United States Navy
The United States Navy is one of the four branches of the Department of Defense which has the mission to maintain, train and equip combat-ready Naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the seas.
- 1 History
- 2 Organization
- 3 Personnel
- 4 Fact file
- 5 Military Sealift Command
- 6 Links
The Department of the Navy has three principal components: The Navy Department, consisting of executive offices mostly in Washington, D.C.; the operating forces, including the Marine Corps, the reserve components, and the shore establishment. In time of war, the United States Coast Guard, normally a component of the Department of Homeland Security, is absorbed within the Navy Department.
The Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) is responsible for, and has the authority under Title 10 of the United States Code, to conduct all the affairs of the Department of the Navy, including: recruiting, organizing, supplying, equipping, training, mobilizing, and demobilizing. The Secretary also oversees the construction, outfitting, and repair of naval ships, equipment and facilities. SECNAV is responsible for the formulation and implementation of policies and programs that are consistent with the national security policies and objectives established by the President and the Secretary of Defense. The Department of the Navy consists of two uniformed Services: the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps.
The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) is the senior military officer in the Navy. The CNO is a four-star admiral and is responsible to the Secretary of the Navy for the command, utilization of resources and operating efficiency of the operating forces of the Navy and of the Navy shore activities assigned by the Secretary.
A member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the CNO is the principal naval adviser to the President and to the Secretary of the Navy on the conduct of war, and is the principal adviser and naval executive to the Secretary on the conduct of naval activities of the Department of the Navy. Assistants are the Vice Chief of Naval Operations (VCNO), the Deputy Chiefs of Naval Operations (DCNOs) and a number of other ranking officers. These officers and their staffs are collectively known as the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OpNav).
The Shore Establishment
The shore establishment provides support to the operating forces (known as "the fleet") in the form of: facilities for the repair of machinery and electronics; communications centers; training areas and simulators; ship and aircraft repair; intelligence and meteorological support; storage areas for repair parts, fuel, and munitions; medical and dental facilities; and air bases.
- Bureau of Naval Personnel
- Bureau of Medicine and Surgery
- Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA)
- Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR)
- Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC)
- Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP)
- Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR)
- United States Naval Academy
- United States Naval Observatory
- Naval Safety Center
The Operating Forces
The operating forces commanders and fleet commanders have a dual chain of command. Administratively, they report to the Chief of Naval Operations and provide, train, and equip naval forces. Operationally, they provide naval forces and report to the appropriate Unified Combatant Commanders. Commander Fleet Forces Command commands and controls fleet assets on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts for interdeployment training cycle purposes. As units of the Navy enter the area of responsibility for a particular Navy area commander, they are operationally assigned to the appropriate numbered fleet. All Navy units also have an administrative chain of command with the various ships reporting to the appropriate Type Commander.
- Commander, Naval Installations Command
- Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet (CINCPAC)
- Commander, Fleet Forces Command
- Naval Network Warfare Command (NETWARCOM)
- Commander, Navy Region Europe (CNRE)
- Naval Special Warfare Command (NAVSOC)
- U.S. Naval Forces Central Command
- Military Sealift Command
All ships are organized into categories by type. Aircraft carriers, aircraft squadrons, and air stations are under the administrative control of the appropriate Commander Naval Air Force. Submarines come under the Commander Submarine Force. All other ships fall under Commander Naval Surface Force. Forces under the control of the Atlantic Fleet are mirrored similarly within the Pacific Fleet. Normally, the type command controls the ship during its primary and intermediate training cycles and then it moves under the operational control of a fleet commander.
Principle combatant warships
- Aircraft Carriers - allowing the mobile projection of Naval Air Power across the globe.
- Amphibious Assault Ships - deploy and support U.S. ground forces in remote locations
- Battleships - heavily armed and armored warships designed to engage other warships and provide shore bombardment
- Cruisers - multi-mission warships capable of engaging multiple simultaneous targets and employed in force support or independent action
- Destroyers - fast warships providing multi-mission offensive and defensive capability, independently or in fleet support
- Frigates - warships designed to protect other ships and as anti-submarine warfare combatants
- Submarines - capable of underwater operations and designed to carry out research, rescue, or specific wartime missions
Officers receive their commissions upon completion of a bachelors degree in a major accepted by the Navy, from training and education via Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps on many college campuses, and the United States Naval Academy. Those personnel who already have a bachelors degree and wish to join go through Officer Candidate School for twelve weeks in Pensacola, Florida. Enlisted personnel who wish to gain a commission have several programs to choose from, such as the Seaman-to-Admiral Program.
Line officers are identified by a star on their uniform sleeve and shoulder board. These officers serve within the warfighting element, and command ships and submarines, fly aircraft, and operate within special warfare units. Other (restricted) line officers concentrate in fields not related to combat, such as engineering and maintenance.
