U.S. Navy Turns 243 “Ready to Fight”
The U.S. Navy’s top leaders sent messages to the fleet on the Navy’s 243rd birthday, with Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer saying in a message to the fleet that the Navy is ready to fight, respond and defend wherever there is need but it needs to do it with a sense of urgency and efficiency.
“Because of your hard work and dedication, the foundation for restoring readiness and increasing lethality has been set. But as we enter our 244th year of service, we must now build on that foundation. I need you to continually think of how to improve the delivery of the Navy the nation needs with a committed sense of urgency.”
Spencer said that the National Defense Strategy provides guidelines in that regard. “We have developed plans informed by the National Defense Strategy, which recognizes that our primary role is warfighting. Now each of us must align our efforts in order to accomplish these plans,” he said. “With your help, I have no doubt we will leverage every resource, leading practice, and efficiency we can find with the professionalism, integrity and accountability the American people expect.”
Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. John M. Richardson recalled battles such as the War of 1812 and the Battle of Midway. “Throughout our history, our Sailors have always risen to the occasion and punched above their weight when the nation called.”
In an effort to curb British sea control, the Continental Congress established the Continental Navy, which later became the United States Navy, on October 13, 1775. When the Continental Navy was initially formed, it consisted of only two armed vessels that were tasked with disrupting munition ships supplying the British Army in America.
In 1972, CNO Adm. Elmo Zumwalt designated October 13 as the Navy’s official birthday, in order to “enhance a greater appreciation of our Navy heritage, and to provide a positive influence toward pride and professionalism in the naval service.”
George Washington once said: "It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."
The Navy today has more than 328,000 personnel on active duty and around 100,000 personnel in the Navy Reserve, as well as, 286 deployable battle force ships and approximately 270,000 civilian employees.