United States Navy

United States Navy
Emblem of the United States Navy.svg
Emblem of the United States Navy
Founded27 March 1794
(228 years, 4 months)
(as current service)

13 October 1775
(246 years, 9 months)
(as Continental Navy)[1]


Country United States
TypeNavy
Role
Size349,593 active duty personnel (As of 2021)[2]
101,583 ready reserve personnel (As of 2018)[3]
279,471 civilian employees (As of 2018)[3]
480 ships total, of which 290 are deployable (As of 2019)[3]
2,623 aircraft (As of 2018)[4]
Part ofUnited States Armed Forces
Seal of the United States Department of the Navy.svg Department of the Navy
HeadquartersThe Pentagon
Arlington County, Virginia, U.S.
Motto(s)"Semper Fortis" (English: "Always Courageous"), (unofficial).
"Non sibi sed patriae" (English: "Not for self but for country") (unofficial).
ColorsBlue and gold[5][6]
   
March"Anchors Aweigh" Play 
Anniversaries13 October
EquipmentList of equipment of the United States Navy
Engagements
See list
Decorations
Presidential Unit Citation
Navy Unit Commendation streamer (USMC).svg
Navy Unit Commendation
Meritorious Unit Commendation (Navy-Marine) Streamer.jpg
Meritorious Unit Commendation
Websitewww.navy.mil
Commanders
Commander-in-Chief President Joe Biden
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin
Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro
Chief of Naval Operations ADM Michael M. Gilday
Vice Chief of Naval Operations ADM William K. Lescher
Master Chief Petty Officer of the NavyMCPON Russell L. Smith
Insignia
Flag
JackNaval jack of the United States.svg
PennantUSNavyCommissionPennant.svg
Anchor, Constitution, and EagleAnchor, Constitution, and Eagle.svg
LogoLogo of the United States Navy.svg

The United States Navy (USN) is the maritime service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the eight uniformed services of the United States. It is the largest and most powerful navy in the world, with the estimated tonnage of its active battle fleet alone exceeding the next 13 navies combined, including 11 allies or partner nations of the United States as of 2015.[7][8][9][10] It has the highest combined battle fleet tonnage[11][7] (4,635,628 tonnes as of 2019)[12] and the world's largest aircraft carrier fleet, with eleven in service, two new carriers under construction, and five other carriers planned. With 336,978 personnel on active duty and 101,583 in the Ready Reserve, the United States Navy is the third largest of the United States military service branches in terms of personnel. It has 290 deployable combat vessels and more than 2,623 operational aircraft as of June 2019.[3]

The United States Navy traces its origins to the Continental Navy, which was established during the American Revolutionary War and was effectively disbanded as a separate entity shortly thereafter. After suffering significant loss of goods and personnel at the hands of the Barbary pirates from Algiers, the United States Congress passed the Naval Act of 1794 for the construction of six heavy frigates, the first ships of the Navy. The United States Navy played a major role in the American Civil War by blockading the Confederacy and seizing control of its rivers. It played the central role in the World War II defeat of Imperial Japan. The United States Navy emerged from World War II as the most powerful navy in the world. The 21st century United States Navy maintains a sizable global presence, deploying in strength in such areas as the Western Pacific, the Mediterranean, and the Indian Ocean. It is a blue-water navy with the ability to project force onto the littoral regions of the world, engage in forward deployments during peacetime and rapidly respond to regional crises, making it a frequent actor in American foreign and military policy.

The United States Navy is part of the Department of the Navy, alongside the United States Marine Corps, which is its coequal sister service. The Department of the Navy is headed by the civilian Secretary of the Navy. The Department of the Navy is itself a military department of the Department of Defense, which is headed by the Secretary of Defense. The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) is the most senior Navy officer serving in the Department of the Navy.[13]

Mission

To recruit, train, equip, and organize to deliver combat ready Naval forces to win conflicts and wars while maintaining security and deterrence through sustained forward presence.

— Mission statement of the United States Navy.[14]

The U.S. Navy is a seaborne branch of the military of the United States. The Navy's three primary areas of responsibility:[15]

  • The preparation of naval forces necessary for the effective prosecution of war.
  • The maintenance of naval aviation, including land-based naval aviation, air transport essential for naval operations, and all air weapons and air techniques involved in the operations and activities of the Navy.
  • The development of aircraft, weapons, military tactics, technique, organization, and equipment of naval combat and service elements.

U.S. Navy training manuals state that the mission of the U.S. Armed Forces is "to be prepared to conduct prompt and sustained combat operations in support of the national interest." The Navy's five enduring functions are: sea control, power projection, deterrence, maritime security, and sealift.[16]

History

Origins

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.

— George Washington 15 November 1781, to Marquis de Lafayette[17]

Would to Heaven we had a navy able to reform those enemies to mankind or crush them into non-existence.

— George Washington 15 August 1786, to Marquis de Lafayette[18]

Naval power . . . is the natural defense of the United States.

The Navy was rooted in the colonial seafaring tradition, which produced a large community of sailors, captains, and shipbuilders.[20] In the early stages of the American Revolutionary War, Massachusetts had its own Massachusetts Naval Militia. The rationale for establishing a national navy was debated in the Second Continental Congress. Supporters argued that a navy would protect shipping, defend the coast, and make it easier to seek support from foreign countries. Detractors countered that challenging the British Royal Navy, then the world's preeminent naval power, was a foolish undertaking. Commander in Chief George Washington resolved the debate when he commissioned the ocean-going schooner USS Hannah to interdict British merchantmen and reported the captures to the Congress. On 13 October 1775, the Continental Congress authorized the purchase of two vessels to be armed for a cruise against British merchantmen; this resolution created the Continental Navy and is considered the first establishment of the U.S. Navy.[21] The Continental Navy achieved mixed results; it was successful in a number of engagements and raided many British merchant vessels, but it lost twenty-four of its vessels[22] and at one point was reduced to two in active service.[23] In August 1785, after the Revolutionary War had drawn to a close, Congress had sold Alliance, the last ship remaining in the Continental Navy due to a lack of funds to maintain the ship or support a navy.[24][25]

In 1972, the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, authorized the Navy to celebrate its birthday on 13 October to honor the establishment of the Continental Navy in 1775.[26][21]

From re-establishment to the Civil War

The United States was without a navy for nearly a decade, a state of affairs that exposed U.S. maritime merchant ships to a series of attacks by the Barbary pirates. The sole armed maritime presence between 1790 and the launching of the U.S. Navy's first warships in 1797 was the U.S. Revenue-Marine, the primary predecessor of the U.S. Coast Guard. Although the USRCS (United States Revenue Cutter Service) conducted operations against the pirates, the pirates' depredations far outstripped its abilities and Congress passed the Naval Act of 1794 that established a permanent standing navy on 27 March 1794.[27] The Naval Act ordered the construction and manning of six frigates and, by October 1797,[22] the first three were brought into service: USS United States, USS Constellation, and USS Constitution. Due to his strong posture on having a strong standing Navy during this period, John Adams is "often called the father of the American Navy".[28] In 1798–99 the Navy was involved in an undeclared Quasi-War with France.[29] From 1801 to 1805, in the First Barbary War, the U.S. Navy defended U.S. ships from the Barbary pirates, blockaded the Barbary ports and executed attacks against the Barbary' fleets.

The U.S. Navy saw substantial action in the War of 1812, where it was victorious in eleven single-ship duels with the Royal Navy. It proved victorious in the Battle of Lake Erie and prevented the region from becoming a threat to American operations in the area. The result was a major victory for the U.S. Army at the Niagara Frontier of the war, and the defeat of the Native American allies of the British at the Battle of the Thames. Despite this, the U.S. Navy could not prevent the British from blockading its ports and landing troops.[30] But after the War of 1812 ended in 1815, the U.S. Navy primarily focused its attention on protecting American shipping assets, sending squadrons to the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, where it participated in the Second Barbary War that ended piracy in the region, South America, Africa, and the Pacific.[22] From 1819 to the outbreak of the Civil War, the Africa Squadron operated to suppress the slave trade, seizing 36 slave ships, although its contribution was smaller than that of the much larger British Royal Navy.

During the Mexican–American War the U.S. Navy blockaded Mexican ports, capturing or burning the Mexican fleet in the Gulf of California and capturing all major cities in Baja California peninsula. In 1846–1848 the Navy successfully used the Pacific Squadron under Commodore Robert Stockton and its marines and blue-jackets to facilitate the capture of California with large-scale land operations coordinated with the local militia organized in the California Battalion. The Navy conducted the U.S. military's first large-scale amphibious joint operation by successfully landing 12,000 army troops with their equipment in one day at Veracruz, Mexico. When larger guns were needed to bombard Veracruz, Navy volunteers landed large guns and manned them in the successful bombardment and capture of the city. This successful landing and capture of Veracruz opened the way for the capture of Mexico City and the end of the war.[30] The U.S. Navy established itself as a player in United States foreign policy through the actions of Commodore Matthew Perry in Japan, which resulted in the Convention of Kanagawa in 1854.

A carte de visite of a U.S. Navy lieutenant during the Civil War

Naval power played a significant role during the American Civil War, in which the Union had a distinct advantage over the Confederacy on the seas.[30] A Union blockade on all major ports shut down exports and the coastal trade, but blockade runners provided a thin lifeline. The Brown-water navy components of the U.S. navy control of the river systems made internal travel difficult for Confederates and easy for the Union. The war saw ironclad warships in combat for the first time at the Battle of Hampton Roads in 1862, which pitted USS Monitor against CSS Virginia.[31] For two decades after the war, however, the U.S. Navy's fleet was neglected and became technologically obsolete.[32]

20th century

The Great White Fleet demonstrating U.S. naval power in 1907; it was proof that the U.S. Navy had blue-water capability

Our ships are our natural bulwarks.

A modernization program beginning in the 1880s when the first steel-hulled warships stimulated the American steel industry, and "the new steel navy" was born.[33] This rapid expansion of the U.S. Navy and its decisive victory over the outdated Spanish Navy in 1898 brought a new respect for American technical quality. Rapid building of at first pre-dreadnoughts, then dreadnoughts brought the U.S. in line with the navies of countries such as Britain and Germany. In 1907, most of the Navy's battleships, with several support vessels, dubbed the Great White Fleet, were showcased in a 14-month circumnavigation of the world. Ordered by President Theodore Roosevelt, it was a mission designed to demonstrate the Navy's capability to extend to the global theater.[22] By 1911, the U.S. had begun building the super-dreadnoughts at a pace to eventually become competitive with Britain.[34] The 1911 also saw the first naval aircraft with the navy[35] which would lead to the informal establishment of United States Naval Flying Corps to protect shore bases. It was not until 1921 US naval aviation truly commenced.

