During the founding of the United States of America, the Continental Congress was unwilling to embrace the idea of establishing a Navy as a permanent measure; however, actions of others forced Congress to act. On October 5, 1775, Congress received intelligence that two English brigs, unarmed and without convoy, laden with munitions, were leaving England bound for Quebec to resupply the British Army in America. In addition, General Washington had preempted the Continental Congress by authorizing the building of three schooners to cruise off the coast of Massachusetts to intercept enemy supply ships.
Therefore, on Friday, October 13, 1775, meeting in Philadelphia, the Continental Congress voted to outfit two sailing vessels, armed with ten carriage guns, swivel guns, and manned by crews of eighty, and to send them out on a cruise of three months to intercept transports carrying munitions and stores to the British. This was the original legislation, out of which, the Continental Navy grew and as such constitutes the birth of the Navy. The United States Constitution provided the legal basis for a military force by giving Congress the power "to provide and maintain a navy," which it did by passing the Naval Act of 1794.
The U.S. Navy grew into a formidable force in the years prior to World War II and grew significantly larger after the attack on Pearl Harbor. At its peak, the U.S. Navy was operating 6,768 ships on V-J Day in August 1945.
Today, the U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. As of January 2011, the Navy had 328,516 active duty personnel and 101,689 in the Navy Reserve. Currently it operates 286 ships in active service and more than 3,700 aircraft.
The Navy is managed by the Department of the Navy, which is headed by the civilian—Secretary of the Navy. The Department of the Navy is itself a division of the Department of Defense, which is headed by the Secretary of Defense.
Mission Statement of the Navy
The mission of the Navy is to maintain, train, and equip combat-ready Naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the seas.
"Honor, Courage, Commitment” --- “Not self but country”
Guest article by:
National Admissions Advisor
Military Admissions Specialist