Navy Day: Little-Known Facts About America’s Naval Force
Each year on October 27, we celebrate America’s maritime branch of the Armed Forces: the US Navy. Known as Navy Day, this commemoration is a salute to all those who have served or currently serve in the Navy.
Think you’re an expert on all things naval? Read on to find out how many of these Navy facts and trivia you know!
The Navy Has No Officially Recognized Birthplace
Odd but true: To this day, no consensus has been reached regarding the Navy’s birthplace. The Continental Congress’s decision to deploy vessels as part of a naval force and the purchase of the first four ships of the Continental Navy took place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
However, other cities also played a role in the development of the US Navy. Providence, Rhode Island, claims to be where the movement for a national navy began. In Massachusetts, the towns of Beverly and Marblehead point to their role in deploying a fleet of schooners under George Washington in 1775. Furthermore, Whitehall, New York, was the base for naval missions by the Continental Army on Lake Champlain.
The Continental Navy: The Original Name
The naval force of the Thirteen Colonies, the Continental Navy, was founded on October 13, 1775, during the Revolutionary War. The first ships were merchant vessels converted for use in battle and successfully intercepted British ships transporting supplies to the Americas. Following the victory of the United States in the Revolutionary War, the Continental Navy was disbanded, and its vessels were sold off.
The US Navy is the Largest in the World
Considered the most powerful navy in the world, the US Navy boasts high numbers of service members and battle fleet tonnage. The US Navy currently has about 336,000 active duty personnel and an additional 101,000 in Ready Reserve. In terms of vessels, the fleet includes 11 aircraft carriers, 15 cruisers, 74 destroyers, 25 frigates, and 68 nuclear submarines.
The US Navy Played A Vital Role In WWII
With the introduction of the Pacific Theater in World War II, the United States was obliged to develop a naval force that could handle the maritime demands of the war on two fronts. The US Navy was instrumental in the Allies’ island-hopping strategy, also known as leapfrogging. This campaign focused on neutralizing Pacific Ocean islands with significant fortifications and battle power by capturing less well-defended islands and interrupting supply chains.
NCIS is Part of the US Department of the Navy
Was your first thought about the CBS series? You’re not far off - the show NCIS is indeed based on the Naval Criminal Investigative Service! This organization is the primary law enforcement agency of the Navy and conducts investigations of criminal activities that involve the Navy and Marine Corps in some way. The NCIS has about 2,500 employees, composed of nearly equal numbers of special agents and civilians.
The Secretary of the Navy Names All of the Ships
In 1862, Congress established Title 13 Section 1531 of the US Code, which appointed the Secretary of the Navy to assign names to naval vessels. Many vessel classes have unofficial naming conventions. For example, aircraft carriers were generally named after battles until 1968, after which many have been named after US presidents.
Battle of Leyte Gulf
Considered one of the largest naval battles in recorded history, the Battle of Leyte Gulf was the largest naval battle in World War II, with over 200,000 participating personnel. It took place from 23 to 26 October 1944 in the waters near the Philippine island of Leyte. American and Australian forces fought the Imperial Japanese Navy as part of an effort to invade Leyte to cut off Japanese forces from supplies and oil.
So, how did you do? Did we mention anything that surprised you? We hope you learned something new about America’s naval forces as we get ready to celebrate Navy Day. Whether you plan on hoisting the Navy’s flag on your pole or attending celebrations, we hope you have a very special Navy Day!