It’s no secret in the veteran community that every branch of the military makes fun of the other. As a proud knuckle dragging infantryman a large part of my career it naturally produces its own humor. One of the branches that catch more than its share of ribbing is the Navy. I think of it as all the branches are fingers that form a fist. Begrudgingly I admit that fist would pack much less of a punch without the Navy. Let’s pay it due respect this week.
1. The US Navy it was founded 13, October, 1775. 2. With 337,000 active, and 102,000 reserve personnel. This makes it the 3rd largest branch. Its rumored and hard to confirm China and North Korea may have a larger Navies. However many of its counted vessels are very, very small coastal patrol boats. 3. It has 290 deployable ships and 3,700 aircraft. 3. It has 11 aircraft carriers with another 2 in construction and 5 more planned. The power of a single carrier is awe inspiring. Over 100 aircraft for each. These are a mix of fighter, attack, bomber, anti-submarine, radar/AWACs, helicopter. Canada is estimated to have a total 100 military aircraft. (Must be the exchange rate). Each one of our carriers is like Canada deploying its entire military aircraft fleet. These can project American might and influence anywhere in the World.
The fact the Navy can pick up an entire army and land it anywhere there is water, should be heralded and feared. The winning tradition of our navy, lessons learned over a hundred years and its continued successful operations cannot be matched by any other Navy. The island hopping campaigns of WW2, D-Day and the amphibious landing at Inchon has evolved warfare as we know it. Case in point the Falklands War, where the British combined military forces loaded onto ships and went to war with Argentina. Falkland tactics were largely copied by american naval and amphibious tactics.
Minus the large glamorous carriers, the cruisers and destroyers alone have enough firepower to take on several navies themselves. Their Tomahawk cruise missiles and guns with complex firing systems are almost always deadly accurate. They are also very defensive in posture. They are able to slug out with bigger ships. Defending themselves from aircraft using missiles and the phalanx cannon they hold their own.
Possibly the deadliest punch the Navy has is silence and seldom seen like the other ships. Undoubtedly they are front and center of the thoughts of our adversaries (or should be) is the submarine. Our subs can pack conventional or nuclear missiles in a silence, unseen and undented. Their anti-ship capability is feared just as much. They can stay on patrol indefinitely with nuclear engines and water purification. Their crew sets the limit.
My salute to the greatest Navy ever. Wayne and Doug my fellow riders and former sailors, this column is for you.
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