Raising the Flag Aboard the USS Alfred
“It follows than 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 the Marquis de Lafayette
On October 13th 1775 the Continental Congress passed legislation to establish a Navy for a country that did not yet exist. It was the first was the first in a long line of legislative actions taken by it and subsequent Congresses that helped define the future of American sea power.
The Battle of Flamborough Head
The legislation was the beginning of a proud service that the intrepid founders of our nation could have ever imagined. Less than two months after it was signed on December 3rd 1775 Lieutenant John Paul Jones raised the Grand Union Flag over the new fleet flagship the Alfred. The fleet set sail and raided the British colony at Nassau in the Bahamas capturing valuable cannon and other military stores. It was the first amphibious operation ever conducted by the Navy and Marines.
USS Constitution and HMS Guerriere
Jones received the first recognition of the American flag shortly after France recognized the new United States. In command of the Sloop of War Ranger his ship received a nine-gun salute from the French flagship at Quiberon Bay.
Oliver Hazard Perry at the Battle of Lake Erie
Jones would go on to to greater glory when he in command of the Bonhomme Richard defeated the HMS Serapis at the Battle of Flamborough Head. During the battle when all seemed lost and the colors had been shot away he replied to a British question if he had surrendered replied “I have not yet begun to fight!”
Admiral David Farragut at the Battle of Mobile Bay
When the war ended very few of these ships remained most having been destroyed or captured during the war. But these few ships and the brave Sailors and Marines who manned them blazed a trail which generations of future sailors would build on. The Navy has served the nation and the world as a “Global Force for Good” for 237 years.
World War One: Convoy Escort USS Allen
The Great White Fleet
This force for good is on duty today and those that have served over the past 237 years are part of a tradition that is more than honorable. President John F. Kennedy who served as a PT Boat Commander in World War Two remarked:
“I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction: ‘I served in the United States Navy.'”
The Battle of Midway
Tonight as you go to bed and sleep soundly after eating well and spending time with family, friends or enjoying some form of entertainment remember those of our Navy who serve at sea at the ready in the Straits of Hormuz, in the mountains and deserts of Afghanistan, the desolation of the Horn of Africa and around the world defending our interests, caring for our military personnel and their families and deploying to serve in harm’s way and in areas of devastation. They are America’s “Global Force for Good.” They are my shipmates they are your fellow citizens. They are the United States Navy.
USS Hue City CG-66
Happy Birthday Shipmates.