Columbia, personification of the United States, wearing a warship bearing the words "World Power" as her "Easter bonnet" on the cover of Puck, 6 April 1901

World War I and interwar years

During World War I, the U.S. Navy spent much of its resources protecting and shipping hundreds of thousands of soldiers and marines of the American Expeditionary Force and war supplies across the Atlantic in U-boat infested waters with the Cruiser and Transport Force. It also concentrated on laying the North Sea Mine Barrage. Hesitation by the senior command meant that naval forces were not contributed until late 1917. Battleship Division Nine was dispatched to Britain and served as the Sixth Battle Squadron of the British Grand Fleet. Its presence allowed the British to decommission some older ships and reuse the crews on smaller vessels. Destroyers and U.S. Naval Air Force units like the Northern Bombing Group contributed to the anti-submarine operations. The strength of the United States Navy grew under an ambitious ship building program associated with the Naval Act of 1916.

Naval construction, especially of battleships, was limited by the Washington Naval Conference of 1921–22, the first arms control conference in history. The aircraft carriers USS Saratoga (CV-3) and USS Lexington (CV-2) were built on the hulls of partially built battle cruisers that had been canceled by the treaty. The New Deal used Public Works Administration funds to build warships, such as USS Yorktown (CV-5) and USS Enterprise (CV-6). By 1936, with the completion of USS Wasp (CV-7), the U.S. Navy possessed a carrier fleet of 165,000 tonnes displacement, although this figure was nominally recorded as 135,000 tonnes to comply with treaty limitations. Franklin Roosevelt, the number two official in the Navy Department during World War I, appreciated the Navy and gave it strong support. In return, senior leaders were eager for innovation and experimented with new technologies, such as magnetic torpedoes, and developed a strategy called War Plan Orange for victory in the Pacific in a hypothetical war with Japan that would eventually become reality.[36]

World War II

Battleship USS Idaho shelling Okinawa on 1 April 1945

The U.S. Navy grew into a formidable force in the years prior to World War II, with battleship production being restarted in 1937, commencing with USS North Carolina (BB-55). Though ultimately unsuccessful, Japan tried to neutralize this strategic threat with the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. Following American entry into the war, the U.S. Navy grew tremendously as the United States was faced with a two-front war on the seas. It achieved notable acclaim in the Pacific Theater, where it was instrumental to the Allies' successful "island hopping" campaign.[23] The U.S. Navy participated in many significant battles, including the Battle of the Coral Sea, the Battle of Midway, the Solomon Islands Campaign, the Battle of the Philippine Sea, the Battle of Leyte Gulf, and the Battle of Okinawa. By 1943, the navy's size was larger than the combined fleets of all the other combatant nations in World War II.[37] By war's end in 1945, the U.S. Navy had added hundreds of new ships, including 18 aircraft carriers and 8 battleships, and had over 70% of the world's total numbers and total tonnage of naval vessels of 1,000 tons or greater.[38][39] At its peak, the U.S. Navy was operating 6,768 ships on V-J Day in August 1945.[40]

Doctrine had significantly shifted by the end of the war. The U.S. Navy had followed in the footsteps of the navies of Great Britain and Germany which favored concentrated groups of battleships as their main offensive naval weapons.[41] The development of the aircraft carrier and its devastating utilization by the Japanese against the U.S. at Pearl Harbor, however, shifted U.S. thinking. The Pearl Harbor attack destroyed or took out of action a significant number of U.S. Navy battleships. This placed much of the burden of retaliating against the Japanese on the small number of aircraft carriers.[42] During World War II some 4,000,000 Americans served in the United States Navy.[43]

Cold War

USS George Washington (SSBN-598), a ballistic missile submarine

The potential for armed conflict with the Soviet Union during the Cold War pushed the U.S. Navy to continue its technological advancement by developing new weapons systems, ships, and aircraft. U.S. naval strategy changed to that of forward deployment in support of U.S. allies with an emphasis on carrier battle groups.[44]

The navy was a major participant in the Vietnam War, blockaded Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and, through the use of ballistic missile submarines, became an important aspect of the United States' nuclear strategic deterrence policy. The U.S. Navy conducted various combat operations in the Persian Gulf against Iran in 1987 and 1988, most notably Operation Praying Mantis. The Navy was extensively involved in Operation Urgent Fury, Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Deliberate Force, Operation Allied Force, Operation Desert Fox and Operation Southern Watch.

The U.S. Navy has also been involved in search and rescue/search and salvage operations, sometimes in conjunction with vessels of other countries as well as with U.S. Coast Guard ships. Two examples are the 1966 Palomares B-52 crash incident and the subsequent search for missing hydrogen bombs, and Task Force 71 of the Seventh Fleet's operation in search for Korean Air Lines Flight 007, shot down by the Soviets on 1 September 1983.

21st century

When a crisis confronts the nation, the first question often asked by policymakers is: 'What naval forces are available and how fast can they be on station?'

— Admiral Carlisle A. H. Trost[45]
U.S. Navy officers aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln monitor defense systems during early 2010s maritime security operations exercises

The U.S. Navy continues to be a major support to U.S. interests in the 21st century. Since the end of the Cold War, it has shifted its focus from preparations for large-scale war with the Soviet Union to special operations and strike missions in regional conflicts.[46] The navy participated in Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and is a major participant in the ongoing War on Terror, largely in this capacity. Development continues on new ships and weapons, including the Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier and the Littoral combat ship. Because of its size, weapons technology, and ability to project force far from U.S. shores, the current U.S. Navy remains an asset for the United States. Moreover, it is the principal means through which the U.S. maintains international global order, namely by safeguarding global trade and protecting allied nations.[47]

In 2007, the U.S. Navy joined with the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Coast Guard to adopt a new maritime strategy called A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower that raises the notion of prevention of war to the same philosophical level as the conduct of war. The strategy was presented by the Chief of Naval Operations, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, and Commandant of the Coast Guard at the International Sea Power Symposium in Newport, Rhode Island on 17 October 2007.[48]

U.S. Navy patrol boat near Kuwait Naval Base in 2009

The strategy recognized the economic links of the global system and how any disruption due to regional crises (man-made or natural) can adversely impact the U.S. economy and quality of life. This new strategy charts a course for the Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps to work collectively with each other and international partners to prevent these crises from occurring or reacting quickly should one occur to prevent negative impacts on the U.S.

In 2010, Admiral Gary Roughead, Chief of Naval Operations, noted that demands on the Navy have grown as the fleet has shrunk and that in the face of declining budgets in the future, the U.S. Navy must rely even more on international partnerships.[49]

The amphibious assault ship USS America, launched in 2012

In its 2013 budget request, the navy focused on retaining all eleven big deck carriers, at the expense of cutting numbers of smaller ships and delaying the SSBN replacement.[50] By the next year the USN found itself unable to maintain eleven aircraft carriers in the face of the expiration of budget relief offered by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 and CNO Jonathan Greenert said that a ten ship carrier fleet would not be able to sustainably support military requirements.[51] The British First Sea Lord George Zambellas said that[52] the USN had switched from "outcome-led to resource-led" planning.[53]

One significant change in U.S. policymaking that is having a major effect on naval planning is the Pivot to East Asia. In response, the Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus stated in 2015 that 60 percent of the total U.S. fleet will be deployed to the Pacific by 2020.[54] The Navy's most recent 30-year shipbuilding plan, published in 2016, calls for a future fleet of 350 ships in order to meet the challenges of an increasingly competitive international environment.[52] A provision of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act called for expanding the naval fleet to 355 ships "as soon as practicable", but did not establish additional funding nor a timeline.[55]

Organization

Organization of the United States Navy within the Department of Defense
(c) Arcimpulse at the English Wikipedia project, CC-BY-SA-3.0
Simplified flowchart of the U.S. Navy command structure

The U.S. Navy falls under the administration of the Department of the Navy, under civilian leadership of the Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV). The most senior naval officer is the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), a four-star admiral who is immediately under and reports to the Secretary of the Navy. At the same time, the Chief of Naval Operations is a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which is the second-highest deliberative body of the armed forces after the United States National Security Council, although it plays only an advisory role to the President and does not nominally form part of the chain of command. The Secretary of the Navy and Chief of Naval Operations are responsible for organizing, recruiting, training, and equipping the Navy so that it is ready for operation under the commanders of the unified combatant commands.

Operating forces

Areas of responsibility for each of the United States Navy Fleets.
Areas of responsibility for each of the United States Navy fleets. Tenth Fleet serves as the numbered fleet for U.S. Fleet Cyber Command and therefore is not shown.

There are nine components in the operating forces of the U.S. Navy: the United States Fleet Forces Command (formerly United States Atlantic Fleet), United States Pacific Fleet, United States Naval Forces Central Command, United States Naval Forces Europe, Naval Network Warfare Command, Navy Reserve, United States Naval Special Warfare Command, Operational Test and Evaluation Force, and Military Sealift Command. Fleet Forces Command controls a number of unique capabilities, including Military Sealift Command, Naval Expeditionary Combat Command, and Navy Cyber Forces.

The United States Navy has seven active numbered fleets – Second, Third, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Tenth Fleets are each led by a vice admiral, and the Fourth Fleet is led by a rear admiral. These seven fleets are further grouped under Fleet Forces Command (the former Atlantic Fleet), Pacific Fleet, Naval Forces Europe-Africa, and Naval Forces Central Command, whose commander also doubles as Commander Fifth Fleet; the first three commands being led by four-star admirals. The United States First Fleet existed after World War II from 1947, but it was redesignated the Third Fleet in early 1973. The United States Second Fleet was deactivated in September 2011 but reestablished in August 2018 amid heightened tensions with Russia.[56] It is headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia, with responsibility over the East Coast and North Atlantic.[57] In early 2008, the Navy reactivated the United States Fourth Fleet to control operations in the area controlled by Southern Command, which consists of US assets in and around Central and South America.[58] Other number fleets were activated during World War II and later deactivated, renumbered, or merged.

Shore establishments

USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) docking at the U.S. Navy base in Yokosuka, Japan

Shore establishments exist to support the mission of the fleet through the use of facilities on land. Among the commands of the shore establishment, as of April 2011, are the Naval Education and Training Command, the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command, the Naval Information Warfare Systems Command, the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, the Naval Supply Systems Command, the Naval Air Systems Command, the Naval Sea Systems Command, the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, the Bureau of Naval Personnel, the United States Naval Academy, the Naval Safety Center, the Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center (formerly known as the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center), and the United States Naval Observatory.[59] Official Navy websites list the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and the Chief of Naval Operations as part of the shore establishment, but these two entities effectively sit superior to the other organizations, playing a coordinating role.[60]

Relationships with other service branches

United States Marine Corps

A Marine F/A-18 from VMFA-451 preparing to launch from USS Coral Sea (CV-43)

In 1834, the United States Marine Corps came under the Department of the Navy.[61] Historically, the Navy has had a unique relationship with the USMC, partly because they both specialize in seaborne operations. Together the Navy and Marine Corps form the Department of the Navy and report to the Secretary of the Navy. However, the Marine Corps is a distinct, separate service branch[62] with its own uniformed service chief – the Commandant of the Marine Corps, a four-star general.

