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U.S. Navy’s 248th Birthday

Today marks the 248th Birthday of our Navy. When I was a high school senior, allegedly I had the highest Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) score in my county. The Navy recruiter turned into my best friend and had me lined up to join the nuclear navy. Everything was looking great until I got to the last test of the physical. It turned out to be the color vision test.

At the time, the test consisted of a series of Ishihara plates and I could not see the numbers hidden in the dot circle. That, of course, ended my plans to join the nuclear navy as well as every other tech job the navy could offer and set me on course for what would eventually be law school. But as a result of my high school experience, I do cheer for Navy when they play Army. Now, … on to the Birthday announcement. The following appeared on the U.S. Navy website:

A 13 October 1775 resolution of the Continental Congress established what is now the United States Navy with “a swift sailing vessel, to carry ten carriage guns, and a proportionable number of swivels, with eighty men, be fitted, with all possible despatch, for a cruise of three months….” After the American War of Independence, the U.S. Constitution empowered the new Congress “to provide and maintain a navy.” Acting on this authority, Congress established the Department of the Navy on 30 April 1798.

In 1972, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt authorized official recognition of 13 October as the birthday of the U.S. Navy. Since then, each CNO has encouraged a Navy-wide celebration of this occasion “to enhance a greater appreciation of our Navy heritage, and to provide a positive influence toward pride and professionalism in the naval service.”

13 October 2023 will mark the Navy’s 248th birthday. Commemoration toolkit items will be added to this page as they become available.  

Need additional information for Navy birthday commemoration planning? Please contact the Communication Branch of NHHC at 202-433-7880 or email

U.S. Navy



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