When we were kids, we all had our own dreams and aspirations for our adult selves. From a young age, we were constantly asked what we wanted to be when we “grew up,” a little like we had to decide our futures at that very moment. However, as we actually “grew up,” our attention turned toward teaching, nursing, firefighting, and more. Alongside this, there were some kids who knew from an early age that they wanted to serve their country and join the military, to which we say, “Respect.”
The United States Armed Forces comprise some of the most influential and powerful military organization in the whole world. The U.S. Armed Forces are under the Department of Justice and are divided into the Navy, the Army, and the Air Force, with the Marine Corps serving under the Navy while still being considered a distinct and equal branch. Additionally, the Coast Guard serves under the Department of Homeland Security while being able to be transferred to the Navy during times of war.
Not only are these forces used to protect the country, but they are also essential in overthrowing powerful forces who aim to harm America and the rest of the world. In a time when global threats are becoming more imminent, the United States Armed Forces play an increasingly important role in the fight for better security – and for that, we thank them.
One of the most prominent forces within the U.S. military is the United States Navy. This naval warfare branch is vital in protecting U.S. waters, and the waters of U.S. allies. They are part of the largest navy on the globe and allow more than 320,000 active soldiers the chance to serve their country and prove their worth. Since its inception, the U.S. Navy has fought in both World War I and World War II. They have also served in the Cold War and protected U.S. shores from pirates (and not the cool kind).
Although us common folk are only familiar with general facts about the U.S. Navy, those who serve in the military know what really goes on behind the scenes of the largest naval warfare branch in the world. Some of the toughest men and women in the business serve in the Navy, where they have persevered through trials and tribulations to get where they are today. So, check out these awesome facts about the Navy.
A few strict rules
If you’re the kind of person who loves their fashion and their fancy hairdos – the Navy is not for you. To be a part of the U.S Navy you need to comply with their (extremely long) set of rules. Many of these rules are linked to your attire and your appearance, and there can be no straying from the guidelines. For men, your hair needs to be neat, clean and is under no circumstances allowed to touch your collar. For women, ponytails (and pigtails) are not allowed.
Women and submarines
We’re not sure why anyone would want to travel in a submarine (no thanks), but it’s no secret that the Navy prides itself on its water vessels. Submarines have been around since the 1800s, but only really started being used in military combat in the 1900s. However, during that time, only men were allowed to set foot below the water in these impressive vessels. This rule was eventually changed in 2010, and the U.S Navy now have 80 women in their submarines. Yes, ladies!
Life after the Marines
One of the most famous women to come out of the U.S. Marine Corps is Shannon Ihrke. When she was just 19 years old, the blonde beauty enlisted in the Marines and served with them for four years. During that time, Shannon was pushed to her limits and strived to be the best she possibly could – and it seems this determination and hard work eventually paved the way to success: after her stint in the Marines, Shannon became a model and is now extremely famous.
The start of the Navy
Have you ever wondered where the US Navy came from? Well, it was first formed to help during the Revolutionary War but was disbanded as soon as America had gained its independence. However, just over a decade later, the Navy was reformed by the American government to protect their country’s ships from the scourge of the Barbary Pirates. While at first the government cooperated with the pirates, the United States secretly built their own warships, which they used against the pirates the soon thereafter in the Battle of Tripoli.
The life of Barbara Ives
If you’re up to date on your Navy knowledge, you may have heard of a woman called Barbara Ives. As a young girl, Barbara would hear of her uncles’ experiences in the Navy and knew she wanted to enlist herself. When she was old enough, Barbara became one of the first 80 women to be allowed into the United States Naval Academy. However, she found herself overrun with men who would discriminate against her and look down upon her. Nevertheless, she proved them wrong and served in the Navy for a whopping 26 years.
There are many branches of life in the Navy, but if you’re feeling hardcore, the life of a Navy SEAL (sea, air and land teams) might be for you. This elite, secretive special forces unit within the U.S. Navy, known for its tough attitude and rigorous training regime. In fact, new recruits have to train for seven months and take on grueling challenges before they are true SEALS – and only 40% of recruits complete it.
The real NCIS
If you’re a fan of TV box sets, you’ve probably watched NCIS before – and we don’t blame you because it is epic. This show is actually based on a real branch within the Navy, called the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. These officers deal in Naval criminality and find themselves taking on cases that include counter-intelligence, counter-terrorism, cyber warfare and more. Many of those who work in NCIS are civilian recruits, rather than Naval recruits. Where do we sign up?