The Marine Corps depends on the Navy for medical support (dentists, doctors, nurses, medical technicians known as corpsmen) and religious support (chaplains). Thus, Navy officers and enlisted sailors fulfill these roles. When attached to Marine Corps units deployed to an operational environment they generally wear Marine camouflage uniforms, but otherwise, they wear Navy dress uniforms unless they opt to conform to Marine Corps grooming standards.[60]

In the operational environment, as an expeditionary force specializing in amphibious operations, Marines often embark on Navy ships to conduct operations from beyond territorial waters. Marine units deploying as part of a Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) operate under the command of the existing Marine chain of command. Although Marine units routinely operate from amphibious assault ships, the relationship has evolved over the years much as the Commander of the Carrier Air Group/Wing (CAG) does not work for the carrier commanding officer, but coordinates with the ship's CO and staff. Some Marine aviation squadrons, usually fixed-wing assigned to carrier air wings train and operate alongside Navy squadrons; they fly similar missions and often fly sorties together under the cognizance of the CAG. Aviation is where the Navy and Marines share the most common ground since aircrews are guided in their use of aircraft by standard procedures outlined in a series of publications known as NATOPS manuals.

United States Coast Guard

A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter preparing to land on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD-1)

The United States Coast Guard, in its peacetime role with the Department of Homeland Security, fulfills its law enforcement and rescue role in the maritime environment. It provides Law Enforcement Detachments (LEDETs) to Navy vessels, where they perform arrests and other law enforcement duties during naval boarding and interdiction missions. In times of war, the Coast Guard may be called upon to operate as a service in the Navy.[63] At other times, Coast Guard Port Security Units are sent overseas to guard the security of ports and other assets. The Coast Guard also jointly staffs the Navy's naval coastal warfare groups and squadrons (the latter of which were known as harbor defense commands until late-2004), which oversee defense efforts in foreign littoral combat and inshore areas.

Personnel

Navy SEALs at one of the entrances to the Zhawar Kili cave complex

The United States Navy has over 400,000 personnel, approximately a quarter of whom are in ready reserve. Of those on active duty, more than eighty percent are enlisted sailors and around fifteen percent are commissioned officers; the rest are midshipmen of the United States Naval Academy and midshipmen of the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps at over 180 universities around the country and officer candidates at the Navy's Officer Candidate School.[3]

Enlisted sailors complete basic military training at boot camp and then are sent to complete training for their individual careers.[64]

Sailors prove they have mastered skills and deserve responsibilities by completing Personnel Qualification Standards (PQS) tasks and examinations. Among the most important is the "warfare qualification", which denotes a journeyman level of capability in Surface Warfare, Aviation Warfare, Information Dominance Warfare, Naval Aircrew, Special Warfare, Seabee Warfare, Submarine Warfare or Expeditionary Warfare. Many qualifications are denoted on a sailor's uniform with U.S. Navy badges and insignia.

Uniforms

The uniforms of the U.S. Navy have evolved gradually since the first uniform regulations for officers were issued in 1802 on the formation of the Navy Department. The predominant colors of U.S. Navy uniforms are navy blue and white. U.S. Navy uniforms were based on Royal Navy uniforms of the time and have tended to follow that template.[65]

Commissioned officers

Commissioned officer rank structure of the United States Navy[66]
US DoD Pay GradeO-1O-2O-3O-4O-5O-6O-7O-8O-9O-10Special Grade
NATO CodeOF-1OF-2OF-3OF-4OF-5OF-6OF-7OF-8OF-9OF-10
InsigniaUS Navy O1 insignia.svgUS Navy O2 insignia.svgUS Navy O3 insignia.svgUS Navy O5 insignia.svgUS Navy O6 insignia.svgUS Navy O7 insignia.svgUS Navy O8 insignia.svgUS Navy O9 insignia.svgUS Navy O10 insignia.svgUS Navy O11 insignia.svg
TitleEnsignLieutenant
(junior grade)
LieutenantLieutenant
commander
CommanderCaptainRear admiral
(lower half)
Rear admiralVice admiralAdmiralFleet admiral
AbbreviationENSLTJGLTLCDRCDRCAPTRDMLRADMVADMADMFADM

Navy officers serve either as a line officer or as a staff corps officer. Line officers wear an embroidered gold star above their rank of the naval service dress uniform while staff corps officers and commissioned warrant officers wear unique designator insignias that denotes their occupational specialty.[67][68]

TypeLine officerMedical CorpsDental CorpsNurse CorpsMedical Service CorpsJudge Advocate General's Corps
InsigniaUSN Line Officer.pngUSN Med-corp.gifUSN Dental.gifUSN Nurse.gifUSN Msc.gifUSN Jag-corp.gif
Designator11XXX210X220X290X230X250X
Chaplain Corps
(Christian Faith)
Chaplain Corps
(Jewish Faith)
Chaplain Corps
(Muslim Faith)
Chaplain Corps
(Buddhist Faith)
Supply CorpsCivil Engineer CorpsLaw Community
(Limited Duty Officer)
USN Chapchr.gifUSN Chap-jew.gifUSN Chap-mus.gifUSN - Chaplian Insignia - Buddhist 2.jpgUnited States Navy Supply Corps insignia.gifUSN Ce-corp.gifUSN Law Community.png
410X410X410X410X310X510X655X

Warrant officers

U.S. Navy warrant officer specialty insignias

Warrant and chief warrant officer ranks are held by technical specialists who direct specific activities essential to the proper operation of the ship, which also require commissioned officer authority.[69] Navy warrant officers serve in 30 specialties covering five categories. Warrant officers should not be confused with the limited duty officer (LDO) in the Navy. Warrant officers perform duties that are directly related to their previous enlisted service and specialized training. This allows the Navy to capitalize on the experience of warrant officers without having to frequently transition them to other duty assignments for advancement.[70] Most Navy warrant officers are accessed from the chief petty officer pay grades, E-7 through E-9, analogous to a senior non-commissioned officer in the other services, and must have a minimum 14 years in service.[71]

Uniformed services pay gradeW-5W-4W-3W-2W-1
 United States Navy
US Navy CW5 insignia.svgUS Navy CW4 insignia.svgUS Navy CW3 insignia.svgUS Navy CW2 insignia.svgUS Navy WO1 insignia.svg
Chief warrant officer 5Chief warrant officer 4Chief warrant officer 3Chief warrant officer 2Warrant officer 1
AbbreviationCWO-5CWO-4CWO-3CWO-2WO-1
NATO rankWO-5WO-4WO-3WO-2WO-1

Enlisted

Sailors in pay grades E-1 through E-3 are considered to be in apprenticeships.[72] They are divided into five definable groups, with colored group rate marks designating the group to which they belong: Seaman, Fireman, Airman, Constructionman, and Hospitalman. E-4 to E-6 are non-commissioned officers (NCOs), and are specifically called Petty officers in the Navy.[73] Petty Officers perform not only the duties of their specific career field but also serve as leaders to junior enlisted personnel. E-7 to E-9 are still considered Petty Officers, but are considered a separate community within the Navy. They have separate berthing and dining facilities (where feasible), wear separate uniforms, and perform separate duties.

After attaining the rate of Master Chief Petty Officer, a service member may choose to further their career by becoming a Command Master Chief Petty Officer (CMC). A CMC is considered to be the senior-most enlisted service member within a command, and is the special assistant to the Commanding Officer in all matters pertaining to the health, welfare, job satisfaction, morale, utilization, advancement and training of the command's enlisted personnel.[74][75] CMCs can be Command level (within a single unit, such as a ship or shore station), Fleet level (squadrons consisting of multiple operational units, headed by a flag officer or commodore), or Force level (consisting of a separate community within the Navy, such as Subsurface, Air, Reserves).[76]

CMC insignia are similar to the insignia for Master Chief, except that the rating symbol is replaced by an inverted five-point star, reflecting a change in their rating from their previous rating (i.e., MMCM) to CMDCM. The stars for Command Master Chief are silver, while stars for Fleet or Force Master Chief are gold. Additionally, CMCs wear a badge, worn on their left breast pocket, denoting their title (Command/Fleet/Force).[75][77]

Uniformed services pay gradeE-9E-8E-7E-6E-5E-4E-3E-2E-1
 United States Navy[78]
Insignia pendingMCPONFMCPOFMCPOE-8E-6E-5E-4E-3E-2No insignia
Senior Enlisted Advisor to the ChairmanMaster Chief Petty Officer of the NavyFleet/force master chief petty officerCommand master chief petty officerMaster chief petty officerCommand senior chief petty officerSenior chief petty officerChief petty officerPetty officer first classPetty officer second classPetty officer third classSeamanSeaman apprenticeSeaman recruit
AbbreviationSEACMCPONFLTCM/FORCMCMDCMMCPOCMDCSSCPOCPOPO1PO2PO3SNSASR
NATO codeOR-9OR-8OR-7OR-6OR-5OR-4OR-3OR-2OR-1

Badges of the United States Navy

Insignia and badges of the United States Navy are military "badges" issued by the U.S. Department of the Navy to naval service members who achieve certain qualifications and accomplishments while serving on both active and reserve duty in the United States Navy. Most naval aviation insignia are also permitted for wear on uniforms of the United States Marine Corps.

As described in Chapter 5 of U.S. Navy Uniform Regulations,[79] "badges" are categorized as breast insignia (usually worn immediately above and below ribbons) and identification badges (usually worn at breast pocket level).[80] Breast insignia are further divided between command and warfare and other qualification.[81]

Insignia come in the form of metal "pin-on devices" worn on formal uniforms and embroidered "tape strips" worn on work uniforms. For the purpose of this article, the general term "insignia" shall be used to describe both, as it is done in Navy Uniform Regulations. The term "badge", although used ambiguously in other military branches and in informal speak to describe any pin, patch, or tab, is exclusive to identification badges[82] and authorized marksmanship awards[83] according to the language in Navy Uniform Regulations, Chapter 5. Below are just a few of the many badges maintained by the Navy. The rest can be seen in the article cited at the top of this section:

Bases

Map of naval bases in the United States

The size, complexity, and international presence of the United States Navy requires a large number of navy installations to support its operations. While the majority of bases are located inside the United States itself, the Navy maintains a significant number of facilities abroad, either in U.S.-controlled territories or in foreign countries under a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA).

