Our Navy: ready where it matters, when it matters

The following blog is written by Rear Adm. T.K. Shannon, commander, Military Sealift Command.

“Ready – where it matters, when it matters.”
      – Adm. Jonathan Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations

I can’t think of a better quote on this 238th birthday of our Navy. Since 1775, our Navy has defended America with pride. On October 13, 1775, the Continental Congress, meeting in Philadelphia, adopted the original legislation out of which the Continental Navy grew.

Since 1775, our Navy has set a tradition:  we are always where it matters, when it matters. Merchant mariners formed the crews of the first ships outfitted by the Continental Congress. Over the course of our War of Independence, the Continental Navy sent out more than 50 armed vessels that captured more than 200 British ships.

Between 1801 and 1805, President Thomas Jefferson called on our Navy to project sea power forward, protecting United States commerce by blockading and bombarding Tripoli during the Barbary Wars.

During the War of 1812, USS Constitution, the oldest commissioned ship still serving in our Navy, destroyed the Royal Navy Frigate Guerriere.

Fast forward to the 20th century.

Our Navy was key in the opening phases of the Persian Gulf War in 1991, launching hundreds of Tomahawk cruise missiles and manned aircraft combat missions from six Navy aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf and Red Sea. Our Navy’s MSC ships kept them supplied.

During Operation Odyssey Dawn in March 2011, Navy ships again launched Tomahawk missiles and aircraft from USS Kearsarge as part of the American role in the international military operation that enforced United Nations Security Council Resolutions in Libya. Our Navy’s MSC ships were, once again, center stage, supplying our fleet.

For 238 years our Navy has been there where it matters, when it matters. Our Sailors, merchant mariners and Navy civilians performed brilliantly in every mission – from Coral Sea to Midway to Guadalcanal; from Iwo Jima to Inchon; from the Mekong Delta and Desert Storm to Baghdad and Kabul. Our people continue to answer our nation’s call as a global force for good, safeguarding vast oceans, bringing justice to terrorists around the world, and providing assistance during times of humanitarian crisis. At sea, on land and in the air, our brave men and women, like all who wear the uniform of our country, represent what is best about America.

Our brothers and sisters are out there now. They will be there when we are sleeping tonight.  They will be there every Saturday, Sunday and holiday. They will be there around the clock, far from our shores, defending America at all times. 

That they are there is critically important because being there matters. Whether it’s the threat of a weapons facility or terrorist camp, or antagonistic moves against an ally or maritime partner, or if it’s the massive destruction caused by acts of nature, our Navy is there.

We are there on the oceans and seas around the world, defending American values, protecting American lives, encouraging our allies. We are already there, because being there matters. It has mattered for 238 years. It will matter into the future.

Happy birthday!

Thanks for your service,

T.K. Shannon

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