Navy Birthday

Next Sunday, 13 October 2024

Navy Birthday on October 13 commemorates the day when the United States Navy was founded, in 1775. The day is generally observed by Navy troops and veterans, with a big formal dinner and Navy Birthday Ball.

This day also honors the men and women who serve or serve the country in the Navy. 

Navy Birthday celebrates the establishment of the Navy branch of the military, and it is not to be confused with Navy Day which is observed on October 27. 

This is not a public holiday, so schools and businesses remain open. 

History of Navy Birthday

Having been built by seafaring colonizers, the United States has had a strong naval tradition since its inception.

During the Second Continental Congress, at the beginning of 1775, it was suggested that the country needed a maritime force to defend the cost and protect imports and exports. However, there was some initial opposition to this idea.

It was only on October 13, 1775, that the Continental Congress ordered two sea vessels to be armed to protect the coast and ambush British vessels carrying weapons and supplies for the British Army during the Revolutionary War. 

After the end of the Revolutionary War, the Continental Navy was dismantled. Without naval protection for almost a decade, the United States supply ships were vulnerable to several attacks by pirates. So, in 1794, President George Washington and Congress passed the Naval Act of 1794, which effectively established a permanent standing Navy in the country. 

The United States Navy is one of the most important branches of the military and the current most potent naval warfare service in the world. Its fleet grew significantly during World War II with the introduction of submarines and aircraft carriers. Currently, the US Navy has 40 bases around the country, and over 340,000 active troops, with 71,000 in the Reserve. 

Navy Birthday was observed on October 27 from 1922 to 1972. In 1972 the date was changed to October 13, as that day is more relevant in the history of the military force. 

How to Celebrate Navy Birthday

Usually, the Navy throws a big Navy Birthday Ball and dinner for all its personnel, Veterans, and family members. 

If you are not part of the Navy, but would still like to celebrate and learn more about this branch of the military, there are several museums across the country dedicated to the US Navy's history. Many ships that have been decommissioned allow visitors to come and tour them, which is the perfect opportunity to learn more about the technical workings of the Navy. Finally, if you live near Washington DC, take a day trip to the US Navy Memorial. 

Did You Know?

  • Origin of the Navy's Motto: The US Navy's official motto is "Semper Fortis," which translates to "Always Courageous." It reflects the Navy's commitment to maintaining courage and strength in all situations.
  • Oldest Naval Ship Afloat: The USS Constitution, also known as "Old Ironsides," is the oldest commissioned naval vessel afloat in the world. Launched in 1797, it played a significant role in the early years of the US Navy and is now a museum ship in Boston.
  • Birthplace Controversy: While the Continental Congress authorized the establishment of the Navy on October 13, 1775, some historical records suggest that the Navy's actual birthplace might be debated. The authorization took place in Philadelphia, but the first naval engagement of the American Revolution occurred on November 10, 1775, when the USS Alfred captured a British ship off the coast of Virginia.
  • Naval Rank Names: The US Navy's rank names have interesting origins. For instance, the term "admiral" is derived from the Arabic term "amir al-bahr," which means "commander of the sea." The term "ensign" comes from the Latin word "insignia," meaning "a mark or token."
  • Changing Ranks: The rank of Commodore, once a prominent rank in the US Navy, was officially discontinued in the late 19th century. It was replaced with the rank of Rear Admiral (lower half). However, in recent years, the title of "Commodore" has been used to refer to officers in charge of certain groups of ships or units.
  • Submarine Service Birthday: The US Navy's submarine service has its own "birthday." It is celebrated on April 11th each year to commemorate the anniversary of the first successful combat submarine attack in history. On April 11, 1900, the USS Holland (SS-1) successfully launched a torpedo against a target ship.
  • Ring Tradition: There's a tradition called the "Order of the Blue Nose," where sailors who have crossed the Arctic Circle receive a certificate declaring them to be "Blue Noses." It's a playful ritual that commemorates the challenges sailors face in extreme cold.
  • Navy Bean Soup: One of the traditional meals served in the US Navy is "Navy Bean Soup." This hearty dish has been a staple on Navy ships for decades. It's said that President Franklin D. Roosevelt loved the soup so much that he insisted it be served in the White House every Monday.
  • Longest-serving Ship: The USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19), a command ship and the flagship of the US Seventh Fleet, holds the record for the longest active-duty service of any current US Navy ship. It was commissioned on November 14, 1970

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