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We used to say something like:

"The U. S. Navy....  200 Years of tradition, unhampered by progress."

Funny in a way, but hardly true.
The greatest navy in the history of man is certainly steeped in wholesome tradition.
However, it is the tradition that stimulates and perfects its far-reaching progress.

Here are some bits of wisdom to reinforce were we have come from....


"...without a Respectable Navy,
Alas America!"


Captain John Paul Jones


"A powerful Navy we have always regarded as our proper and natural means of defense; and it has always been of defense that we have thought, never of aggression or of conquest. But who shall tell us now what sort of Navy to build? We shall take leave to be strong upon the seas, in the future as in the past; and there will be no thought of offense or provocation in that. Our ships are our natural bulwarks."

President Woodrow Wilson
"Take her down!"

Commander Howard Walter Gilmore
when desperately wounded and unable to climb back into his submarine
(USS Growler SS-215), in the face of an approaching Japanese gunboat.

"A good Navy is not a provocation to war. It is the surest guaranty of peace."

President Theodore Roosevelt
"Damn the torpedoes,
Full speed ahead!"


Admiral David Glasgow Farragut
"It follows than as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive,
and with it, everything honorable and glorious."


President George Washington
"WHY NOT?"

Admiral Hyman Rickover asked Jimmy Carter when he was still a young junior officer about his class standing when he graduated from the Naval Academy. Carter told the Admiral that he had graduated 59th out of 120 graduates in 1946. Rickover then asked him why he had not graduated number one. Carter thought about it for a little while and replied that he supposed he had just not tried hard enough.

Rickover asked. "Why not?"

Many years later President Carter wrote a book titled, "Why not the best?" You can guess how he came up with that title.
"I have not yet begun to fight!"

Captain John Paul Jones

"Don't give up the ship!"

Captain James Lawrence

"We have met the enemy and
they are ours..."


Oliver Hazard Perry

"The battle of Iwo Island [Jima] has been won. The United States Marines,
by their individual and collective courage, have conquered a base which is
as necessary to us in our continuing forward movement toward final victory
as it was vital to the enemy in staving off ultimate defeat....    Among the
Americans who served on Iwo Island, uncommon valor was a common virtue."


Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz

"A good Navy is not a provocation to war. It is the surest guaranty of peace."

President Theodore Roosevelt
"You may fire when you are ready Gridley."

Commodore George Dewey

“The Marine Corps is the Navy's police force and as long as I am President that is what it will remain. They have a propaganda machine that is almost equal to Stalin's.”

President Harry S Truman

"I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked
in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond
with a good deal of pride and satisfaction: 'I served in the United States Navy."


President John F. Kennedy

“Baseball in the Navy always was much more fun than it had been in the major leagues.”

Pitcher Bob Feller

"The Navy has both a tradition and a future--and we look with pride
and confidence in both directions."


Admiral George Anderson, CNO

"Events of October 1962 indicated, as they had all through history, that control of the sea means security. Control of the seas can mean peace. Control of the seas can mean victory. The United States must control the seas if it is to protect your security...."

President John F. Kennedy
(On board USS Kitty Hawk)


On 30 Oct 1956 during the Suez Crisis, the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Admiral Arleigh Burke signaled Vice Admiral Charles R. “Cat” Brown, the Commander of the Sixth Fleet: “Situation tense; prepare for imminent hostilities.” Brown signaled back: “Am prepared for imminent hostilities, but whose side are we on?” In classic Burke style, the CNO’s return response was, “Keep clear of foreign op areas but take no guff from anybody.”

Naval Institute Historical Atlas of the U. S. Navy
“I WAS A SAILOR ONCE”

Reflections of a Blackshoe
By Vice Admiral Harold Koenig, USN (Ret), M.D.

I like the Navy, I like standing on the bridge wing at sunrise with salt spray in my face and clean ocean winds whipping in from the four quarters of the globe - the ship beneath me feeling like a living thing as her engines drive her through the sea.

I like the sounds of the Navy - the piercing trill of the boatswains pipe, the syncopated clangor of the ship's bell on the quarterdeck, the harsh squawk of the 1MC and the strong language and laughter of sailors at work.

I like Navy vessels - nervous darting destroyers, plodding fleet auxiliaries, sleek submarines and steady solid carriers.

I like the proud names of Navy ships: Midway, Lexington, Saratoga, Coral Sea - memorials of great battles won.

I like the lean angular names of Navy 'tin-cans" Barney, Dahlgren, Mullinix, McCloy, -mementos of heroes who went before us.

I like the tempo of a Navy band blaring through the topside speakers as we pull away from the oiler after refueling at sea.

I like liberty call and the spicy scent of a foreign port. I even like all hands working parties as my ship fills herself with the multitude of supplies both mundane and exotic which she needs to cut her ties to the land and carry out her mission anywhere on the globe where there is water to float her.

I like sailors, men from all parts of the land, farms of the Midwest, small towns of New England, from the cities, the mountains and the prairies, from all walks of life. I trust and depend on them as they trust and depend on me - for professional competence, for comradeship, for courage. In a word, they are "shipmates."

I like the surge of adventure in my heart when the word is passed "Now station the special sea and anchor detail - all hands to quarters for leaving port", and I like the infectious thrill of sighting home again, with the waving hands of welcome from family and friends waiting pierside.

The work is hard and dangerous, the going rough at times, the parting from loved ones painful, but the companionship of robust Navy laughter, the 'all for one and one for all' philosophy of the sea is ever present.

I like the serenity of the sea after a day of hard ship's work, as flying fish flit across the wave tops and sunset gives way to night.

I like the feel of the Navy in darkness - the masthead lights, the red and green navigation lights and stern light, the pulsating phosphorescence of  radar repeaters - they cut through the dusk and join with the mirror of stars overhead.

And I like drifting off to sleep lulled by the myriad noises large and small that tell me that my ship is alive and well, and that my shipmates on watch will keep me safe. I like quiet midwatches with the aroma of strong coffee - the lifeblood of the Navy - permeating everywhere.

And I like hectic watches when the exacting minuet of haze-gray shapes racing at flank speed keeps all hands on a razor edge of alertness.

I like the sudden electricity of "General quarters, general quarters, all
hands man your battle stations", followed by the hurried clamor of running feet on ladders and the resounding thump of watertight doors as the ship transforms herself in a few brief seconds from a peaceful workplace to a weapon of war - ready for anything.

And I like the sight of space-age equipment manned by youngsters clad in dungarees and sound-powered phones that their grandfathers would still recognize.

I like the traditions of the Navy and the men and women who made them. I like the proud names of Navy heroes: Halsey, Nimitz, Perry, Farragut, John Paul Jones.

A sailor can find much in the Navy: comrades-in-arms, pride in self and country, mastery of the seaman's trade. An adolescent can find adulthood.

In years to come, when sailors are home from the sea, they will still remember with fondness and respect the ocean in all its moods -the impossible shimmering mirror calm and the storm-tossed green water surging over the bow. And then there will come again a faint whiff of stack gas, a faint echo of engine and rudder orders, a vision of the bright bunting of signal flags snapping at the yardarm, a refrain of hearty laughter in the wardroom and chief's quarters and messdecks. Gone ashore for good they will grow wistful about their Navy days, when the seas belonged to them and a new port of call was ever over the horizon. Remembering this, they will stand taller and say,    "I WAS A SAILOR ONCE.  I WAS PART OF THE NAVY, AND THE NAVY  WILL ALWAYS
BE PART OF ME."


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