Men and women in the Navy
It’s no secret that the majority of Marine Corps recruits are men, but every year, more and more women are enlisting and passing through the intense training schedules of Naval officers. However, the women in the Marine Corps often feel like they are looked down upon. During the scrupulous physical fitness tests, men and women are tested on different abilities. While men have to do pull-ups to prove they are strong enough, women do not have to. Instead, they only have to complete a flexed arm hang.
Many women in the Navy go on to have children, but we can imagine that being pregnant while working on a ship or a new mission can be pretty hard going. Luckily, the Navy has some rules in place which will make expectant mothers as comfortable as possible during their pregnancy. For starters, they are only allowed to work onboard a vessel until they are 20 weeks pregnant – and then they are allowed to return home and await the arrival of their child. The Navy also has some impressive maternity uniforms that look much more comfortable than the standard issued uniform.
A few problems
Although the Navy tries to ensure that their expectant officers and recruits are as comfortable as possible during their pregnancy, they make no secret of the fact that pregnant employees often cause a few problems. As per the life of a Naval officer, some of the expectant mothers are on a mission abroad when they are required to return home, which means that a great deal of money is at times required to airlift them home or transfer them back to America. Maternity leave can also create large personnel gaps they need to fill.
Like all jobs, those who work in the Navy also get days off and vacation pay. Nope, they don’t just float in the ocean for years at a time – they do actually get to have a life! As the vessels travel around the world, the men and women of the Navy often get the chance to explore new lands on their days off and take in the sights. As well as this, they also get paid for 30 vacation days a year, which means they can return home, and spend time with their loved ones.
In today’s day and age, we know more about our favorite celebrities than we do our next door neighbors (you know it’s true). Because of this, we know that some of the biggest names in the world have previously served in the Navy. Casablanca’s Humphrey Bogart was once a Naval officer in the ‘20s, MC Hammer served his country for a couple of years before he topped the charts, and even Neil Armstrong served in the Navy before landing on the moon. Indeed, the Navy has had some notable alumni.
A model workout
We’ve all heard of the infamous Navy SEAL training, but do you REALLY know how hard it is? Few people have been allowed to catch a glimpse of the intense training schedule first-hand, but one famous supermodel, Lauren Berlingeri, was allowed the chance to take part in the training herself. She documented her progress in a three-part YouTube video that tested her strength and agility and showed just how tough it is to get into the Navy SEALS. Amazingly, Lauren absolutely smashed the competition!
Although the military and the Navy are renowned for protecting the country and the rest of the world, their tactics have often come under fire. In recent years, the Navy has been accused of practicing waterboarding – an interrogation technique sometimes employed by intelligence agencies around the world to extract information. According to reports, the Navy has previously used it as part of their SEALS training regime, but have had to take it out of their schedule amid complaints and outrage.
Top Gun in real life
Most of us have seen the war flick Top Gun, however, few people know that the 1986 movie actually brought the real events of the Vietnam War to life. Based on an article about the war named “Top Guns” in California magazine, this movie was very close to reality. To combat the increasing pressures of the war, the Navy created a brand new branch of military fighters and named them the United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor Program…otherwise known as Topgun (much shorter).
All in a name
You might have wondered why Naval ships are given the names they have. It seems there is a method to the naming process. Ever since the early 1800s, the Navy has enlisted the help of the Secretary of the Navy to take the lead in naming their new ships. Every single ship in the Naval Fleet must start with USS (United States Ship), but the latter half of the name is chosen by the general public. Most of the time, the ship is named after an iconic person.
Although the Navy SEALS spend months regimentally training for their top-secret missions, they aren’t the only ones who have to get themselves both physically and mentally prepared for their military journey. Many of the Navy SEALS are joined by specially trained Malinois dogs. These dogs are often known as the Belgian Shepherd Dog and are incredibly intelligent, strong, and resilient. They are often trained as sniffer dogs and scouts to help out their human counterparts and are a vital part of the team.
Fighting for their rights
When most people think of the Navy, they often associate the rough and ready recruits with men. In fact, many people still believe that women should not be allowed in the military – which we can safely say we DO NOT agree with. Thankfully, women have fought long and hard for their right to fight for their country in all combat positions, and have finally been successful. However, it took a long time to get there. Women were only given this right in 2015, much to the dismay of chauvinistic lobbyists.
All in the numbers
Amazingly, women are now a vital part of the American military. Nevertheless, it’s fair to say that they still have a long way to go. All in all, there are around 1.4 million active personnel in the United States military. Of that 1.4 million, only 15% are female. Around 14,000 women actively serve in the Marine Corps, and 53,000 serve in the United States Navy. These numbers are increasing every year, but there is still a distinct lack of strong female soldiers working in high-ranking positions.