Eastern United States

The second largest concentration of installations is at Hampton Roads, Virginia, where the navy occupies over 36,000 acres (15,000 ha) of land. Located at Hampton Roads are Naval Station Norfolk, homeport of the Atlantic Fleet; Naval Air Station Oceana, a Master Jet Base; Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek; and Training Support Center Hampton Roads as well as a number of Navy and commercial shipyards that service navy vessels. The Aegis Training and Readiness Center is located at the Naval Support Activity South Potomac in Dahlgren, Virginia. Maryland is home to NAS Patuxent River, which houses the Navy's Test Pilot School. Also located in Maryland is the United States Naval Academy, situated in Annapolis. NS Newport in Newport, Rhode Island is home to many schools and tenant commands, including the Officer Candidate School, Naval Undersea Warfare Center, and more, and also maintains inactive ships.

There is also a naval base in Charleston, South Carolina. This is home to the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command, under which reside the Nuclear Field "A" Schools (for Machinist Mates (Nuclear), Electrician Mates (Nuclear), and Electronics Technicians (Nuclear)), Nuclear Power School (Officer and Enlisted); and one of two Nuclear Power Training Unit 'Prototype' schools. The state of Florida is the location of three major bases, NS Mayport, the Navy's fourth largest, in Jacksonville, Florida; NAS Jacksonville, a Master Air Anti-submarine Warfare base; and NAS Pensacola; home of the Naval Education and Training Command, the Naval Air Technical Training Center that provides specialty training for enlisted aviation personnel and is the primary flight training base for Navy and Marine Corps Naval Flight Officers and enlisted Naval Aircrewmen. There is also NSA Panama City, Florida which is home to the Center for Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Divising (CENEODIVE) and the Navy Diving and Salvage Training Center and NSA Orlando, Florida, which home to the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division (NAWCTSD).

The main U.S. Navy submarine bases on the east coast are located in Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Connecticut and NSB Kings Bay in Kings Bay, Georgia. The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard near Portsmouth, New Hampshire,[84] which repairs naval submarines.[3] NS Great Lakes, north of Chicago, Illinois is the home of the Navy's boot camp for enlisted sailors.

The Washington Navy Yard in Washington, DC is the Navy's oldest shore establishment and serves as a ceremonial and administrative center for the U.S. Navy, home to the Chief of Naval Operations and numerous commands.

Western United States and Hawaii

Underwater Demolition Team members using the casting technique from a speeding boat
Combat Camera Underwater Photo Team – A U.S. Navy diver during underwater photography training off the coast of Guantanamo Bay

The U.S. Navy's largest complex is Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California, which covers 1.1 million acres (4,500 km2) of land, or approximately one-third of the U.S. Navy's total land holdings.[3]

Naval Base San Diego, California is the main homeport of the Pacific Fleet, although its headquarters is located in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. NAS North Island is located on the north side of Coronado, California, and is home to Headquarters for Naval Air Forces and Naval Air Force Pacific, the bulk of the Pacific Fleet's helicopter squadrons, and part of the West Coast aircraft carrier fleet. NAB Coronado is located on the southern end of the Coronado Island and is home to the navy's west coast SEAL teams and special boat units. NAB Coronado is also home to the Naval Special Warfare Center, the primary training center for SEALs.

The other major collection of naval bases on the west coast is in Puget Sound, Washington. Among them, NS Everett is one of the newer bases and the navy states that it is its most modern facility.[85]

NAS Fallon, Nevada serves as the primary training ground for navy strike aircrews and is home to the Naval Strike Air Warfare Center. Master Jet Bases are also located at NAS Lemoore, California, and NAS Whidbey Island, Washington, while the carrier-based airborne early warning aircraft community and major air test activities are located at NAS Point Mugu, California. The naval presence in Hawaii is centered on NS Pearl Harbor, which hosts the headquarters of the Pacific Fleet and many of its subordinate commands.

United States territories

USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) pier side in Apra Harbor, Guam

Guam, an island strategically located in the Western Pacific Ocean, maintains a sizable U.S. Navy presence, including NB Guam. The westernmost U.S. territory, it contains a natural deepwater harbor capable of harboring aircraft carriers in emergencies.[86] Its naval air station was deactivated[87] in 1995 and its flight activities transferred to nearby Andersen Air Force Base.

Puerto Rico in the Caribbean formerly housed NS Roosevelt Roads, which was shut down in 2004 shortly after the controversial closure of the live ordnance training area on nearby Vieques Island.[3]

Foreign countries

The largest overseas base is the United States Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan, which serves as the home port for the navy's largest forward-deployed fleet and is a significant base of operations in the Western Pacific.[88]

European operations revolve around facilities in Italy (NAS Sigonella and Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station Naples) with NSA Naples as the homeport for the Sixth Fleet and Command Naval Region Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia (CNREURAFSWA), and additional facilities in nearby Gaeta. There is also NS Rota in Spain and NSA Souda Bay in Greece.

In the Middle East, naval facilities are located almost exclusively in countries bordering the Persian Gulf, with NSA Bahrain serving as the headquarters of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and U.S. Fifth Fleet.

NS Guantanamo Bay in Cuba is the oldest overseas facility and has become known in recent years as the location of a detention camp for suspected al-Qaeda operatives.[89]

Equipment

As of 2018, the navy operates over 460 ships, including vessels operated by the Military Sealift Command (MSC) crewed by a combination of civilian contractors and a small number of uniformed Naval personnel, 3,650+ aircraft, 50,000 non-combat vehicles and owns 75,200 buildings on 3,300,000 acres (13,000 km2).

Ships

The names of commissioned ships of the U.S. Navy are prefixed with the letters "USS", designating "United States Ship".[90] Non-commissioned, civilian-manned vessels of the navy have names that begin with "USNS", standing for "United States Naval Ship". The names of ships are officially selected by the secretary of the navy, often to honor important people or places.[91] Additionally, each ship is given a letter-based hull classification symbol (for example, CVN or DDG) to indicate the vessel's type and number. All ships in the navy inventory are placed in the Naval Vessel Register, which is part of "the Navy List" (required by article 29 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea). The register tracks data such as the current status of a ship, the date of its commissioning, and the date of its decommissioning. Vessels that are removed from the register prior to disposal are said to be stricken from the register. The navy also maintains a reserve fleet of inactive vessels that are maintained for reactivation in times of need.

The U.S. Navy was one of the first to install nuclear reactors aboard naval vessels;[92] today, nuclear energy powers all active U.S. aircraft carriers and submarines. In the case of the Nimitz-class carrier, two naval reactors give the ship almost unlimited range and provide enough electrical energy to power a city of 100,000 people.[93] The U.S. Navy previously operated nuclear-powered cruisers, but all have been decommissioned.

In the early 2010, the U.S. Navy had identified a need for 313 combat ships, but could only afford 232 to 243 ships.[94] In March 2014, the Navy started counting self-deployable support ships such as minesweepers, surveillance craft, and tugs in the "battle fleet" in order to reach a count of 272 as of October 2016,[95][96] and it includes ships that have been put in "shrink wrap".[97] The number of ships generally ranged between 270 and 300 throughout the late 2010s.[98] As of February 2022, the Navy has 296 battle force ships, however analyses state the Navy needs a fleet of more than 500 in order to meet its commitments.[99][100]

Aircraft carriers

An aircraft carrier is typically deployed along with a host of additional vessels, forming a carrier strike group. The supporting ships, which usually include three or four Aegis-equipped cruisers and destroyers, a frigate, and two attack submarines, are tasked with protecting the carrier from air, missile, sea, and undersea threats as well as providing additional strike capabilities themselves. Ready logistics support for the group is provided by a combined ammunition, oiler, and supply ship. Modern carriers are named after American admirals and politicians, usually presidents.[101]

The Navy has a statutory requirement for a minimum of 11 aircraft carriers.[102] Currently there are 10 that are deployable and one, USS Gerald R. Ford, that is currently undergoing extensive systems and technologies testing until around 2021.[103] All US aircraft carriers are nuclear-powered; they and submarines are the only nuclear-powered Navy vessels.[98]

Amphibious warfare vessels

USS San Antonio, a San Antonio amphibious transport dock

Amphibious assault ships are the centerpieces of US amphibious warfare and fulfill the same power projection role as aircraft carriers except that their striking force centers on land forces instead of aircraft. They deliver, command, coordinate, and fully support all elements of a 2,200-strong Marine Expeditionary Unit in an amphibious assault using both air and amphibious vehicles. Resembling small aircraft carriers, amphibious assault ships are capable of V/STOL, STOVL, VTOL, tiltrotor, and rotary wing aircraft operations. They also contain a well deck to support the use of Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) and other amphibious assault watercraft. Recently, amphibious assault ships have begun to be deployed as the core of an expeditionary strike group, which usually consists of an additional amphibious transport dock and dock landing ship for amphibious warfare and an Aegis-equipped cruiser and destroyer, frigate, and attack submarine for group defense. Amphibious assault ships are typically named after World War II aircraft carriers.

Amphibious transport docks are warships that embark, transport, and land Marines, supplies, and equipment in a supporting role during amphibious warfare missions. With a landing platform, amphibious transport docks also have the capability to serve as secondary aviation support for an expeditionary group. All amphibious transport docks can operate helicopters, LCACs, and other conventional amphibious vehicles while the newer San Antonio class of ships has been explicitly designed to operate all three elements of the Marines' "mobility triad": Expeditionary Fighting Vehicles (EFVs), the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, and LCACs. Amphibious transport docks are typically named after U.S. cities.

