Albert K. Murray. Image courtesy of U.S. Navy Art Collection, NHHC.
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