The greatest naval force to ever sail the seas exists right now. It is ours. It is the U.S. Navy.
From a dubious beginning in 1775 (“…that the commander be instructed to cruize [sic]eastward, for intercepting such transports as may be laden with warlike stores and other supplies for our enemies…” (from Naval Historical Center)), the Navy has grown to a force of 285 deployable ships, 3700+ aircraft, and about 440,000 Sailors (active duty and ready reserve).
Half of our ships are underway right now. 41% are on deployment.
Its performance has been breathtaking. From countless relief operations around the globe, to the brilliant rescue of Captain Phillips from the hands of Somali pirates, to the effective and efficient performance of Naval personnel in wartime, the Navy has achieved a level of proficiency never before seen anywhere. At any time.
Imagine yourself standing at the scene of a terrible calamity – a war, tsunami, hurricane or earthquake. All around you is destruction and chaos and dispair. Then imagine looking out to sea, and there on the horizon is the unmistakable silhouette of a U.S. Navy warship. What would you feel then?
That is what the Navy represents to the people of this country. That is what it represents to the rest of the world.
It is a powerful Navy, but one that carries with it an aura of dignity and benevolence. In 1991 USS KITTY HAWK (CV 63) pulled in to Buenos Aires on her way around South America. Once ashore, crew members were mobbed by the locals as if they were rock stars. Civilians posed with Sailors, smiling broadly as their pictures were taken. Some asked for autographs.
The Argentines gave KITTY HAWK a glimpse of how the world views the American Navy. it is a protector. It is a representative of a great nation, and the people of the world rely on it to keep them safe.
Heritage is an integral part of the Navy’s identity too, and today we pay homage to all Sailors – past and present – who contributed to making the Navy what it has become.
Which is none other than the best and most powerful Navy on earth.
Happy Birthday, Navy.