This is the first in a series of articles that I will post this month on significant events and personalities that make up the history of the Unite States Navy which celebrates its 236th anniversary on October 13th 2011. I have had the distinct honor of having grown up in a Navy family and after almost a full career in the U.S. Army to be able to serve in the Navy to the present day.
First Blood: The Battle of Nassau
“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 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 3rd1775 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.
Jones received the first recognition of the American flag shortly afterFrancerecognized the newUnited States. In command of the Sloop of War Ranger his ship received a nine-gun salute from the French flagship at Quiberon 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 236 years.
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, in the mountains and deserts of Afghanistan, the cities of Iraq, 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 the United States Navy.