The dock landing ship is a medium amphibious transport that is designed specifically to support and operate LCACs, though it is able to operate other amphibious assault vehicles in the United States inventory as well. Dock landing ships are normally deployed as a component of an expeditionary strike group's amphibious assault contingent, operating as a secondary launch platform for LCACs. All dock landing ships are named after cities or important places in U.S. and U.S. Naval history.[101]

Cruisers

Cruisers are large surface combat vessels that conduct anti-air/anti-missile warfare, surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, and strike operations independently or as members of a larger task force. Modern guided missile cruisers were developed out of a need to counter the anti-ship missile threat facing the United States Navy. This led to the development of the AN/SPY-1 phased array radar and the Standard missile with the Aegis combat system coordinating the two. Ticonderoga-class cruisers were the first to be equipped with Aegis and were put to use primarily as anti-air and anti-missile defense in a battle force protection role. Later developments of vertical launch systems and the Tomahawk missile gave cruisers additional long-range land and sea strike capability, making them capable of both offensive and defensive battle operations. The Ticonderoga class is the only active class of cruiser. All cruisers in this class are named after battles.[101]

Destroyers

USS Zumwalt, a Zumwalt-class stealth guided missile destroyer

Destroyers are multi-mission medium surface ships capable of sustained performance in anti-air, anti-submarine, anti-ship, and offensive strike operations. Like cruisers, guided missile destroyers are primarily focused on surface strikes using Tomahawk missiles and fleet defense through Aegis and the Standard missile. Destroyers additionally specialize in anti-submarine warfare and are equipped with VLA rockets and LAMPS Mk III Sea Hawk helicopters to deal with underwater threats. When deployed with a carrier strike group or expeditionary strike group, destroyers and their fellow Aegis-equipped cruisers are primarily tasked with defending the fleet while providing secondary strike capabilities. With very few exceptions, destroyers are named after U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard heroes.[101]

Frigates and Littoral combat ships

USS Independence (LCS-2), a Littoral combat ship

Modern U.S. frigates mainly perform anti-submarine warfare for carrier and expeditionary strike groups and provide armed escort for supply convoys and merchant shipping. They are designed to protect friendly ships against hostile submarines in low to medium threat environments, using torpedoes and LAMPS helicopters. Independently, frigates are able to conduct counterdrug missions and other maritime interception operations. As in the case of destroyers, frigates are named after U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard heroes. As of autumn 2015, the U.S. Navy has retired its most recent class of frigates and expects that by 2020 the Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) will assume many of the duties the frigate had with the fleet.

The LCS is a class of relatively small surface vessels intended for operations in the littoral zone (close to shore). It was "envisioned to be a networked, agile, stealthy surface combatant capable of defeating anti-access and asymmetric threats in the littorals". They have the capabilities of a small assault transport, including a flight deck and hangar for housing two helicopters, a stern ramp for operating small boats, and the cargo volume and payload to deliver a small assault force with fighting vehicles to a roll-on/roll-off port facility. The ship is easy to reconfigure for different roles, including anti-submarine warfare, mine countermeasures, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, homeland defense, maritime intercept, special operations, and logistics, all by swapping mission-specific modules as needed.

The LCS program is still relatively new as of 2018 with only ten active ships, but the navy has announced plans for up to 32 ships. The navy has announced that a further 20 vessels to be built after that will be redesignated as 'frigates'.[104]

A special case is the USS Constitution, commissioned in 1797 as one of the original six frigates of the United States Navy, and which remains in commission at the Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston. She serves as a tribute to the heritage of the Navy, and occasionally sails for commemorative events such as Independence Day and various victories during the War of 1812. Constitution is currently the oldest commissioned warship afloat (HMS Victory, though older and also in common, is in permanent drydock).

Mine countermeasures ships

USS Warrior (MCM-10) in port

Mine countermeasures vessels are a combination of minehunters, a naval vessel that actively detects and destroys individual naval mines, and minesweepers, which clear mined areas as a whole, without prior detection of the mines. The navy has approximately a dozen of these in active service, but the mine countermeasure (MCM) role is also being assumed by the incoming classes of littoral combat ships. MCM vessels have mostly legacy names of previous US Navy ships, especially WWII-era minesweepers.

Patrol boats

USS Typhoon (PC-5) departing Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek in Virginia

A patrol boat is a relatively small naval vessel generally designed for coastal defense duties. There have been many designs for patrol boats, though the navy currently has only a single class. They may be operated by a nation's navy or coast guard, and may be intended for marine ("blue water") or estuarine or river ("brown water") environments. The Navy has approximately a dozen in active service, which are mainly used in the littoral regions of the Persian Gulf, but have also been used for home port patrols and drug interdiction missions. The navy's current class of patrol boats have names based on weather phenomena.

Submarines

All current and planned U.S. Navy submarines are nuclear-powered, as only nuclear propulsion allows for the combination of stealth and long duration, high-speed sustained underwater movement that makes modern nuclear submarines quite vital to a modern blue-water navy. The U.S. Navy operates three types: ballistic missile submarines, guided missile submarines, and attack submarines. U.S. Navy (nuclear) ballistic missile submarines carry the stealthiest leg of the U.S. strategic triad (the other legs are the land-based U.S. strategic missile force and the air-based U.S. strategic bomber force). These submarines have only one mission: to carry and, if called upon, to launch the Trident nuclear missile. The primary missions of attack and guided missile submarines in the U.S. Navy are peacetime engagement, surveillance and intelligence, special operations, precision strikes, and control of the seas.[105] To these, attack submarines also add the battlegroup operations mission. Attack and guided missile submarines have several tactical missions, including sinking ships and other subs, launching cruise missiles, gathering intelligence, and assisting in special operations.

As with other classes of naval vessels, most U.S. submarines (or "boats") are named according to specific conventions. The boats of the current U.S. ballistic missile submarine class, Ohio class, are named after U.S. states. As the four current U.S. guided missile submarines are converted Ohio-class boats, they have retained their U.S. state names. The members of the oldest currently-commissioned attack submarine class, the Los Angeles class, are typically named for cities. The follow-onSeawolf class' three submarines—Seawolf, Connecticut and Jimmy Carter—share no consistent naming scheme. With the current Virginia-class attack submarines, the U.S. Navy has extended the Ohio class' state-based naming scheme to these submarines. Attack submarines prior to the Los Angeles class were named for denizens of the deep, while pre-Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines were named for famous Americans and foreigners with notable connections to the United States.

Aircraft

Four Navy F/A-18F Super Hornets

Carrier-based aircraft are able to strike air, sea, and land targets far from a carrier strike group while protecting friendly forces from enemy aircraft, ships, and submarines. In peacetime, aircraft's ability to project the threat of sustained attack from a mobile platform on the seas gives United States leaders significant diplomatic and crisis-management options. Aircraft additionally provide logistics support to maintain the navy's readiness and, through helicopters, supply platforms with which to conduct search and rescue, special operations, anti-submarine warfare (ASW), and anti-surface warfare (ASuW), including the U.S. Navy's premier Maritime Strike and only organic ASW aircraft, the venerable Sikorsky MH-60R operated by Helicopter Maritime Strike Wing.

U.S. Navy MH-60R maritime strike helicopter assigned to the HSM-78 Blue Hawks aboard the carrier USS Carl Vinson

The U.S. Navy began to research the use of aircraft at sea in the 1910s, with Lieutenant Theodore G. "Spuds" Ellyson becoming the first naval aviator on 28 January 1911, and commissioned its first aircraft carrier, USS Langley (CV-1), in 1922.[106] United States naval aviation fully came of age in World War II, when it became clear following the Attack on Pearl Harbor, the Battle of the Coral Sea, and the Battle of Midway that aircraft carriers and the planes that they carried had replaced the battleship as the greatest weapon on the seas. Leading navy aircraft in World War II included the Grumman F4F Wildcat, the Grumman F6F Hellcat, the Chance Vought F4U Corsair, the Douglas SBD Dauntless, and the Grumman TBF Avenger. Navy aircraft also played a significant role in conflicts during the following Cold War years, with the F-4 Phantom II and the F-14 Tomcat becoming military icons of the era. The navy's current primary fighter-attack airplane is the multi-mission F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. The F-35C entered service in 2019.[107][108] The Navy is also looking to eventually replace its F/A-18E/F Super Hornets with the F/A-XX program.

The Aircraft Investment Plan sees naval aviation growing from 30 percent of current aviation forces to half of all procurement funding over the next three decades.[109]

Weapons

Current U.S. Navy shipboard weapons systems are almost entirely focused on missiles, both as a weapon and as a threat. In an offensive role, missiles are intended to strike targets at long distances with accuracy and precision. Because they are unmanned weapons, missiles allow for attacks on heavily defended targets without risk to human pilots. Land strikes are the domain of the BGM-109 Tomahawk, which was first deployed in the 1980s and is continually being updated to increase its capabilities. For anti-ship strikes, the navy's dedicated missile is the Harpoon Missile. To defend against enemy missile attack, the navy operates a number of systems that are all coordinated by the Aegis combat system. Medium-long range defense is provided by the Standard Missile 2, which has been deployed since the 1980s. The Standard missile doubles as the primary shipboard anti-aircraft weapon and is undergoing development for use in theater ballistic missile defense. Short range defense against missiles is provided by the Phalanx CIWS and the more recently developed RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile. In addition to missiles, the navy employs Mark 46 and Mark 50 torpedoes and various types of naval mines.

Aviation Ordnancemen loading GBU-12 bombs in 2005

Naval fixed-wing aircraft employ much of the same weapons as the United States Air Force for both air-to-air and air-to-surface combat. Air engagements are handled by the heat-seeking Sidewinder and the radar guided AMRAAM missiles along with the M61 Vulcan cannon for close range dogfighting. For surface strikes, navy aircraft utilize a combination of missiles, smart bombs, and dumb bombs. On the list of available missiles are the Maverick, SLAM-ER and JSOW. Smart bombs include the GPS-guided JDAM and the laser-guided Paveway series. Unguided munitions such as dumb bombs and cluster bombs make up the rest of the weapons deployed by fixed-wing aircraft.

Rotary aircraft weapons are focused on anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and light to medium surface engagements. To combat submarines, helicopters use Mark 46 and Mark 50 torpedoes. Against small watercraft, they utilize Hellfire and Penguin air to surface missiles. Helicopters also employ various types of mounted anti-personnel machine guns, including the M60, M240, GAU-16/A, and GAU-17/A.

Nuclear weapons in the U.S. Navy arsenal are deployed through ballistic missile submarines and aircraft. The Ohio-class submarine carries the latest iteration of the Trident missile, a three-stage, submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) with MIRV capability; the current Trident II (D5) version is expected to be in service past 2020.[110] The navy's other nuclear weapon is the air-deployed B61 nuclear bomb. The B61 is a thermonuclear device that can be dropped by strike aircraft such as the F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet at high speed from a large range of altitudes. It can be released through free-fall or parachute and can be set to detonate in the air or on the ground.

Naval jack

U.S. naval jack
First navy jack

The current naval jack of the United States is the Union Jack, a small blue flag emblazoned with the stars of the 50 states. The Union Jack was not flown for the duration of the War on Terror, during which Secretary of the Navy Gordon R. England directed all U.S. naval ships to fly the First Navy Jack. While Secretary England directed the change on 31 May 2002, many ships chose to shift colors later that year in remembrance of the first anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks. The Union Jack, however, remained in use with vessels of the U.S. Coast Guard and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. A jack of similar design to the Union Jack was used in 1794, with 13 stars arranged in a 3–2–3–2–3 pattern. When a ship is moored or anchored, the jack is flown from the bow of the ship while the ensign is flown from the stern. When underway, the ensign is raised on the mainmast. Before the decision for all ships to fly the First Navy Jack, it was flown only on the oldest ship in the active American fleet, which is currently USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19). U.S. Navy ships and craft returned to flying the Union Jack effective 4 June 2019. The date for reintroduction of the jack commemorates the Battle of Midway, which began on 4 June 1942.[111]

Notable sailors

Many past and present United States historical figures have served in the U.S. Navy.

