US Naval History and Roles

Navy submarine tour Hawaii
Machinist's Mate 3rd Class Adrian Mansaw, assigned to the Virginia-class attack submarine USS Hawaii (SSN 776), shows Commander of U.S. 3rd Fleet, Vice Adm. Kenneth E. Floyd the torpedo room as he tours the submarine at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. (Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Steven Khor/U.S. Navy)

The U.S. Navy is the most lethal force on the high seas. But what makes them so lethal?

The Navy maintains, trains and equips combat-ready naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining the freedom of the seas. U.S. Navy personnel expertly operate virtually every type of military equipment in the country's arsenal, everything from Humvees to aircraft carriers.

The Navy was founded on Oct. 13, 1775, and the Department of the Navy was established on April 30, 1798. The Navy has the following main components, all of which ensure it is capable of taking on the enemy anywhere in the world:

Navy operating forces -- As of 2019, the Navy has more than 332,000 active-duty service members and nearly 104,000 members of the Navy Reserve.

Surface fleet -- This consists of vessels of all sizes. Whether providing insertion or cover for special operations on inland rivers or battling modern-day pirates on the high seas, the Navy has a ship suited for every waterborne military mission.

Submarine fleet -- Known as the "Silent Service," submarines have played a number of roles in a hundred of years of both war and peace: attack, surveillance, commando insertion, research and nuclear deterrent. Submarines give the Navy the ability to arrive on scene before the enemy is aware they're on the way.

Naval aviation wing -- In addition to the surface and submarine warfare capabilities, the Navy can provide firepower and support from the air as well. The Navy's aviation contingent consists of helicopters, fighter/attack jets, surveillance, transport and cargo aircraft, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).

Shore "support'' establishment -- The shore establishment provides support to the operating forces (known as "the fleet") in the form of: facilities for the repair of machinery and electronics; communications centers; training areas and simulators; ship and aircraft repair; construction, intelligence and meteorological support; storage areas for repair parts, fuel and munitions; medical and dental facilities; and air bases.

The bottom line: The Navy has an awesome array of aircraft, ships and equipment and offers many high-tech jobs. From medical to nuclear, mechanical to administrative, there is bound to be a job right for you. Whether high tech is your passion or you just want a great job with great benefits and to travel around the world, then the Navy may be just the place to start your military career. You can start your career by getting more info about joining.

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We can put you in touch with recruiters from the different military branches. Learn about the benefits of serving your country, paying for school, military career paths, and more: sign up now and hear from a recruiter near you.

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