Happy 230th Birthday!
Today is the 230th anniversary of the official "beginning" of the U.S. Navy. Here's what the CNO has to say:
"It was considered by at least one delegate to the Continental Congress “The maddest idea in the world.” The creation of an American fleet implied independence and sovereignty. It signaled a readiness for war that not all the colonists were prepared to accept. And yet Oct. 13, 1775, Congress voted to arm two small ships and send them on a cruise to intercept British transports. With the stroke of a pen, the Continental Navy was born.
"However modest that beginning, there can be no question of the vital role played by the U.S. Navy in defending freedom throughout our Nation’s history. In wars large and small, at sea and ashore, American Sailors have proven time and time again the enduring value of strength from the sea.
"We prove it yet today. The Nation is again at war - a long and treacherous war - and we are again stepping into the breech to fight it. From the mountaintops in Afghanistan to the windswept sands of Kuwait and Iraq, from the warm, still waters of the north Arabian Gulf to the broad expanse of the Pacific Rim, we are taking the fight to the enemy.
"Let there be no doubt that we are winning. Afghanistan is free. Democracy is being born in Iraq. Al Qaeda, though potent, is weaker. Even the devastation wrought by natural disaster on our own shores - and to our own families - is eased. The lives of millions of people are better because of our efforts and the sacrifices of our loved ones. There is, of course, much work yet to do and challenges yet to face, but I am convinced that this generation of Sailors - at this critical time in our history - will make all the difference.
"It might once have been the maddest of ideas, but today the Navy doesn’t just imply independence, sovereignty and readiness. We are those things. In the steel of our ships and the in the hearts of our Sailors, we take them with us wherever and whenever we go. We make them real and we bring them right back home again.
"As Capt. Nora Scott Tyson, former commanding officer of USS Bataan (LHD 5) put it, “we know there’s a reason for what we do, whether it’s the global war on terrorism or humanitarian relief. If you’re not flexible and you’re not ready, you’re in the wrong business.” Well, I've seen it firsthand. You are flexible, you are ready and you are definitely in the right business. John Paul Jones and Stephen Decatur have absolutely nothing on you. I'm thrilled just to wear the same uniform.
"Happy birthday, Shipmates!"
...and many more!