What is now the United States Navy was born on this day, October 13th, in 1775. The Continental Congress organized a group of privateers to put a bee in the bonnet of the British trade ships en route to the colonies, no doubt sinking a few loads of tea long before it reached the Boston harbor.
This rag-tag group of freedom fighters decided to join together and call themselves a country, founding the United States of America about a year later. That original naval force was disbanded and sold off by the young cash-strapped nation two years after the end of the war. Like when you first move away from home, get a job, and realize you should sell your guitar because you just aren’t using it anymore.
But, sometimes you just gotta say Frigate! And they did, about 16 years later, reinstating the United States Navy in 1794 to protect their growing trade interests. So, technically, the current Navy was born in Congress on April 30th of that year. However, that’s actually the third choice to celebrate the Navy’s birthday.
Since 1922, Navy Day has been celebrated on October 27th, chosen to correspond with the birthday of Theodore Roosevelt, a significant force in building up the strength of the Navy. But that came to an end in 1972, opting instead for the original 1775 birthday.
One theory suggests the change was the result of a little one-upsmanship. The Marines Corps was authorized by Congress about one year after the US Navy, however, the Marines decided to officially change their birthday to that of the original Continental Marines; November 10th, 1775 which would have made them the oldest of the armed forces.
The Navy was having none of that, and soon officially changed their birthday to the original Continental Navy, predating the Marines by one month. I suppose when you are the world’s largest military force a dozen times over you have to keep yourself entertained somehow!
- Source: Military.com – Navy Birthday
- Source: Old Salt Blog – Happy Birthday US Navy, not to be confused with…