Posted by Navy CAPT Paul S. Hammer on October 12, 2012
Sailors and Marines participate in a "swim call," a Navy tradition, aboard the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde. The U.S. Navy has a 237-year heritage of defending freedom and projecting and protecting U.S. interests around the globe. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Josue L. Escobosa)
In October 1775, amongst a great deal of political strife and naysayers who argued, “it was the maddest idea in the world to think of building an American fleet,” but with a gentle nudge from President George Washington, on Oct. 13, 1775, the Continental Congress authorized the procurement of two vessels manned by 80 men to secure the coastline from the British army, creating what we now know as the United States Navy. Today, the Navy is a fleet of 321,053 sailors, 107,832 reserves, 203,609 civilians, 287 battle ships and 3,700 aircraft.
Although the Navy’s roots can be traced back to 1775, it was 1798 when the Department of the Navy was established. The Navy birthday was officially recognized Oct. 13, 1972, by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Elmo Zumwalt on the advice of Vice Adm. Edwin Hooper.
From its inception, the Navy has had a burgeoning role in defending our nation’s freedom and democracy around the world with honor, courage and commitment. I am grateful for the privilege and honor to serve alongside some of the greatest naval officers, chiefs, petty officers, aviators, Seabees, surface warriors and submariners of my generation.