Officers

Notable officers include John P. Jones, John Barry (Continental Navy officer and first flag officer of the United States Navy),[112] Edward Preble, James Lawrence (whose last words "don't give up the ship" are memorialized in Bancroft Hall at the United States Naval Academy,) Stephen Decatur Jr., David Farragut, David D. Porter, Oliver H. Perry, Commodore Matthew Perry (who, under the direction of President Millard Fillmore, forced the opening of Japan[113]), George Dewey (the only person in U.S. history to have attained the rank of Admiral of the Navy), and the officers who attained the highest rank of Fleet Admiral during World War II: William D. Leahy, Ernest J. King, Chester W. Nimitz, and William F. Halsey Jr.

Presidents

The first American President who served in the U.S. Navy was John F. Kennedy (who commanded the famous PT-109 in World War II); he was then followed by Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H. W. Bush.

Government officials

Some notable former members of the Navy include U.S. Senators, Bob Kerrey, John McCain, and John Kerry, along with Ron DeSantis, Governor of Florida, and Jesse Ventura, Governor of Minnesota.

Others

Notable former members of the U.S. Navy include; astronauts (Alan B. Shepard, Walter M. Schirra, Neil Armstrong, John Young, Michael J. Smith, Scott Kelly), entertainers (Johnny Carson, Mike Douglas, Paul Newman, Robert Stack, Humphrey Bogart, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, Don Rickles, Ernest Borgnine, Harry Belafonte, Henry Fonda, Fred Gwynne), authors (Robert Heinlein, Brandon Webb, Marcus Luttrell), musicians, (John Philip Sousa, MC Hammer, John Coltrane, Fred Durst), professional athletes (David Robinson, Bill Sharman, Roger Staubach, Joe Bellino, Alejandro Villanueva, Bob Kuberski, Nile Kinnick, Bob Feller, Yogi Berra, Larry Doby, Stan Musial, Pee Wee Reese, Phil Rizzuto, Jack Taylor), business people (John S. Barry, Jack C. Taylor, Paul A. Sperry), and computer scientists (Grace Hopper).

See also

Notes

References

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The Flag of the United States Navy, as defined in s:Executive Order 10812 of April 24, 1959. The design is described there as:

The flag for the United States Navy is 4 feet 4 inches hoist by 5 feet 6 inches fly, of dark blue material, with yellow fringe, 2½ inches wide. In the center of the flag is a device 3 feet and 1 inch overall consisting of the inner pictorial portion of the seal of the Department of the Navy (with the exception that a continuation of the sea has been substituted for the land area), in its proper colors within a circular yellow rope edging, all 2 feet 6 inches in diameter above a yellow scroll inscribed "UNITED STATES NAVY" in dark blue letters.

The U.S. Navy flag is used for display purposes at ceremonies, parades, and other public functions where the U.S. Navy has an official presence, usually being carried by an honor guard on ceremonial occasions. It is not used for outdoor, fixed (permanent) purposes, and is not flown on Navy ships. Versions without fringe and different dimensions seem to be common, though it appears they are not technically the official U.S. Navy flag, as the executive order has not been amended.

Prior to 1959, the Navy Infantry Battalion flag was used to represent the U.S. Navy.

For more information, see the Navy's flag history page, SeaFlags, Flags of the World, U.S. Navy document NTP 13(B) [1], section 1710, and Navy regulation OPNAVINST 10520.1 (which replaced a similar SECNAVINST 10520.2D regulation from 1974).
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A generic U.S. World War II tank, a derivate of Image:TM-9-374-T25E1-1.jpg, background removed (transparent), hue set to steel blue, reduced size and colors.
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The flag of Slovenia.
"The construction sheet for the coat of arms and flag of the Republic of Slovenia
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Flag of the United Kingdom, Union Jack or Union Flag in a 1:2 ratio (typical on British warships and also the rank flag of an admiral of the fleet).
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An ordnanceman of U.S. Marine Corps fighter-bomber squadron VMFA-451 Warlords checks an AIM-9L Sidewinder air-to-air missile on the wing of a McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A Hornet aircraft prior to its launch from the aircraft carrier USS Coral Sea (CV-43) in 1989. VMFA-451 was assigned to Carrier Air Wing 13 (CVW-13) for Coral Sea’s last deployment from 31 May to 30 September 1989 to the Mediterranean Sea.
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United States Navy Chief Warrant Officer 4 insignia
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The seal of the United States Defense Threat Reduction Agency. The three arrows, adapted from the seal of the Department of Defense, represent the Departments of the Army, Navy, and the Air Force; they appear in parallel symbolizing unity and direction. For more information on the seal, see here.
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US Navy Master Chief Petty Officer shoulder patch rate insignia (good conduct variation)
US Navy 100913-N-4973M-012 Lt. j.g. Craig Mueller, from St. Louis, Mo., and Lt. j.g. Zach Decker, from Boulder, Co., monitor the defense systems ab.jpg
PACIFIC OCEAN (Sept. 13, 2010) Lt. j.g. Craig Mueller, from St. Louis, Mo., and Lt. j.g. Zach Decker, from Boulder, Co., monitor the defense systems aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) during exercises off the coast of Southern California. The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group is conducting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brian Morales/Released)
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U.S. Navy Staff Corps, Law Community device
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The Surface Warfare Officer Insignia. A gold embroidered or gold metal pin with the bow and superstructure of a modern naval warship superimposed over two crossed naval swords on a background of ocean swells.
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United States Navy Medical Supply Corps insignia
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The logo of United States Space Command – unified command of the US Department of Defense
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Map of the United States Navy bases.
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The official seal of United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM). From Crest & Heraldry:
The eagle symbolizes our great nation and our alertness, ready to defend our homeland. The olive branch symbolizes peace. The group of 13 arrows symbolizes war and represents the first 13 states. The eagle's head is turned toward the olive branch, indicating our desire for peace.
The shield symbolizes a warrior's primary piece of defensive equipment. The 13 alternating red and white bars on the shield represent the 13 original colonies. The chief, in blue, holds 13 six-pointed stars, a reference to the six-pointed design from General George Washington's personal flag.
A depiction of Northern Command's area of responsibility (AOR) is in the background, shielded by the eagle. On the AOR are three stars, a remembrance of each of the sites of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. The stars are gold, a symbol of those who lost their lives. The gold star accorded the rightful honor and glory to the person for his offering of supreme sacrifice for his country.
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Flag of the United States Vice Chief of Naval Operations. It is a variation on the Chief of Naval Operations flag. It is defined in naval regulations, document NTP 13(B) [1] section 1811, as:

