The U.S. Navy was founded under the authority of George Washington in 1775, with the intent to intercept British supply ships near Massachusetts. Despite success in battle during the American Revolution, a standing Navy was considered too large an expense for more than a decade. But, in 1794, pirate attacks on trade routes and increasing international conflicts cemented the importance of a strong Navy. Thus began the force that, to this day, protects U.S. interests at home and abroad.
Currently comprised of more than 320,961 personnel, today’s Navy is equipped to handle operations both on and under the sea, in the air and on the ground. Its reach is worldwide, spanning 100 international ports and touching the farthest corners of the open ocean. Elite groups within the Navy, such as the SEALS and Navy Divers, receive specialized training for advanced warfare situations. A Navy Sailor generally serves a term of four years aboard one of the Navy’s 285 deployable ships, though options for shorter time commitments exist.
Before Serving in the Navy
To join the U.S. Navy, you must be between 18 and 34 years old (or 17 years old with parental consent). A high school diploma is preferred, but a high school equivalent such as the GED may also be accepted. All Navy recruits must take the ASVAB test to determine placement within the Service. Interested college students are encouraged to investigate the Navy ROTC program.
Navy training begins with seven to nine weeks of Boot Camp at Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Ill. Rigorous physical and classroom exercises transform civilians into Sailors and prepare them for their first tour of duty.
Yes, the Navy provides a regular salary, health care and occupational training to all its members, plus additional pay for eligible specialists, such as aviators, divers and submariners. But the benefits don’t stop there. From educational support, to 30 days’ vacation, to extensive travel in exotic places, the Navy has more benefits than meet the eye.
Today’s Navy is a high-tech organization with career paths in over 60 different fields. You might picture yourself aboard aircraft carriers and submarines, but you’re just as likely to spend your days at a computer monitoring nuclear power or in the cockpit of an F/A-18 Super Hornet jet. Find your place among the Sailors, scientists, artists and aviators who call the Navy home.