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The United States Navy (USN) is a branch of the United States armed forces responsible for conducting naval operations. Its stated mission is "to maintain, train and equip combat-ready Naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the seas." The U.S. Navy currently has nearly 500,000 personnel on active duty or in the Navy Reserve and operates 278 ships in active service and more than 4,000 aircraft.

The U.S. Navy traces its origins to the Continental Navy, which was established during the American Revolutionary War and was
USS Constitution 1997.jpg
disbanded in 1790. The United States Constitution, though, provided the legal basis for a seaborne military force by giving Congress the power "to provide and maintain a navy." Depredations against American shipping by Barbary Coast corsairs spurred Congress to employ this power in 1794 by passing the Naval Act of 1794 ordering the construction and manning of six frigates. The U.S. Navy came into international prominence in the 20th century, especially during World War II. Operating in both the European and Pacific theaters, it was a part of the conflict from the onset of American military involvement from the attack on Pearl Harbor to Japan's official surrender aboard the USS Missouri. The U.S. Navy had a role in the subsequent Cold War, in which it evolved into a nuclear deterrent and crisis response force while preparing for a possible global war with the Soviet Union.

The 21st-century U.S. Navy maintains a sizeable presence in the world, deploying in such areas as East Asia, Southern Europe, and the Middle East. Its ability to project force onto the littoral regions of the world, engage in forward areas during peacetime, and rapidly respond to regional crises makes it an active player in American foreign and defence policy.

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Featured article

USMC War Memorial Night.jpg

Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima is an iconic photograph taken on February 23, 1945 by Joe Rosenthal. It depicts five United States Marines and a U.S. Navy corpsman raising the Flag of the United States atop Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II. The photograph was instantly popular, being reprinted in hundreds of publications. Later, it became the only photograph to win the Pulitzer Prize for Photography in the same year as its publication, and ultimately came to be regarded as one of the most significant and recognizable images in history, and possibly the most reproduced photograph of all time. Of the six men depicted in the picture, three (Franklin Sousley, Harlon Block, and Michael Strank) did not survive the battle; the three survivors (John Bradley, Rene Gagnon, and Ira Hayes) became suddenly famous. The photograph was later used by Felix de Weldon to sculpt the USMC War Memorial, located just outside Washington, D.C.

Selected picture

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U.S. Naval Academy class of 2005 celebrate by throwing their midshipmen covers into the air as part of the graduation and commissioning ceremony.

Photo Credit:Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Daniel J. McLain, USN

Equipment

US Navy 041017-N-0922G-001 The destroyer USS Spruance (DD 963) conducts a Close-in Weapons System (CWIS) live fire test during a Pre-Aim Calibration Fire (PACFIRE) in the Arabian Gulf.jpg

A Close-in weapon system (CIWS) is a naval shipboard weapon system for detecting and destroying incoming anti-ship missiles and enemy aircraft at short range (the threat(s) having penetrated the ship's available outer defences). Typically, the acronym is pronounced "Sea-whiz".

Quotes

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"Tell the men to fire faster. Fight 'til she sinks, boys. Don't give up the ship." — Captain James Lawrence, USN, June 1813

Selected biography

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James Vincent Forrestal (February 15, 1892May 22, 1949) born in Beacon, New York was a Secretary of the Navy and the first United States Secretary of Defense. Forrestal's death resulted from a fall out of a Bethesda Naval Hospital window which has led to speculation and controversy. He was a supporter of naval battle groups centered on aircraft carriers. The Navy's first supercarrier was named the USS Forrestal in his honor.

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