The personal flag of the Vice Chief of Naval Operations consists of a blue and white rectangular background divided diagonally from the lower hoist to upper fly and again diagonally from the upper hoist to lower fly, the upper and lower sections white and the horizontal sections blue. In the center of the flag appears an adaption of the center of the official seal of the Chief of Naval Operations, consisting of an eagle clutching an anchor, all in proper colors, encircled by fifty links of gold chain. Directly above and below, and to each side of the circular center design at the four cardinal compass points, is a 5-point star with one point upward. On the blue field the two stars are white and on the white field the other two stars are blue. For indoor flags a yellow fringe is added.
For more information, see SeaFlags.
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Seal of the United States Department of Homeland Security. A graphically styled American eagle appears in a circular blue field. The eagle's outstretched wings break through an inner red ring into an outer white ring that contains a circular placement of the words "U.S. DEPARTMENT OF" in the top half and "HOMELAND SECURITY" in the bottom half. The outer white ring has a silvery gray border. As in The Great Seal, the eagle’s left claw holds an olive branch with 13 leaves and 13 seeds while the right claw grasps 13 arrows. Centered on the eagle's breast is a shield divided into three sections containing elements that represent the homeland "from sea to shining sea." The top element, a dark blue sky, contains 22 stars representing the original 22 agencies and bureaus that have come together to form the department. The left shield element contains white mountains behind a green plain underneath a light blue sky. The right shield element contains four wave shapes representing the oceans, lakes and waterways alternating light and dark blue separated by white lines.
USN Jag-corp.gif
United States Navy JAG Corps collar insignia, United States Navy Data Specialty Insignia — Staff Corps
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Seal of the United States Transportation Command (TRANSCOM or USTRANSCOM). The seal or emblem was originally prepared and approved on June 26, 1987.
Submarine Officer badge.jpg
Submarine Officer badge
Streamer PUC Navy.PNG
Presidential Unit Citation (United States) (navy version)
US Navy O9 insignia.svg
Collar, shoulder, and sleeve rank insignia for a Vice Admiral in the United States Navy.
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Collar, shoulder, and sleeve rank insignia for a Lieutenant Commander in the United States Navy.
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United States Navy Warrant Officer 1 insignia
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The jack of the United States. From 1960 to 1975, 1977 to 2002, and from 2019 to the present, this flag was the naval jack as well.
USN Med-corp.gif
United States Navy Medical Corps collar insignia, United States Navy Data Specialty Insignia — Staff Corps
US Navy O6 insignia.svg
Collar, shoulder, and sleeve rank insignia for an unrestricted line Captain in the United States Navy.
US Navy O2 insignia.svg
Collar, shoulder, and sleeve rank insignia for a Lieutenant, Junior Grade in the United States Navy.
USN Chap-mus.gif
United States Navy Chaplain Corps (Muslim) collar insignia, United States Navy Data Specialty Insignia — Staff Corps
USS-Freedom-130222-N-DR144-174-crop.jpg
Crop of 130222-N-DR144-174. The littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) is underway conducting sea trials off the coast of Southern California. Freedom, the lead ship of the Freedom variant of LCS, is expected to deploy to Southeast Asia this spring.
Anchor, Constitution, and Eagle.svg
Anchor, Constitution, and Eagle.
USS Independence LCS-2 at pierce (cropped).jpg
The U.S. Navy littoral combat ship USS Independence (LCS-2) arrives at Mole Pier at Naval Air Station Key West, Florida (USA), on 29 March 2010. Independence was on the way to Norfolk, Virginia (USA), for commencement of initial testing and evaluation of the aluminum vessel before sailing to its homeport in San Diego, California (USA).
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Official Seal of the Defense Information Systems Agency
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US Navy Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy shoulder patch rate insignia
US Navy 030903-N-5024R-003 USS Port Royal (DDG 73) departed on deployment.jpg
Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (Sep. 3, 2003) -- USS Port Royal (CG 73) departed on deployment as part of Expeditionary Strike Group One (ESG-1). An ESG constitutes a new naval strike force designed to equip amphibious forces with added firepower and operational capabilities. The seven ships of ESG-1 include, USS Peleliu (LHA 5), USS Germantown (LSD 42), USS Jarrett (FFG 33), USS Ogden (LPD 5), USS Port Royal (CG 73), USS Decatur (DDG 73), and USS Greeneville (SSN 772), along with the Marines of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable). U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Johnnie R. Robbins. (RELEASED)
Seal of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency.svg
Seal of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).
Organization of U.S. Space Force.png
This image represents the placement of the United States Space Force in the greater Department of Defense
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Navy Unit Commendation streamer.
Seal of the United States Strategic Command.svg
USSTRATCOM emblem, converted to SVG at http://www.vectormagic.com/ and cleaned up in Inkscape.
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US Navy Seaman Apprentice (SA) shoulder patch rate insignia
Coat of arms of the Allied Maritime Command.svg
Coat of arms of the Allied Maritime Command
US Navy O8 insignia.svg
Collar, shoulder, and sleeve rank insignia for a Rear admiral (upper half) in the United States Navy.
CPO GC.svg
US Navy Chief Petty Officer shoulder patch rate insignia (good conduct variation)
US Navy O1 insignia.svg
Collar, shoulder, and sleeve rank insignia for an Ensign in the United States Navy.
Seal of the United States Africa Command.svg
Seal of the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM)
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United States Navy Chief Warrant Officer 5 insignia
USS Typhoon (PC-5).jpg
Port bow view showing Sailors manning the rails aboard the US Navy (USN) Cyclone Class, Coastal Defense Ship, USS TYPHOON (PC 5) as it get underway in the harbor at Little Creek Amphibious Base, Virginia (VA) for an 18 month deployment with the USS SIROCCO (PC 6). These ships will be forward deployed for 18 months while crews are swapped out every six months. This 'crew swap' initiative increases the Navy's forward presence by providing an extra 90 days of on-station time per vessel when the ships stay deployed for 18 months.
Location: LITTLE CREEK, VIRGINIA (VA) UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (USA)
Seal of the U.S. National Security Agency.svg
The seal of the U.S. National Security Agency. The first use was in September 1966, replacing an older seal which was used briefly. For more information, see here and here.
Flag of the United States Secretary of the Navy.svg
Flag of the United States Secretary of the Navy. It dates from at least 1865, and the version with four stars since at least 1867, remaining mostly unchanged since (though the anchor has gradually gotten bigger and been redesigned a bit). It is defined in naval regulations, document NTP 13(B) [1] section 1806, as:
The flag of the Secretary of the Navy shall consist of a rectangular blue field with a fouled white anchor in the center. Four white stars flank the anchor, two on each side, all with one point of each star upward. A gold fringe is authorized for use on the flag when it is displayed in a static, indoor position. The cord and tassels are of golden yellow.
For more information, see SeaFlags.
USS Kitty Hawk at Yokosuka.jpg
official description: 060525-N-8591H-358 Yokosuka, Japan (May 25, 2006)- USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) backs into the recently upgraded Pier 12 on board Naval Facilities Yokosuka following the completion of a 4-day Sea Trial cruise. The pier was upgraded to accommodate the nuclear aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73), scheduled to replace the Kitty Hawk in 2008. Kitty Hawk demonstrates power projection and sea control as the world's only permanently forward-deployed aircraft carrier, operating from Yokosuka, Japan. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 3rd Class Jarod Hodge (RELEASED)
US Navy O5 insignia.svg
Collar, shoulder, and sleeve rank insignia for a Commander in the United States Navy.
US-NationalGeospatialIntelligenceAgency-2008Seal.svg
New (2008) seal of the United States National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. This new version is the same as the previous version except it has a different inscription. For more information, see here.
AnchorsAweigh.ogg
An instrumental recording of Anchors Aweigh, the song of the United States Navy, played by a brass band.
INDOPACOM Emblem 2018.png
Official Seal of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command
USN Ce-corp.gif
United States Navy Data Specialty Insignia — Staff Corps
USSConstellationVsInsurgente.jpg
Scene depicting the action of 9 February 1799, when the USS Constellation (left), commanded by Captain Thomas Truxtun, captured the French frigate L'Insurgente (right).
Naval jack of the United States.svg
Current United States naval jack, used from 1960 to 1975, 1977 to 2002, and 2019 to the present.
US Navy 090210-N-9671T-144 A port security boat patrols the waters near Kuwait Naval Base.jpg
KUWAIT NAVAL BASE (Feb. 10, 2009) A port security boat assigned to Maritime Expeditionary Squadron (MSRON) 1 patrols the waters near Kuwait Naval Base. MSRON-1 is deployed supporting maritime security operations and port security operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.
Mark of the United States Army.svg
Service mark of the US Army
US Navy SEALs SEAL jumps over side boat.jpg
Official US Navy description [1] "A US Navy Sea-Air-Land (SEAL) team member enters the water from an inflatable boat while preparing for a stringline recovery operation. The raft is being towed by another boat." (DN-ST-88-02509)
Uss warrior.jpg
USS Warrior (MCM-10)
Seal of the United States Cyber Command.svg
Official seal for United States Cyber Command
USS Nimitz in Victoria Canada 036.jpg
USS Nimitz (CVN-68), a US Navy aircraft carrier. Photo is from after her 1999-2001 refit.
BM3 NOGC.svg
US Navy Petty Officer Third Class shoulder patch rate insignia
Future USS Zumwalt's first underway at sea.jpg
151207-N-ZZ999-435 ATLANTIC OCEAN (Dec. 7, 2015) The future USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) is underway for the first time conducting at-sea tests and trials in the Atlantic Ocean Dec. 7, 2015. The multimission ship will provide independent forward presence and deterrence, support special operations forces, and operate as an integral part of joint and combined expeditionary forces. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of General Dynamics Bath Iron Works/Released)
Official CENTCOM Seal.png
The Official CENTCOM Seal
US Navy CW3 insignia.svg
United States Navy Chief Warrant Officer 3 insignia
Flag of the United States Chief of Naval Operations.svg

Flag of the United States Chief of Naval Operations. The position was created in 1915, but the flag just dates from 1964. It is defined in naval regulations, document NTP 13(B) [1] section 1810, as:

The personal flag of the Chief of Naval Operations consists of a blue and white rectangular background divided diagonally from lower hoist to upper fly, blue above and white below. In the center of the flag appears an adaption of the center of the official seal of the Chief of Naval Operations, consisting of an eagle clutching an anchor, all in proper colors, encircled by fifty links of gold chain. Directly above, below and to each side of the circular center design is a 5-point star with one point upward. On the blue field the two stars are white and on the white field the two stars are blue. A gold fringe is authorized for use with the flag when it is displayed in a static indoor position. The cord and tassels are of golden yellow.
For more information, see SeaFlags.
US Navy SEALs at Zhawar Kili cave entrance.jpg
020114-N-8242C-010 During a Sensitive Site Exploitation (SSE) mission, U.S. Navy SEALs (SEa, Air, Land) explore the entrance to one of 70 caves they discovered in Zhawar Kili area. Used by Al Qaeda and Taliban forces, the caves and other above-ground complexes were subsequently destroyed either by Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) personnel or through air strikes called in by the SEALs. Navy special operations forces are conducting missions in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Credit photo to Official U.S. Navy photo. FOR THIS PHOTO DO NOT CREDIT PHOTOGRAPHER. Photo cleared for public release by LCDR Darryn James, USN, Naval Special Warfare Command, Public Affairs Officer.
SCPO GC.svg
US Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer shoulder patch rate insignia (good conduct variation)
Emblem of the United States Navy.svg
Official emblem of the U.S. Navy.
US Navy 040730-N-1234E-002 PCU Virginia (SSN 774) returns to the General Dynamics Electric Boat shipyard.jpg
Groton, Conn. (July 30, 2004) - The nation’s newest and most advanced nuclear-powered attack submarine and the lead ship of its class, PCU Virginia (SSN 774) returns to the General Dynamics Electric Boat shipyard following the successful completion of its first voyage in open seas called "alpha" sea trials. Virginia is the Navy’s only major combatant ready to join the fleet that was designed with the post-Cold War security environment in mind and embodies the war fighting and operational capabilities required to dominate the littorals while maintaining undersea dominance in the open ocean. Virginia and the rest of the ships of its class are designed specifically to incorporate emergent technologies that will provide new capabilities to meet new threats. Virginia will be delivered to the U.S. Navy this fall. U.S. Navy photo by General Dynamics Electric Boat (RELEASED)
US Navy O11 insignia.svg
Collar, shoulder, and sleeve rank insignia for a Fleet Admiral in the United States Navy.
US Navy O7 insignia.svg
Collar, shoulder, and sleeve rank insignia for a Rear admiral (lower half) in the United States Navy.
Officer, Union Army (6169770467).jpg
Author/Creator: SMU Central University Libraries, Licence: No restrictions
Title: [Officer, Union Army]

Creator: Gardner, Alexander, 1821-1882
Date: 1861-1865
Part Of: http://digitalcollections.smu.edu/cdm/search/searchterm/Alexander Gardner cartes de visite and portraits
Place: Washington, D.C.
Physical Description: 1 photographic print on carte de visite mount: albumen; 10 x 6 cm.
File: ag2005_0004_08c_officer_opt.jpg
Rights: Please cite DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University when using this file. A high-resolution version of this file may be obtained for a fee. For details see the https://sites.smu.edu/cul/degolyer/research/permissions/ web page. For other information, contact degolyer@smu.edu.
For more information and to view the image in high resolution, see: http://digitalcollections.smu.edu/cdm/ref/collection/civ/id/292