The moment women were allowed to serve in all combat positions in the military was a momentous occasion. Since then, more and more women have continued to enlist and train to serve their country in all different units. However, very few women have signed up to serve as a Navy SEAL. Known as one of the most intense and scrupulous Naval units in the world, many have been put off by the intense training schedule. In June 2017, the first woman signed up as a new recruit but dropped out a few weeks later.
The famous camouflage
When you think of the military, you often think of soldiers in their camouflage uniforms – just like in the movies. However, in real life, the uniforms are vastly different. In recent years, the Navy has changed their camouflage from the traditional form to a more pixelated version. According to reports, these pixels make the camouflage more inconspicuous, as there are no solid lines for the human brain to pick up. Nevertheless, they’re not finished yet, as the Navy will be changing their uniforms once again in 2019.
Incredible aircraft carriers
Alongside their submarines and warships, the United States Navy are also to thank for the incredible aircraft carriers that float across our seas. These huge ships also double up as runways for fighter planes, and are incredibly expensive and complicated to engineer. The American military are world renowned for their fleet of aircraft carriers – the biggest in the world! America takes the lead with a whopping 81 carriers, while Britain and France follow behind with 54 and 15 aircraft carriers respectively.
Although aircraft carriers are both expensive and incredibly important, it seems that their security measures need a little bit of extra work. Back in 1957, one of the carriers in the American fleet was hijacked by pranksters. Indeed, ten college students decided to dress up as pirates and climb aboard the elusive USS Bennington while it was docked in the port of Sydney. Amazingly, they managed to make it to the bridge without being spotted! Despite the security breach, the Navy laughed it off.
A connection to beverages
When you think of the Navy, you probably don’t think of Budweiser brewery – but it seems that there is an unusual connection, and we’re not entirely sure why. If you have got up close and personal with a Navy SEAL, you may have noticed that ‘Special Warfare Insignia’ on their uniform. This pin is often called the ‘Budweiser,’ and many have linked the wings of the Insignia to the wings of the Anheuser-Busch logo; the company who brew the Budweiser brewery.
SEAL Team Six
If you’re up to date on your military branches, you might have heard of the SEAL Team Six. This impressive team of Naval SEALS were the brains and brawn behind the capture of the 9/11 attackers. The man who led this team is a tough officer by the name of Richard Marcinko, who also created the Red Cell team within the military, tasked with exposing vulnerabilities on bases and other installations. Although he served his country well, Richard was eventually convicted of defrauding the government (yikes) and sent to federal prison for 21 months.
As well as producing some of the latest and greatest musicians, actors, and astronauts, the United States Navy has also produced presidential alumni. In fact, the U.S Navy has had the pleasure of training six of our former presidents, including John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald R. Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H.W. Bush. Perhaps seeing the world for what it’s really like pushed them in the presidential direction, for they hoped to one day rid the world of war.
No matter what sector you work in, you’re always going to have your own form of jargon. Scientists will have their own lingo and specialized words, astronauts will have their own code words, and even teachers will have words only fellow teachers will understand. Of course, the United States Navy is no different. With numerous code words in their repertoire, Naval officers can often be found calling the windows the portholes, the dining hall the mess deck and their lefts and rights port and starboard.
First Navy Jack
If you’ve seen a Naval sailing warship recently, you’ve probably seen the American flag flying high. However, you wouldn’t have seen it if the ship was docked. While the boat is not sailing, Naval officers are required to fly the First Navy Jack on their jackstaff flagpole. This flag is a little different to the Star Spangled Banner, and features 13 red and white stripes, a rattlesnake and the phrase ‘DON’T TREAD ON ME.’ Each stripe represents one of the original American colonies.
Over the years, the US Navy has vastly improved their fleet of vessels, and are constantly working on new and unique ways to make the most out of their warships. One of their newest recruits is the USS Zumwalt (DDG1000). This incredible ship was built with the idea of stealth in mind. Due to its unique shape, the ship is almost undetectable on radar, which makes it a priceless asset to the fleet. Alongside this, the shape also allows the ship the glide through the water. That’s pretty cool.
Although women have had a pretty rough time of it in the military, there is one woman who has made history in the Marine Corps. Thanks to their ruthless 13-week training course, many women (and some men) have been put off from enlisting, or quit after a couple of weeks. However, one woman who has remained anonymous has passed the test and become the first female Infantry Officer. We’re hoping this heroic woman will pave the way for even more strong and capable female names within the United States military.