Happy #NavyDay !

Today is Navy Day, which is not to be confused with observance of the Birthday of the Navy on 13 October.

As it turns out, Navy Day derives in part from the birthday of the once Assistant Secretary of the Navy in 1922, who happened to be Theodore Roosevelt (who promoted the expansion of the Navy). Also in 1775 on this day the first ships were purchased by the Continental Congress which were the core of a new Navy.

Alas, the last official military observance of Navy Day was in 1949.

But we don’t care.

Happy Navy Day!

On a more somber note, one of the readers here asked for prayers for the family of a friend, the USN pilot who died in a training crash recently in Alabama, LT Ross, also married to a Navy officer.  R.I.P.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Jacob says:

    Navy dress whites are the best in the world.

  2. Semper Gumby says:

    “A good Navy is not a provocation to war. It is the surest guaranty of peace.” – Theodore Roosevelt

    In 1907 Teddy Roosevelt painted 16 battleships white (the “Great White Fleet”) and dispatched them on a world tour that lasted over a year, demonstrating both goodwill and peace through strength.

    From the Naval Institute:

    On Navy Day 1945, 47 warships including the battleship USS Missouri visited New York. Invited to tour the USS Missouri, New Yorkers promptly mugged the battleship by taking everything not welded down. Sailors lamented that the ship took more damage in New York than it had in the Pacific.

    Jacob: You bet. Navy dress whites are right up there with Marine dress blues.

    God bless Fr. Vincent Capodanno, USN, MOH

    Speaking of the Great White Fleet, more Marian processions in the streets with more participation by Navy and Marine vets would be welcome.


  3. Semper Gumby says:

    Abp. Fulton Sheen:

    “The treatise on Patriotism in the writings of the greatest philosopher of all times, St. Thomas Aquinas, is to be found under the subject of “Piety.” This at first may strike as strange those who think of piety as pertaining only to love of God. But once it is remembered that love of neighbor is inseparable from love of God, it is seen that love of our fellow citizens is a form of piety.

    “In these days when so many subversive activities are at work, a reminder of the necessity of loving our country is very much to the point.”

    “Hence our Declaration of Independence reads: all men “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.””

    “But freedom and liberty are inseparable from responsibility, and responsibility is inseparable from conscience, and conscience is inseparable from religion.”

    These United States are a work in progress in A.D. 2020, and given our human nature it will always be so. Christus Vincit.

  4. albinus1 says:

    Virgil calls Aeneas “pius Aeneas” not just because he was dutiful to the gods, but because he was also dutiful towards his family and his people, for whom he was pursuing his destiny to reach Italy and become the ancestor of the Romans.

    (Pope Pius II, a great Latinist and one of Fr Reggie Foster’s favorite popes—and who is buried in my favorite church in Rome, Sant’ Andrea della Valle—was born Eneas Silvius Piccolomi and was the first pope in about a millennium to reign as Pius. There are those who suggest that he chose Pius as his regnal name because then he would be “Pius Eneas.” ;-) )

    [What a great comment!]

    [I will add some notes to this. Firstly, it is true that Fr. Foster enjoyed Aeneas Silvanus Piccolomini’s (Pius II’s – fascinating guy) Latin. The Vatican Press published critical editions of his autobiography, poetry, etc. I had them all beautifully bound in Rome and they are treasures. (INSERT HERE: image of Foster with the deepest respect holding a book and giving it a little caress). Also, my Roman seminary was housed in the vast (unused) palazzo of the Theatines, connected to Sant’Andrea della Valle. There was a door in the seminary’ kitchen (run by the rector’s sister Rosa Bianca) which literally looked down into the mighty counter-Reformation church! ]

  5. WVC says:

    My favorite ship was DD-988. The Spruance Class Destroyers were truly a joy to drive. Alas, she’s at the bottom of the sea, now (I have the coordinates). After the THORN I went to an LPD – it’s like going from a sports car to a school bus. But at least I was in charge of landing the AAVs – that was a fun and exciting mission.

    I do wish the Navy wasn’t being currently run by such an insufferable band of self-interested dolts. And prayers to all the seamen out there today – they sure as heck need ’em.

  6. Andreas says:

    Many thanks for noting this day, Father. This retired Navy CDR wishes you Father Z., Gumby, WVC and all other shipmates who are part of this BLOG family a great Navy Day!.