View the Civil War: http://digitalcollections.smu.edu/all/cul/civ/
BM2 NOGC.svg
US Navy Petty Officer Second Class shoulder patch rate insignia
USN Chapchr.gif
United States Navy Chaplain Corps (Christian) collar insignia, United States Navy Data Specialty Insignia — Staff Corps
FMCPO.svg
US Navy Fleet/Force Master Chief Petty Officer (FLTCM/FORCM) shoulder patch rate insignia
Seal of the United States Space Force.svg
Seal of the United States Space Force.
US Navy organization.svg
(c) Arcimpulse at the English Wikipedia project, CC-BY-SA-3.0
Simplified flow chart of the United States Navy's organizational hierarchy.
US Navy CW2 insignia.svg
United States Navy Chief Warrant Officer 2 insignia
USN Nurse.gif
United States Navy Nurse Corps collar insignia, United States Navy Data Specialty Insignia — Staff Corps]
US Navy 030527-N-0000X-001 The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) pier side in Apra Harbor, Guam.jpg
Apra Harbor, Guam (May 27, 2003) -- The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) pier side in Apra Harbor, Guam. Vinson is resurfacing a significant portion of the flight deck through the locally contracted shipyard. The normal lifetime of the nonskid surface is 10,000 arrested landings and a normal cruise sees 9,000 to 10,000 traps. The Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group has been extended on deployment in the Western Pacific while, Kitty Hawk is conducting scheduled maintenance at her forward-deployed operating location in Yokosuka, Japan. U.S. Navy photo. (RELEASED)
USS George Washington (SSBN-598).jpg
The U.S. Navy ballistic missile submarine USS George Washington (SSBN-598) underway, circa in the 1970s.
USN Chap-jew.gif
United States Navy Jewish Chaplain collar insignia, United States Navy Data Specialty Insignia — Staff Corps]
USN Line Officer.png
U.S. Navy Line Officer device
Blue Hawk 700 aboard USS Carl Vinson.jpg
180724-N-GD109-0062PACIFIC OCEAN (July 24, 2018) Sailors prepare an MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to the“Blue Hawks” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 78 for take off aboard Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Z.A. Landers/Released)
Emblem of the United States Marine Corps.svg
Emblem of the United States Marine Corps. This differs from the official seal in the inscription.
USN Dental.gif
United States Navy Dental Corps collar insignia, United States Navy Data Specialty Insignia — Staff Corps
Flickr - Official U.S. Navy Imagery - U.S. Coast Guard helicopters land aboard USS Wasp..jpg

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Nov. 2, 2012) A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter prepares to land on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1). For prudent planning, the Navy has begun to preposition Wasp, USS San Antonio (LPD 17) and USS Carter Hall (LSD 50) for primary assistance in the affected North East region if required by FEMA following the devastation brought on by Hurricane Sandy. San Antonio and Carter Hall got underway Oct. 31 from Norfolk, Va., and began transiting north to the affected areas on Nov. 1. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Markus Castaneda/Released) 121102-N-WI365-326 Join the conversation www.facebook.com/USNavy www.twitter.com/USNavy

navylive.dodlive.mil
US Navy O10 insignia.svg
Collar, shoulder, and sleeve rank insignia for an Admiral in the United States Navy.
Naval jack of the United States (2002–2019).svg
Naval jack of the United States from September 11, 2002 to June 4, 2019; designed in the late 19th century. The flag consists of a rattlesnake superimposed across 13 alternating red and white stripes with the motto, "Don't Tread On Me" (without apostrophe).

First Navy Jack of the United States as (supposedly) used by the Continental Navy from October 13, 1775 through December 31, 1776. In 1980, the Secretary of the Navy directed the commissioned ship in active status having the longest total period in active status to display the rattlesnake jack in place of the union jack until decommissioned or transferred to inactive status. Since September 11, 2002, the flag has been flown by the United States Navy for the duration of the "Global War on Terrorism."

This image is based on an image at the World Flag Database, with the color Red from Image:Flag of the United States.svg.

For the previous and current 50-star flag (still used as a "government jack" in some cases), see File:US Naval Jack.svg.
Logo of the United States Navy.svg
Logo of the United States Navy
Puck cover2.jpg
Cover of Puck magazine, 6 April 1901. "Columbia's Easter bonnet / Ehrhart after sketch by Dalrymple."
Seal of the United States Department of the Navy.svg
*Description: On a circular background of fair sky and moderate sea with land in sinister base, a tri-mast square rigged ship under way before a fair breeze with after top-sail furled, commission pennant atop the foremast, National Ensign atop the main, and the commodore's flag atop the mizzen. In front of the ship a luce-type anchor inclined slightly bendwise with the crown resting on the land and, in front of the shank and in back of the dexter fluke, an American bald eagle rising to sinister regarding to dexter, one foot on the ground, the other resting on the anchor near the shank; all in proper colors. The whole within a blue annulet bearing the inscription "Department of the Navy" at the top and "United States of America" at the bottom, separated on each side by a mullet and within a rim in the form of a rope; inscription, rope, mullet, and edges of annulet all gold. *Background: The policy for use of the Navy seal and emblem is contained in SECNAV Instr 5030.4 and SECNAV Instr 5030.6. The seal design was approved by the President of the United States by Executive Order 10736 dated October 23, 1957. Request for use of the Navy emblem should be submitted in writing to Defense Printing Service, ATTN: DPSMO, 8725 John Kingman Rd Suite 3239, Fort Belvoir, VA 22060-6220. The telephone number is (703) 767-4218. 1879 version here: http://etc.usf.edu/clipart/54900/54985/54985_seal_navy.htm
US Navy 050112-N-5345W-074 Aviation Ordnancemen prepare to load 500-pound laser guided bombs (GBU-12) onto weapon pylons under an F-14B Tomcat.jpg
Persian Gulf (Jan. 12, 2005) – Aviation Ordnancemen, assigned to the "Swordsmen" of Fighter Squadron 32 (VF-32), prepare to load 500-pound laser guided bombs (GBU-12) onto weapon pylons under an F-14B Tomcat during combat mission preparations aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier and her embarked Carrier Air Wing Three (CVW-3) are providing close air support and conducting intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions over Iraq. The Truman Carrier Strike Group is on a regularly scheduled deployment in support of the Global War on Terrorism.
United States Navy Supply Corps insignia.gif
United States Navy Supply Corps insignia
USS America (LHA-6) F-35B loaded.jpg
USS America (LHA-6) F-35B loaded
USN Fleets (2009).png
US navy fleets areas of responsibility (SVG file error)
E3 SM USN.png
US Navy Seaman (SN) shoulder patch rate insignia
US-CentralSecurityService-Seal.svg
Seal of the United States Central Security Service, part of the National Security Agency. The seal dates from 1996. The five-pointed gold mullet is a symbol of ideologies representing the services' common beliefs. Between each point of the mullet is a symbol of the four cryptologic service elements and the American eagle as blazoned on the NSA emblem. The emblems appear in the following order from the upper right: United States Marine Corps; Army Intelligence and Security Command; National Security Agency; Air Intelligence Agency; and the Naval Security Group. Each are equally balanced around a five point star on which is centered the symbol of NSA/CSS, who "provides the funding, direction, and guidance to all of America's SIGINT activities". For more information, see here. The blue background of the CSS emblem represents fidelity and steadfastness.
Flag of the United States Navy.svg
The Flag of the United States Navy, as defined in s:Executive Order 10812 of April 24, 1959. The design is described there as:

The flag for the United States Navy is 4 feet 4 inches hoist by 5 feet 6 inches fly, of dark blue material, with yellow fringe, 2½ inches wide. In the center of the flag is a device 3 feet and 1 inch overall consisting of the inner pictorial portion of the seal of the Department of the Navy (with the exception that a continuation of the sea has been substituted for the land area), in its proper colors within a circular yellow rope edging, all 2 feet 6 inches in diameter above a yellow scroll inscribed "UNITED STATES NAVY" in dark blue letters.

The U.S. Navy flag is used for display purposes at ceremonies, parades, and other public functions where the U.S. Navy has an official presence, usually being carried by an honor guard on ceremonial occasions. It is not used for outdoor, fixed (permanent) purposes, and is not flown on Navy ships. Versions without fringe and different dimensions seem to be common, though it appears they are not technically the official U.S. Navy flag, as the executive order has not been amended.

Prior to 1959, the Navy Infantry Battalion flag was used to represent the U.S. Navy.

For more information, see the Navy's flag history page, SeaFlags, Flags of the World, U.S. Navy document NTP 13(B) [1], section 1710, and Navy regulation OPNAVINST 10520.1 (which replaced a similar SECNAVINST 10520.2D regulation from 1974).
BM1 NOGC.svg
US Navy Petty Officer First Class shoulder patch rate insignia
US Navy O3 insignia.svg
Collar, shoulder, and sleeve rank insignia for a Lieutenant in the United States Navy.
USEUCOM.svg
United States European Command emblem
USN - Chaplian Insignia - Buddhist 2.jpg
The corps device for Buddhist Chaplains is the dharmachakra, which translates to "Dharma Wheel." It was created by The Institute of Heraldry in 1990 and first used in the Navy in 2004 with the commissioning of the service's first Buddhist Chaplain. Image was extracted from U.S. Navy Uniform Regulations, Chapter 4, Rank and Rate Insignia.
US Navy 120209-N-XD935-302 Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Shane Tuck, assigned to the Expeditionary Combat Camera Underwater Photo Team, c.jpg
GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba (Feb. 9, 2012) Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Shane Tuck, assigned to the Expeditionary Combat Camera Underwater Photo Team, conducts underwater photography training off the coast of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The team conducts semi-annual training to hone its divers' specialized skill set and ensure valuable support of Department of Defense activities worldwide. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jayme Pastoric/Released)
CMCPO.svg
US Navy Command Master Chief Petty Officer (CMDCM) shoulder patch rate insignia
USNavyCommissionPennant.svg

The current U.S. Navy commission pennant, flown day and night aboard U.S. Navy ships under commission. It can be displaced only by admiral or other personal command flags, per Navy regulations.

Today, these are relatively small (the larger version is 2.5 inches tall and six feet long, depicted here). In the days of sail, they could be up to 100 feet long, and even in 1912, the largest version was 70 feet long. These larger versions had 13 stars instead of 7. The current maximum size dates from 1933. For more information, see here, here, and Navy document NTP 13(B), particularly section 1705.
USS Kentucky (SSBN-737).jpg
USS Kentucky (SSBN-737)
USS Bataan (LHD-5);10080504.jpg
At sea with USS Bataan (LHD-5) Jul. 17, 1999 — The amphibious assault ship Bataan conducts training operations in the Atlantic Ocean in preparation for an upcoming maiden deployment.
New Mexico class battleship bombarding Okinawa.jpg
USS Idaho (BB-42), a New Mexico-class battleship shells Okinawa on 1 April 1945, easily distinguished by her tower foremast & 5”-38 Mk 30 single turrets (visible between the barrels of the forward main turrets). Idaho was the only battleship with this configuration.
Seal of the Defense Logistics Agency.png
Seal of the Defense Logistics Agency
Four Super Hornets.jpg
F/A-18 Super Hornets assigned to the “Black Aces” of Strike Fighter Squadron Forty One (VFA-41) fly over the Western Pacific Ocean in a stack formation. The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group and Carrier Air Wing Eleven (CVW-11) are deployed to the Western Pacific.