Staff officers are commissioned officers within a specialist field not related to combat, such as law and medicine. They are identified by the appropriate symbol (in place of the line officer's star) on their uniform sleeve and shoulder board. In certain fields, such as the Chaplain Corps, a candidate must have earned a masters degree prior to commissioning.
|Title||Fleet Admiral||Admiral||Vice Admiral||Rear Admiral (UH)||Rear Admiral (LH)|
The grade of fleet admiral is only in use during wartime, and most recently awarded to four admirals during World War II:
- William D. Leahy on 15 December 1944
- Ernest J. King on 17 December 1944
- Chester Nimitz on 19 December 1944
- William F. Halsey on 11 December 1945
Fleet admiral is a five-star rank, equivalent to a five-star general in the Army or Air Force, and considered equivalent to the rank of field marshal in many European countries.
The title of commodore is, by tradition, held by a senior captain who is in command of a squadron of Naval vessels. For a short period in the early 1980s, the rank of O-7 was called commodore admiral, before the title was reverted back to the senior captains, and the grade of O-7 changed to rear admiral (lower half).
|Title||Captain||Commander||Lieutenant Commander||Lieutenant||Lieutenant JG||Ensign|
Chief warrant officers are former enlisted personnel appointed to that rank by reason of his or her specialty in a given field. Prior to commissioning, a warrant officer must have been a chief petty officer or higher.
|Chief Warrant Officers|
|Title||CWO Five||CWO Four||CWO Three||CWO Two|
The grade of W-1 was at one time used within the Navy until discontinued in 1975.
Enlisted personnel are divided into three groups: E-3 and below; E-4 to E-6 (petty officers); and E-7 to E-9 (chief petty officers). All petty officers regardless of rank are considered non-commissioned officers, and are given greater responsibilities commensurate with rank.
All enlisted personnel go through recruit training (boot camp) at Great Lakes Naval Training Center, north of Chicago, Illinois. Training lasts eight weeks, in which recruits learn about Navy life in general, small arms familiarization, military customs and drilling, as well as shipboard firefighting and damage control. At the end of boot camp, each new sailor reports either to a Naval training center for more advanced training ("A" school, where they learn about their new rating), or to their first duty station to begin as a designated striker.
|Chief Petty Officers|
Collar / cap device
|Title||Master Chief Petty Officer
of the Navy
|Master Chief Petty Officer||Senior Chief Petty Officer||Chief Petty Officer|
Chief petty officers are the only members in the U.S. military who are appointed to that rank, and can only be punitively reduced in rank following conviction by court marshal only.
Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) is a single individual who acts as liaison to the Chief of Naval Operations in all matters pertaining to the Navy's enlisted personnel, and is identified by the three stars at the top of his insignia. Other fleet/force master chiefs do not have that third star, but like the MCPON, have their rating symbol replaced by a star within the chevron of their sleeve patch.
Collar / cap device
|Title||Petty Officer, 1st Class||Petty Officer, 2nd Class||Petty Officer, 3rd Class||Seaman||Seaman Apprentice||Seaman Recruit (no insignia)|
Enlisted personnel of pay grades E-4 and above have a specific symbol identifying their job specialty (called a "rate") above their chevrons (the rating pictured is that of boatswain mate). Sailors E-3 and below who have successfully struck for a rating also have their rating symbol above their stripes. In addition, E-3 and below are identified by color as to which of the five definable groupings they belong to: Seaman (deck and weapons systems fields, white color), Fireman (engineering, red), Airman (air-related groupings, green), Constructionman (the SeeBees, blue), and Hospitalman (medical fields, white).
The chevrons of all petty officers are normally red in color; they change to gold when that sailor has past twelve consecutive years of good conduct on his/her service record. In addition, the color change is also reflected in the service striping on the lower-left sleeve of the service dress blue uniform.
All officers and chief petty officers where similarly-styled uniforms, the obvious difference being the rank insignia and striping. Service dress blues are composed of a navy blue suit coat and trousers, white shirt, and a four-in-hand black tie. The men's jacket is double-breasted with six gold buttons, and the women's jacket has a single row of four gold buttons. This uniform is generally worn in winter.
In summer, the uniform is called "summer whites", and consists of a white, short sleeve shirt with trousers of a matching material, called "certified Navy twill".
In the junior enlisted ranks, the service dress blues and dress whites, are the familiar "crackerjacks", which is the billowy top with the sailor's flap in the back of the neck, the wide-bottom trousers, and the cotton "Dixie cup" hat. Summer whites, which are a cotton set similar to officer's and chief's summer whites, are also worn.