  7. JonPatrick says:

    I love that hymn. I attended a private school that was run along Protestant lines (founded by a 17th century Puritan preacher) where we would sing one of those good old fashioned hymns every morning at assembly and this was one of my favorites along with A Mighty Fortress which is the only hymn I ever learned to play.

    Later on when I went to college I would have liked to sign up for Navy ROTC as I had always loved the sea and my dad was a British Royal Navy man during WW2. Alas they only had Army and Air Force ROTC so I chose the latter which I don’t regret.

  8. JonPatrick says:

    “Eternal Father Strong to Save” also makes me think of the fishermen in our town, on the Maine coast where fishing is still an important part of the economy along with a little tourism in the all too brief Maine summer. With the disappearance of ground fish stocks, most of the fishing nowadays is in the winter for Sea Urchins (a delicacy in the far east) and Scallops. On cold mornings with the wind blowing where I can’t even stand to go outside to take out the trash, I think of those men (and women) putting out to sea. It is a tough way to earn a living.

  9. hwriggles4 says:

    This salute to the Navy is a good time to mention President Chester A Arthur, who helped rebuild the American Navy during his short tenure from 1881 to 1885. This was not long after the Civil War, and the fleet was in disrepair.

    Arthur unexpectedly became President after Garfield died, and it seemed he spearheaded some changes for the better. However, the United States does not seem to remember much of him.

    I don’t know if the United States would have prevailed through the Spanish American War of 1898 without the Navy being rebuilt in the 1880s.

    Fr. Z, Semper Gumby, and WVC, have a fine Navy Day.

  10. Semper Gumby says:

    albinus1: Outstanding.

    WVC: As usual, the ace reporters at Babylon Bee are way ahead of other media outlets. Top Gun beach volleyball on the Moon in zero-G is gonna’ be Epic.

    hwriggles4: Good point. Battleships may return again (Reagan re-commissioned several and they saw action in 1991), the Army is working in a cannon with a thousand-mile range and a battleship is probably the best platform for that:


    Jon Patrick, Andreas, and all here: Fair Winds and Following Seas.

  11. GregB says:

    One person who had a major influence on the Navy was Georgia Congressman Carl Vinson. He pushed through spending bills that created the Two Ocean Navy. He was called “The Father of the Two-Ocean Navy.” He recognized the importance of the aircraft carrier. The nuclear aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson is named after him. The Two-Ocean Navy Act was enacted on July 19, 1940. Thanks to Carl Vinson the USA had a head start in ship building before the attack on Pearl Harbor. One of Vinson’s sayings was: “The most expensive thing in the world is a cheap Army and Navy.” You can see a short video about him on YouTube on “The History Guy: History Deserves to Be Remembered.” It is titled “Carl Vinson and the Two-Ocean Navy.” URL:
    There is also a Wikipedia article about him. URL:

  12. Semper Gumby says:

    GregB: Good points.

    “Thanks to Carl Vinson the USA had a head start in ship building before the attack on Pearl Harbor. ”

    Even then it was a close run thing. The first Essex-class carriers and Iowa-class battleships did not arrive in the Pacific until 1943. The Miracle at Midway in June 1942 is aptly named.

    But, in August 1942 the Japanese Navy defeated the US Navy at Savo Island, leaving the Marines and Chesty Puller [‘rah!] on Guadalcanal stranded for several months eating captured Japanese rice. The lads stayed in their foxholes in the jungle despite malaria and dysentery to hold the line against Japanese attacks that attempted to retake from the Marines the critical airstrip known as Henderson Field.

    “One of Vinson’s sayings was: “The most expensive thing in the world is a cheap Army and Navy.””

    A good book on this is “There’s a War to be Won” by Geoffrey Perrett, which opens with the U.S. military in the 1930s and how visionaries who noticed what was going on in Europe struggled to write doctrine, train, organize and equip the small U.S. Army for what was ahead. While the Nazis blitzkrieged into Poland in 1939, there were U.S. Army units training with trucks that had “Tank” sign attached, and Ronald Reagan was an Army Reserve lieutenant in a cavalry unit.

    By the way, there’s been a kerfuffle the last several years over U.S Army boot camp and hand grenade training. Fewer recruits these days have experience, or even the upper-body strength, with throwing footballs and baseballs, so hand-grenade throwing for distance and accuracy is a bit of a problem and has been a topic of discussion by certain Army generals. Perhaps the elimination of dodge ball in schools so feelings don’t get hurt is becoming a national security issue.

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