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  • 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 approximately 320,000 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 271 deployable ships, though options for shorter time commitments exist.

  • Before Serving in the Navy

  • Before Serving in the Navy

    Before Serving in the Navy

    To join the U.S. Navy, you must be between 18 and 34 years old (or 17 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.

  • Navy Benefits

  • Navy Benefits

    Navy Benefits

    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.

  • Navy Careers

  • Navy Careers

    Navy Careers

    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. Whether you are interested in full- or part-time service, find your place among the Sailors, scientists, artists and aviators who call the Navy home.

  • Navy Videos

    Navy Videos

    Get an inside look at the Navy with selections from our Navy Videos collection.

    • Resources

      Contact a Recruiter

      Schedule a meeting with a recruiter and learn what to expect from your visit.

      Request Info

      Get a complimentary DVD and magazine, plus additional information from each Service, sent to your home.

      Frequently Asked Questions

      View answers to commonly asked questions about the Military.

      The Next Step: Training

      The Next Step: Training

      Once someone has committed to serving in the Military, it's time for them to get the training they need to succeed.

Lt. Alex Burtness: I knew that I wanted to go to a service academy and for me the Naval Academy was the obvious choice just because you had the option of you know, flying jets, becoming an EOD Tech, you know leading Marines, driving ships, driving submarines.  

Petty Officer 2nd Class Andrew Crandall: After high school, I decided that I didn’t want to just go right to college. I figured I would join the Military, do something for my country, and maybe get a little money for college, on the side.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Robert Glaude: Talking with friends who are back home, it’s actually pretty exciting because, you know, they’ve been in Texas the whole time, and I’ve been in two years and I’ve seen eight different places. Honestly, I’ve gotten a lot more than—than what I can measure. Like, in college courses or in money in the bank account—the life experiences I’ve gotten, I’ve got from the Navy and just the growing up, the maturity that I think I’ve gotten from the Navy.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Maya Dover: You really see how much you impact the Navy. It’s definitely humbling.

Lt. Alex Burtness: Military service is very fulfilling. The opportunity to serve your country and work with other like-minded people and particularly for me the opportunity to do this job, I really can't imagine a line of work that is more fulfilling.