The U.S. Navy is celebrating its 247th birthday on Thursday. Here are the photos and videos commemorating the occasion.
The Continental Congress originally established the then-Continental Navy in 1775, just six months into the American Revolutionary War. At a time when America had limited military resources and independence was far from assured, Congress voted to weaponize two vessels and assigned 80-man crews to each.
Congress initially grew the fleet by buying merchant vessels and converting them to warships by strengthening their hulls, timbers, and bulwarks and adding gunports. The mission of these first Navy vessels was to capture British cargo that was meant to reinforce British troops, and instead divert it to the ill-equipped troops in General George Washington’s Army.
What was once considered “the maddest idea on the world” by opponents in Congress quickly gained steam, and paved a legacy that lives on today. After the American colonies ratified the constitution the Continental Navy became the U.S. Navy.
The U.S. Naval Institute paid tribute to its humble beginnings, sharing a quote published by The Times of London in 1812, when American and British forces were once again at war. The British publication described the U.S. fleet as “a handful of fir-built frigates under a bit of striped bunting, manned by bastards and outlaws.”
Since 1812, the U.S. Navy has grown from its fleet of “a handful of fir-built frigates” to the most powerful naval force on the planet, far surpassing Great Britain.
In one birthday message on Thursday, Adml Daryl Caudl, commander of the United States Fleet Forces (USFF) Command, said, “We’ve come a long way from our humble beginnings in 1775 to become what we are today, the world’s greatest Navy.”
“At sea, above and below the waves, on the shore and in the air, we have a lot to be proud of,” USFF Fleet Master Chief John Perryman said.
“‘On the Navy’s 247th birthday, we celebrate and reflect on the contributions of the women and men who’ve served in our Navy since 1775. Our readiness lies in the hands of each and every Sailor who stands the watch.’ – U.S. 5th Fleet CMDCM Lateef Compton,” the U.S. 5th Fleet tweeted Thursday.
Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro tweeted, “24 hours/day, 7 days/week for 247 years! Thank you to all our #Sailors, civilians, families and #veterans. You are our greatest strength. Happy 247th Birthday, #Navy! It is an honor to be your #SECNAV78.”
“Proud to celebrate and recognize the @USNavy birthday a day early today. Tomorrow, our Navy turns 24,” tweeted Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adml Mike Gilday. “Humbled by the roll-call of heroes in our naval history, and it’s an honor to serve as part of the greatest maritime force the world has ever known.”
In a video message he taped ahead of the Navy’s Birthday, Gilday said, “Together, we continue to stand the watch and prepare for combat 24 hours a day, seven days a week, as we have for the past 247 years.”
Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy James Honea said, “On, under and above the sea and on the land our brave men and women have always been ready to defend our nation. They have also selflessly ensured the safety and prosperity of Americans and our allies and partners around the world.”
“Join us in celebrating 247 years of the @USNavy!” The Department of Defense tweeted. “Thank you for your honor, courage and commitment to defending our nation. #SemperFortis [Always Courageous].”