The U.S. Navy celebrates its 243rd birthday Oct. 13. Throughout its inception, this branch of the U.S. Armed Forces – which is the only service that provides military support on land, sea and air – has had many groundbreaking moments. Here are a few as we honor those men and women who serve.
Oct. 13, 1775: The Continental Congress passed resolutions to purchase two armed ships and to establish a naval committee, which was the beginning of what we know today as the U.S. Navy.
Oct. 21, 1797: The USS Constitution, the world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat, is launched and christened in Boston.
October 29, 1814: The first steam-powered Navy warship, the frigate Fulton, is launched at New York City.
March 1917: Loretta Perfectus Walsh becomes the first woman to enlist into the Navy.
March 20, 1922: The fuel ship USS Jupiter is recommissioned as USS Langley, the Navy’s first aircraft carrier.
Oct. 23-26., 1944: The largest naval battle of the modern age, the Battle of Leyte Gulf, begins.
Sept. 30, 1954: The world’s first nuclear-powered submarine, USS Nautilus, is commissioned at Groton, Connecticut.
Dec. 30, 1959: The first ballistic missile submarine, USS George Washington, is commissioned.
Dec. 17, 1970: Admiral Elmo Zuwalt, then Chief of Naval Operations, issues a directive to combat racial discrimination in the Navy.
April 12, 2009: U.S. Navy SEALs shoot and kill three pirates holding captain Richard Phillips whose story was later captured in the 2013 film Captain Phillips.
May 1, 2011: Navy SEALs kill al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in an intelligence-driven U.S. operation in Pakistan.