When asked what I am most proud of, I stick out my chest, hold my head high and state proudly, ‘I served in the United States Navy!’ – John F. Kennedy
The Continental Navy formed in 1775 by General George Washington to defend the American colonies from British attack. After the U.S. won its independence in 1783, the Continental Navy was disbanded, and its remaining ships were sold.
Before long, the country began facing threats from pirates and others wishing to disrupt its seaborne commerce. To defend its interests, Congress moved to reestablish a naval fleet. President George Washington signed the Naval Act of 1794 creating a permanent standing U.S. Navy. The Navy was run by the Department of War until Congress established the Department of the Navy in 1798. Today, the US Navy is the largest naval force in the world.
In 1972, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt authorized official recognition of October 13th as the birthday of the U.S. Navy.