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The Navy is Born

Short bits of history you know and some you may not!

The US Navy as of its 1794 founding turns 227 this week! Based off its roots as the Continental Navy it turns 246!

  • OEF Losses: Wednesday, October 10, 2001 – The first US death during Operation Enduring Freedom. US Air Force Master Sergeant Evander Andrews would die in a forklift accident while constructing an airfield in Qatar. In total over 2,200 US Service Members died during the duration of Operation Enduring Freedom.
  • A First of Many: Thursday, October 11, 1951 – During the Korean War the USMC would officially put helicopters to the test. After many months of small scale lifts using transport helicopters to get troops to the front lines 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines would commence Operation Bumblebee. The plan was, for the first time ever, to move an entire Marine rifle battalion to the front lines during daylight hours. Marine leadership planned the lift like an amphibious landing and planned the load outs of helicopters in great detail. At 1000 a total of 12 Sikorsky H-19 Chickasaw helicopters would begin transporting 958 Marines and 11 tons of supplies. Each flight covered 15 miles to the objective, each helicopter flying in about 30 second intervals. The operation to get all the Marines to their landing zone would take just over 6 hours and a total of 156 individual flights. The operation was a complete success and paved the way for future operations where entire combat forces would be delivered to combat zones by helicopter.
  • The Navy is Born: Friday, October 13, 1775 – On this day the Continental Congress authorized the purchase of two vessels to be armed for a cruise against British merchantmen. With this action the Continental Navy, later the US Navy, was officially born. Initially the Continental Navy achieved mixed results. There were a number of significant engagements against British warships and merchantmen, but to the loss of some 24 Continental ships. At one point the Continental Navy was reduced to only two active ships due to losses. At the end of the Revolutionary War Congress would sell the Alliance, the only remaining ship of the Continental Navy due to lack of funds needed to keep the Navy maintained and supported. For nearly a decade the US would not have a navy, with the predecessor to the Coast Guard, the U.S. Revenue Marine providing the sole maritime force for the US. The Naval Act of 1794 would officially bring the US Navy into existence, with six frigates being ordered by Congress to form a standing Navy. Currently the US Navy is made of of nearly 337,000 active personnel, and over 400 total ships between the active and reserve fleet.

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