Aircraft, Fixed Wing
- C-2A Greyhound logistics aircraft
- C-9 Skytrain logistics aircraft
- C-12 Huron logistics aircraft
- C-20 Gulfstream logistics aircraft
- C-37A (Gulfstream V) and C-37B (Gulfstream 550)
- C-130 Hercules logistics aircraft
- C-40A Clipper logistics aircraft
- E-2 Hawkeye early warning and control aircraft
- E-6B Mercury airborne command post
- EA-6B Prowler electronic warfare aircraft
- EP-3E (ARIES II) signals intelligence reconnaissance aircraft
- F-5N/F Adversary aircraft
- F-14 Tomcat fighter
- F-16F-16A/B Fighting Falcon fighter
- F/A-18 Hornet strike fighter
- Learjet 35/36
- NU-1B Otter light cargo transport
- P-8A Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft (MMA)
- P-3C Orion long range ASW aircraft
- S-3B Viking detection and attack of submarines aircraft
- T-2C Buckeye jet trainer
- T-6A Texan II turboprop trainer
- T-34C Turbomentor training aircraft
- T-38 Talon supersonic trainer
- T-39D radar-navigational trainer
- T-39N/G Sabreliner training aircraft
- T-45A Goshawk training aircraft
- U-6A Beaver all-purpose utility transport
- RQ-2A Pioneer Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)
- RQ-8A and MQ-8B Fire Scout Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)
- X-26A high performance glider
Aircraft, Rotary Wing
- HH/UH-1N Iroquois helicopter
- CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter
- H-3 Sea King helicopter
- MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter
- SH-60 Seahawk helicopter
- TH-57 Sea Ranger helicopter
- TH-6B helicopter
- VH-3D Sea King helicopter
- V-22A Osprey tilt rotor aircraft
- VH-60N Night Hawk helicopter
Guns, Weapon Systems
- 5-inch Mark 45 54-caliber lightweight gun
- Aegis Weapons System
- AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW)
- Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM)
- Mark 38 - 25 mm machine gun system
- Mark 75 - 76mm/62 caliber 3" gun
- U.S. Navy Mines
- Phalanx Close-In Weapons System
- Torpedo - Mark 46
- AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range, Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM)
- AGM-84 Harpoon Missile
- AGM-88 HARM Missile
- AGM-114B/K/M Hellfire Missile
- AGM-65 Maverick Guided Missile
- Penguin Anti-Ship Missile
- AIM-54 Phoenix Missile
- RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM)
- RIM-7 Sea Sparrow Missile
- AIM-9 Sidewinder Missile
- SLAM-ER Missile
- Standard Missile
- Tomahawk® Cruise Missile
- Trident Fleet Ballistic Missile
- Vertical Launch ASROC (VLA) Missile
- Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron (Blue Angels)
- Navy Rank Structure
- Navy Seabees
- Navy Seals
- Task Force Simulation and Modeling
- Attack Submarines - SSN
- Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarines - SSBN
- Guided Missile Submarines - SSGN
- Deep Submergence Craft - NR 1
- Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle - DSRV
- Research Submarine USS Dolphin (AGSS 555)
- Large Scale Vehicle - LSV 2
- USS Constitution
- Aircraft Carriers - CV, CVN
- Aircraft Carriers – CVN 21 Program
- Ammunition Ships - AE
- Amphibious Assault Ships - LHA/LHD/LHA(R)
- Amphibious Command Ships - LCC
- Amphibious Transport Dock - LPD
- Battleships - BB
- Command Ship - AGF
- Cruisers - CG
- Destroyers - DDG
- Dock Landing Ship - LSD
- Fast Sea Frame - FSF
- Frigates - FFG
- High-Speed Vessel - HSV
- Landing Craft, Air Cushioned - LCAC
- Landing Craft, Mechanized and Utility - LCM/LCU
- Littoral Combat Ships - LCS
- Mark V Special Operations Craft
- Coastal Mine Hunters - MHC
- Mine Countermeasures Ships - MCM
- Patrol Coastal Ships - PC
- Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats - RHIB
- Sea Shadow Experimental Ship
- Submarine Tenders - AS
- Yard Patrol Craft - YP
Underwater Search and Recovery Equipment
- Deep Drone 7200 Remotely Operated Vehicle
- Mini Remotely Operated Vehicles
- Shallow Water Intermediate Search System (SWISS)
Military Sealift Command
The Military Sealift Command operates more than 110 ships around the world. These ships carry the designation "USNS" (United States Naval Ships) and are not commissioned ships. Also, they are crewed by civilians. Some MSC ships have small military departments assigned to carry out specialized military functions such as communications and supply operations. MSC ships carry the prefix "T" before their normal hull numbers.
- Ammunition Ships T-AE
- Combat Stores Ships - T-AFS
- Fast Combat Support Ships T-AOE
- Hospital Ships - T-AH
- Dry Cargo/Ammunition Ships - T-AKE
- Underway Replenishment Oilers - T-AO
- Fleet Ocean Tugs - T-ATF
- Rescue and Salvage Ships - ARS
Special Missions Ships
- Acoustic Survey Ships - T-AG
- Cable Repair Ship T-ARC
- Missile Range Instrumentation Ships, Navigation Test Support T-AGM
- Ocean Surveillance Ships T-AGOS
- Oceanographic Survey Ships - T-AGS
Prepositioning Program/Maritime Prepositioning Program
- Container Ships - T-AK
- Maritime Prepositioning Ships - T-AK
- Transport Tankers T-AOT
- Aviation Logistics Ships T-AVB
- Large, Medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off Ships - T-AKR
- Fast Sealift Ships - T-AKR
- Transport Tankers - T-AOT
Ready Reserve Force
- Auxiliary Crane Ships - T-ACS
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