The United States Navy recognizes October 13, 1775, as the date of its official establishment, when the Continental Congress passed a resolution creating the Continental Navy. So to celebrate the upcoming 239th birthday of the Navy, on this bike ride I decided to ride to the Washington Navy Yard, which is located in and takes up approximately half of the Near Southeast neighborhood on the Anacostia River (MAP) in Southeast D.C.
The Washington Navy Yard, or The Yard is it is often referred to, was established in October of 1799. The Yard was built under the direction of Benjamin Stoddert, the first Secretary of the Navy, under the supervision of the Yard’s first commandant, Commodore Thomas Tingey, and is the oldest shore establishment of the U.S. Navy. It was formerly the shipyard and ordnance plant of the U.S. Navy. From its first years, the Washington Navy Yard became the navy’s largest shipbuilding and shipfitting facility, with 22 vessels constructed there.
The Yard currently serves as a ceremonial and administrative center for the U.S. Navy, home to the Chief of Naval Operations, and is headquarters for the Naval Sea Systems Command, Naval Historical Center, the Department of Naval History, the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps, Naval Reactors, Marine Corps Institute, the United States Navy Band, and other more classified facilities. The Yard also includes the Navy Museum which houses the Navy Art Collection and its displays of naval art and artifacts that trace the Navy’s history from the Revolutionary War to the present day. A museum ship, the destroyer USS Barry, is also at The Yard and is open to tourists. The Barry is frequently used for change of command ceremonies for naval commands in the area.
The Yard is just one of 42 Navy bases in the United States, with a number of other bases overseas, either in U.S.-controlled territories or in foreign countries under a Status of Forces Agreement. A large number of bases and installations are needed to support the Navy’s size, complexity, and international presence of the Navy’s personnel and operations.
The U.S. Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. It operates 289 deployable battle force ships and more than 3700 operational aircraft. The U.S. Navy also has the world’s largest carrier fleet, with 11 in service, one under construction, two planned, and one in reserve.
The service currently has 325,143 active duty personnel and 107,524 in the Navy Reserve. It operates 286 ships in active service and more than 3,700 aircraft. It also has approximately 201,000 Navy Department civilian employees.
So in recognition of the Navy’s upcoming anniversary, I’d like to say happy birthday to the Navy, and to all those who have and are serving.
[Click on the thumbnails above to view the full size photos]