5 Things You Didn't Know About The U.S. Navy

On March 27, 1794, President George Washington and Congress authorized the creation of the U.S. Navy. Here are 5 facts you probably did not know about America’s maritime branch of the military...


The Navy produced six future presidents during World War II. No president had ever served in the Navy until World War II, when it suddenly turned into a near prerequisite for reaching the White House. John F. Kennedy commanded a motor torpedo boat that was run over by a Japanese destroyer in the Solomon Islands; Lyndon B. Johnson was briefly stationed in New Zealand and Australia despite being a sitting member of Congress; Richard Nixon supervised air cargo operations; Gerald Ford served as an aircraft carrier’s assistant navigator and was nearly swept overboard in a typhoon; Jimmy Carter attended the Naval Academy (and became a submariner after the war); and George H.W. Bush flew 58 combat missions, including one in which he was shot down over the Pacific. In fact, from 1961 to 1993, the only non-Navy man to become president was Ronald Reagan.

David Farragut Was the Navy’s First Admiral David Farragut became famous for his quote, “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” Admiral David Farragut entered the U.S. Navy at age 9 and just two years later served in the War of 1812. By the time he was 12, he had risen to the rank of prize master, the officer in charge of captured ships. By the age of 20 he was already an accomplished ship’s officer. Farragut was promoted to Vice-Admiral by President Abraham Lincoln and was made the Navy’s first admiral following the Civil War.


The Secretary of the Navy Names The Ships The Secretary of the Navy has been naming the government’s ships since about 1819, and the names are usually chosen from naval history, retirees, sailors and notable members of the public. An interesting bit of trivia is that the ships named after individuals are christened by the individual's oldest female descendent. Only ships commissioned after 1907 use the prefix USS (which stands for "United States Ship") when it was formalized by President Theodore Roosevelt.

There Are Only 17 Officers in The Blue Angels Each Year Think you've got what it takes to fly with the Blue Angels? There are only 17 people who voluntarily serve with the Blue Angels each year, making the position quite prestigious. The Chief of Naval Air Training selects “Boss,” the Blue Angels Commanding Officer. Boss must have at least 3,000 tactical jet flight-hours and have commanded a tactical jet squadron. The Commanding Officer flies the Number 1 jet.

The Navy Was Disbanded After The Revolutionary War The Navy was actually disbanded after the Revolutionary War, but brought back in 1794 to fight pirates. It was President George Washington, who brought back the Navy via the Naval Act of 1794. Due to threats to American merchant shipping by Barbary pirates from four North African Muslim States in the Mediterranean, it was essential to create a permanent standing U.S. Navy. It’s been that way ever since.