Birthday Message for the U.S. Navy
This year on October 13, the U.S. Navy celebrates 241 years of history and heritage. Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson delivered a birthday message for the U.S. Navy on Tuesday.
“From 1775 to today, our Navy, with our Marine Corps teammates, has protected America from attack, and preserved our influence in key regions around the world. At and from the sea, we have enhanced safety, security and stability, which has led to American prosperity,” said Richardson.
“To succeed in today’s super-complex environment we must be the force that provides our national leadership with thoughtful solutions to tough problems.
“We must represent our Navy and our Nation with pride and professionalism. We must look to our core attributes of integrity, accountability, initiative and toughness as our guide to living by our core values.”
This year’s birthday celebrations have recalled the warrior spirit of the Navy with U.S. Fleet Forces Command recalling two of many instances:
Onboard USS West Virginia on the morning of December 7, 1941, after the death of the gun crew, Petty Officer Dorie Miller manned a .50 caliber mount despite having no training whatsoever on that weapon. But as a warrior, he was ready to fight back … and he did so effectively, shooting down at least four attacking aircraft before abandoning ship. The first African-American to be awarded the Navy Cross, he was still ready to fight when he was killed in action in the Battle of Makin Island less than two years later.
In 2005, in the mountains of Afghanistan Lt. Mike Murphy and his highly trained team of Navy Seals engaged an overwhelming contingent of Taliban fighters. At the most desperate stage of the battle, Lt. Murphy moved away from cover and into the open to call for help on his satellite phone. In so doing, he sacrificed himself in the hopes of saving his team. His training sustained him, but it was his warrior ethic that sent him into that clearing in the final minutes of his life.
The United States Navy traces its origins to the Continental Navy, which the Continental Congress established on October 13, 1775, by authorizing the procurement, fitting out, manning, and dispatch of two armed vessels to cruise in search of munitions ships supplying the British Army in America. The legislation also established a Naval Committee to supervise the work. In total, the Continental Navy numbered some fifty ships over the course of the war, with approximately twenty warships active at its maximum strength.
After the American War for Independence, Congress sold the surviving ships of the Continental Navy and released the seamen and officers. The Constitution of the United States, ratified in 1789, empowered Congress "to provide and maintain a navy." Acting on this authority, Congress ordered the construction and manning of six frigates in 1794, and the War Department administered naval affairs from that year until Congress established the Department of the Navy in April 1798.
In 1972, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt authorized recognition of October 13 as the Navy's birthday.